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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR. LUJáN

Mr. LUJÁN. I have an amendment at the desk.

The CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

SEC. __. None of the fund made available by this Act may be used by the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs to provide any marketing funds to any entity that advertises, describes, labels, or offers for sale chile peppers (also known as capsicum annum) as New Mexico chile unless such chile peppers were grown in New Mexico.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Madam Chairman, I reserve a point of order on the gentleman's amendment.

The CHAIR. A point of order is reserved.

The gentleman from New Mexico is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. LUJÁN. Thank you, Madam Chair.

I rise today to offer an amendment that will protect New Mexico chile farmers from unfair marketing practices. Lately we've seen a disturbing trend where marketers and retailers falsely use the unique quality and brand of New Mexico chile to misleadingly advertise their products. New Mexico is a special place where we take pride in our agricultural products. In particular, we take pride in our chile. We even spell it differently, Madam Chair. We spell it C-H-I-L-E, contrary to the more popular spelling C-H-I-L-I most associated with Texas style chili. Traveling around New Mexico, I've heard the plight of New Mexico farmers. There is concern with the importation of peppers, of chili powders from out of State and even from other countries that are hurting our producers in New Mexico. It's a concern that they may be put out of business, and it's a concern that is attacking the authentic New Mexico chile brand.

This unfair practice has led to decreased revenues for New Mexico chile farmers, who work all summer and diligently to raise their crops for harvest in the fall months and whose prices are undercut by imported products that falsely advertise as New Mexico chile.

Madam Chair, my amendment is simple and would not impose any costs on the Federal Government. My amendment would prevent any funds from this bill from being used to advertise, describe, label or offer for sale chile peppers as New Mexico chile, unless the chile peppers used are grown in New Mexico.

This amendment is important to the protection of New Mexico's local chile producers, and I urge my colleagues to support this amendment and protect this unique agricultural product. As we know, Madam Chair, anyone who's tried it loves it.

I yield back the balance of my time.

POINT OF ORDER

Mrs. LUMMIS. Madam Chairman, I make a point of order against the amendment. It is violative of clause 2 of rule XXI because it proposes changes that require a new determination that is not within the purview and scope of the current bill.

I respectfully ask for a ruling from the Chair.

The CHAIR. Does any other Member wish to be heard on the point of order?

The gentleman from New Mexico is recognized.

Mr. LUJÁN. Madam Chair, on the point of order, sadly, I think this may be ruled out of order, but I would ask that maybe there is an opportunity for the committee to work with myself not only as we get to the farm bill but also with the Ag Committee as we talk about the importance of this important product in New Mexico and its impact there, and I would certainly respectfully request from our friends on the other side of the aisle that maybe we can get a chance to work with one another.

I would be happy to yield, Madam Chair.

The CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Wyoming is recognized on the point of order.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Madam Chair, the committee would be very pleased to work with the gentleman from New Mexico and myself in particular since my daughter is a new resident of your State.

The CHAIR. The Chair is prepared to rule.

The Chair finds that this amendment imposes new duties on the Secretary, specifically a duty to determine the activities of entities receiving certain funds in the bill. The amendment therefore constitutes legislation in violation of clause 2 of rule XXI.

The point of order is sustained, and the amendment is not in order.

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