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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2007

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007

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Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, our national debt is now $8.3 trillion. Each day we add another $1.7 billion to it. Each American's share is about $28,000. Think about that. In order for the United States to be debt free, every American, all 299 million of us, would have to write a check for about $28,000. Each year the Department of Agriculture writes checks underwritten by the American taxpayer to foot the bill for the Market Access Program, MAP, a program that pays industry associations, cooperatives and State and regional trade groups to market their wares overseas.

Now, should these groups market these wares overseas? Absolutely. We want them to be successful. We want them to create jobs. But they ought to do it on their dime, not on the dime of the American taxpayer.

Mr. Chairman, we have spent more than a billion tax dollars on a program with dubious economic benefits. We cannot even be sure that these tax dollars are not simply saving those groups money that they would have spent on overseas marketing anyway.

So who is receiving those tax dollars? The National Potato Research and Promotion Board has received well over $1 million. The Raisin Administrative Committee has received nearly $3 million, and a group called Asparagus USA has received hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of funding. That is a lot of asparagus.

It is also the type of wasteful spending that leads to big deficits and higher taxes. Mr. Chairman, in these difficult budget times, if we cannot cut a program like MAP, I think we are in serious trouble.

While MAP at a cost of a couple hundred million dollars annually might by some be just considered a blip in a $2.7 trillion budget, the cost of these programs add up, and the cumulative effect of programs like MAP is the reason that we have this $8.3 trillion debt.

Mr. Chairman, my amendment is straightforward. It would simply prohibit the Agriculture Department from funding the MAP Program. It is supported by groups like the National Taxpayers Union, Citizens Against Government Waste, and Taxpayers for Common Sense, to name a few. It is a commonsense amendment, Mr. Chairman.

We are spending too much money, and it is time to start cutting wasteful spending program by program and restore some fiscal sanity to this House.

I urge my colleagues to cast a vote for taxpayers and support this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of our time.

Mr. Chairman, I would also like to read another portion of the National Taxpayers Union letter. They say that the National Taxpayers Union and its members strongly favor free trade and the private efforts of American businesses that engage in both export and import operations.

However, it is absurd to force overburdened taxpayers to subsidize commodity producers as diverse as the Cherry Marketing Institute and the Mohair Council of America in their strategies to market their products overseas.

In fact, taxpayer subsidized trade is not really free trade at all. The more U.S. taxpayers are forced to support economically dubious programs, such as the MAP, the less credibility our Nation has in adhering to free trade principles. One would think that with the Federal deficits looming far into the future, and government spending out of control, Congress would take swift action to abolish some of the most wasteful and unnecessary Federal programs.

Although MAP is indeed relatively small when compared with other massive bureaucracies found in Washington, the elimination of smaller programs will hopefully present Congress with an opportunity to begin trimming corporate welfare and pork barrel spending from the Federal budget.

Mr. Chairman, again, I just want to emphasize in concluding, we want these organizations to advertise overseas. We want them to be successful. We want them to create jobs, but they need to do it on their money and not on the taxpayer's money.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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