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Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

FARM, NUTRITION, AND BIOENERGY ACT OF 2007 -- (Senate - December 14, 2007)


Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, under the cloture rules, I had an amendment for which now it looks like there is the opportunity to have a point of order raised against it, so I am not going to even call up the amendment. I will spend a few minutes talking about it. I know everybody wants to get out of town. I will spend some time talking about it, and I will take as short an amount of time as possible.

It was an amendment to eliminate things that are already being done in this country through the Agriculture Department. For example, specialty cheeses, they have grown by 15 to 20 percent per year. We have 16 different marketing agencies the Government, in one way or another, is already funding.

We spend $2.5 million a year in Wisconsin already through the Ag Department. We are going to spend $1.6 million with the Vermont cheese marketing program for artesian cheeses. Yet in this bill we are authorizing another program. This amendment was designed to take that out.

Also, this amendment deals with areas in terms of USDA loans for golf courses, for resorts, for entertainment complexes, to businesses that have nothing to do with agriculture, to businesses that have assets in excess of $60 billion apiece.

So the idea of the amendment was to, first of all, refine where we are loaning the taxpayers' money to businesses and, also, to look at the $1.6 billion the USDA has lost on $15 billion in the last 5 years on loan foreclosures to these types of areas and to redirect this into an area where we are getting better value for the taxpayers' money.

I am concerned we actually drafted this amendment, as the committee had asked us to do it, and now we find a point of order will be raised against it following the committee's recommendations.

So I appreciate the good work of Senator Harkin and Senator Chambliss on this bill and the way they have worked with us. My hope is we can get a final farm bill through conference and take care of the needs of this country.

I am somewhat depressed in the fact that there is a lot of wasteful spending we have put into this bill and we are not going to have an opportunity to amend that.

With that, I yield back the remainder of my time.


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