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Public Statements

Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BROOKS of Alabama. Mr. Chairman, the amendment that I propose would eliminate the funding for the Emerging Markets Program.

For those of you who are not familiar, the Emerging Markets Program assists United States private and public organizations with agriculture marketing in low- to middle-income countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Eurasia and the Middle East.

The Emerging Markets Program funding is $10 million per year in this food stamp and farm bill. Over the 5-year life of this legislation, funding is $50 million.

The Emerging Markets Program duplicates and overlaps the Federal Government's much larger Marketing Agricultural Program. By way of example, in 2010, at least 27 of the 82 projects funded by the Emerging Markets Program went to entities that also received funding from the Federal Government's Marketing Agricultural Program.

Emerging Markets Program expenditures are quite informative:

$30,000 was spent on ``Brazil Craft Beer School Seminars for the Brewers Association.''

$468,000 in hard-earned taxpayers' money was spent studying food consumption in China's second-tier cities, the new frontier for U.S. agricultural export opportunities.

$212,000 of taxpayers' hard-earned money was spent concerning, ``Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Sector Development for the United States Department of Agriculture/Foreign Services/Chengdu, China.''

$174,431 was spent on a ``Global Food Safety Forum China Exchange for the GIC Group.''

$35,000 was spent on ``China Beer Distributors Education Program for the Brewers Association.''

$142,356 was spent on a ``Central American Microbiological Standards Program for USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.'' And the list goes on and on and on.

Mr. Chairman, since, first, the Emerging Markets Program overlaps and duplicates America's Marketing Agricultural Program, and since, second, the private sector's ability to do this work without Federal Government intervention or assistance, and since, third, America's out-of-control deficit and debt situation slowly but surely increased America's risk of a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy, and since, finally, America's financial condition forces us to borrow every penny of the $50 million being spent on the Emerging Markets Program, I urge this body to be financially responsible by adopting my amendment to eliminate funding for the Emerging Markets Program.

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

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Mr. BROOKS of Alabama. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from Oklahoma's response--and he's a good friend of mine--is reflective, unfortunately, of the financial irresponsibility that jeopardizes America's future solvency. Let's keep in mind that we're in a triage situation. We've had four consecutive trillion-dollar deficits. We are looking at blowing through the $17 billion total accumulated debt mark. If we cannot eliminate a program of this magnitude--only $10 million per year--a program that is duplicative of other Federal Government programs, well, I would submit to this body that that suggests and reflects, in a very strong way, the financial irresponsibility that has put America into the position we are in where we are at risk long term of a debilitating financial insolvency and bankruptcy.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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