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Public Statements

Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, my amendment seeks to reform the value-added grant program. The USDA has awarded $240 million in grants over the lifetime of this program, but the USDA has not been transparent and has failed to adequately account for the grants and how they are awarded.

The last assessment of this program was in 2006 and indicated that more than 40 percent of the grant recipients went out of business just 3 years after having completed their grant project. My amendment would allow the program to go forward, but it would reform this program to be more accountable to taxpayers.

The program has awarded 62 grants totaling $12.1 million to ethanol facilities. It does eliminate grants to ethanol facilities. We should not be wasting further taxpayer dollars to give to ethanol producers when we have already given them so many taxpayer opportunities here.

At least 105 wine industry groups and wineries have received $10.5 million.

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Ms. AYOTTE. Mr. President, I would just say this is a good amendment for taxpayers to reform this program and make it accountable.

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