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Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. McCLINTOCK. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I rise in strong support of the amendment.

This is one of the most indefensible programs in the entire Federal Government. As Mr. Chabot said, it pays to market U.S. agricultural products in foreign countries, which invites the question of why should American taxpayers pay the advertising costs of some of the biggest corporations in the world?

Who are we talking about here--plucky little startup companies like Archer Daniels Midland, Dole, Del Monte, Sunkist. Companies that are big enough to export produce overseas are certainly big enough to advertise that produce without picking the pockets of every small shopkeeper and worker in America.

This amendment, thankfully, ends this program. It would save taxpayers about $2 billion over the next 10 years.

And as the gentleman said, these expenditures are completely out of the realm of reason:

Two million dollars to the California Prune Board for an evening dining experience for food critics in New Delhi to discuss prunes. Two million dollars, that must have been quite an evening;

$18.9 million going to the Cotton Council so it could advertise on India's reality TV show, ``Let's Design,'' now in its fifth season, by the way. This advertising isn't even being done in America. It is being done overseas, and it is being done to supplement the advertising budgets of giant corporations.

Mr. Chairman, the Republican majority was supposed to end this kind of nonsense, not perpetuate it. I support this amendment, and I believe that it is a test of the determination and sincerity of the House majority in meeting its mandate to stop wasting people's money.

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Mr. McCLINTOCK. Mr. Chairman, this amendment addresses a very simple question: Why are we spending millions of dollars advertising and promoting farmers markets?

The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program spends $40 million on such trivialities as redecorating farmers' market stalls and roadside stands to attract yuppie customers. In Colorado, funds from this program paid for a chef competition and bike tour. More than $120,000 in two grants under this program were spent for beer seminars in China.

This program duplicates four other Federal programs that also promote various aspects of farmers markets, and God knows how many State and local programs that also do the same thing. My amendment simply eliminates this program.

I would challenge the supporters of the program to answer three questions.

First: Why should a taxpayer in Latimer, Iowa, for example, pay for a farmer in Lancaster, California to advertise his produce?

Second: Why should a shopkeeper in Lancaster, who has to pay for his own advertising, also pay for the local farmers advertising as well?

And third, and most importantly: How can any Member look his or her constituents in the eye and tell them that a beer seminar in China is worth spending more of their earnings than they make in a year?

We keep hearing how draconian is the sequester. We keep hearing how it's cutting deeply into vital public services. I dare say at least a dozen speeches on this floor this week were dedicated to the painful cutbacks caused by the sequester. We tell schoolchildren they can't tour the White House because we don't have the money due to the sequester. We tell our constituents that they'll have to wait in insufferable lines just to see us in the House office buildings because we don't have the money due to the sequester. And yet we seem to have plenty of money to fund travesties like those that are crammed into this farm bill. Doesn't that bother anybody here?

I believe that rooting out wasteful programs like this one is the principle reason that voters entrusted Republicans with majority control of the House--the House that's supposed to hold the purse strings of this government. I ask my colleagues if we're being true to our campaign promises that we made to our constituents by continuing to fund such obscene wastes of their money as this one.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. McCLINTOCK. Mr. Chairman, I begin by asking the supporters to answer three simple questions:

Why should a taxpayer in one community pay to advertise produce for a farmer in another community? I heard no answer.

I asked why should a shopkeeper in one community who has to pay for his own advertising also pay for the local farmer's advertising as well. I heard no answer.

And third, I asked how can any of us look our constituents in the eye and tell them that $120,000, more than most of our constituents make in a year, is a worthwhile expenditure to hold a beer seminar in China. Once again, I heard no answer.

I forgive my Democratic colleagues the error of their ways. They never promised to be careful with the people's money. The Republicans made that promise. And because of that promise, the Republicans were entrusted with the majority of this House. Allowing programs like this to continue on our watch dishonors those promises, and I appeal to my Republican colleagues not to repeat the conduct that turned the Nation's stomach the last time we held the majority.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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