Mr. RADEL. Mr. Chairman, I've only been here a few months. In my short time I've witnessed firsthand just how we spend your money here in Washington--your money, the hardworking, tax-paying American.
Even I was shocked though to learn about something that is hidden very, very deep in this year's farm bill. It's actually filed under miscellaneous. It is for sheep shearing. Sheep shearing. Sheep shearing. We have already spent $50 million--$50 million--on sheep shearing, an industry that basically goes back to the Old Testament. Moses was sheep shearing. So my amendment right here--one page, one sentence--will stop another $50 million from being wasted.
But let's take a look at what $50 million of your money has purchased you as a hardworking, tax-paying American. This program funded a trip to Australia for the Tri-Lambs. It's kind of a play off of ``Revenge of the Nerds,'' if anyone saw that movie in the eighties.
Look, as much as I love that flick, the purpose of this trip was to get people to eat lamb. And Mr. Chair, I'm sorry, but I think that we can find a better way to use our money here in the United States.
In another grant, two beginner sheep shearers were given--here we go--free combs, brushes, razors and scissors with our $50 million. What we're talking about here are startup costs. Think about that. If you are a business owner and you had $50 million, what you could do with that kind of money. It was startup money. And here again in Washington, where the people of the United States of America are so sick and tired of us picking and choosing who will succeed or who will lose, that's debatable
right now when we look at this.
It's not fair. You're struggling to make ends meet. We have Democrats right now and Republicans who are debating our social safety net in this country right now about how hungry children are, and we're talking about $50 million to shave sheep. It would be laughable if it was not so sad. This could be your money that you could be saving up for your rent, for your mortgage, for your next vacation.
This is as bipartisan as you can get. We are looking for places to save and show how we here in Congress can be more efficient with your money, accountable and transparent with your money--you, who are working 40, 50, 60 hours a week.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
I, too, rise in opposition to this amendment. I would reiterate what my good friend Mr. Conaway said, that we did not spend $50 million; we spent $1 million.
I was part of putting this in the 2008 farm bill. The reason is that we almost killed off the sheep and goat industry in this country. With what we did back in the nineties and so forth, there was hardly anybody left in the industry. We basically gave it away to New Zealand and Australia.
What we're trying to do, and what we tried to do in the 2008 bill for this little bit amount of money that we put in there was give this industry a chance to get back on its feet and start producing lamb products and goat products in this country instead of importing them from some other place. That's what this is all about.
You can make fun of it all you want, but at the end of the day, this is about American jobs and about keeping the production here in the United States.
Let's be clear about what this is. It is $1 million. I think it is money that's well spent. We can go into all of the reasons for the demise of the sheep industry. A lot of it had to do with what we did at the Federal level and the government level to screw this industry up, especially in Montana, Wyoming, and places like that, but we don't have [Page: H3913]
time to go into all of that. This is a modest effort to help that industry get back on its feet and make sure
that those jobs are in the U.S.
Mr. RADEL. Mr. Chairman, only in Washington, D.C., can someone call $1 million a modest amount. There's one thing that I live by that I hope I can serve the American people with, and it is that the individual raindrop does not blame itself for the flood.
Mr. Chairman, we are in a time of record deficits, a debt that hangs over to the point that it is a national security problem for our country. I encourage my colleagues to vote for this amendment and slow the torrent of wasteful spending.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.