Dr. Coburn Votes Against Lugar Amendment
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today after voting against the Lugar-Lautenberg Farm Bill Amendment, amendment number 3711 to the farm bill (H.R. 2419).
"While I am grateful to Senator Lugar for offering a serious alternative to our broken farm policy, this amendment misses the mark. While overhauling our direct payment and crop insurance system is long overdue, this amendment redirected all savings to other federal programs, which are equally flawed and in need of reform. At the end of the day, taxpayers are still left with an out-of-control bureaucracy, with no real savings for their families," Dr. Coburn said.
The amendment begins a phase out of the direct payment system, which was intended to expire at the end of the 1996 Farm Bill authorization. Yet, the redirection of the funds in the amendment would be sent toward areas of non-priority spending. The amendment directs $1.5 billion for specialty crop growers, billions for a food stamp program that has a $3 billion surplus already and other areas of the government where there is waste fraud and abuse.
"USDA has over 100,000 employees, with 11,000 in Washington, DC alone. As long as that is the case, farmers in my state and across the nation will still be captive to a system that represents itself more than farmers. It is time to free farmers and ranchers from an outdated and bloated bureaucracy that cares more about paperwork than the future of American agriculture," Dr. Coburn said.