|5:35 PM EDT||
Steven Chabot, R-OH 1st
Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, the rationale behind this amendment is simple: hardworking taxpayers should not have to subsidize the world's most successful companies and trade groups for their business and advertising overseas, yet that's exactly what the Market Access Program does. Every year, the Federal Government takes millions from taxpayers and hands it to multimillion-dollar corporations. These funds end up financing lavish international travel and marketing expenses for corporations that
could most certainly afford to do it themselves. In my view, this is corporate cronyism for the well-connected, and with a $17 trillion debt, almost, it's time to end this misuse of tax dollars.
Just a few of the more egregious examples of waste include a taxpayer-funded Japanese Tweet While You Eat campaign to promote U.S. beef; an animated series in Spain promoting walnuts that chronicles the adventures of a squirrel named Super Twiggy and his nemesis the Colesterator; educational wine tastings in London, Denmark, Dublin, and Mexico; American whiskey tastings in Hong Kong; an elaborate outdoor dinner party in New Delhi, India, so that food critics could discuss prunes.
The list goes on and on, and the trend is disturbing. Billion-dollar-industries are padding their bottom line with American tax dollars. They ought to do these things, but they ought to do them on their own dime, not on the backs of the American taxpayers.
Take, for example, Blue Diamond Almonds, which despite their billion-dollar year in 2012, still received $3.3 million from the Market Access Program.
Or the U.S. Meat Export Federation which received $19 million from MAP last year, even though the value of pork and beef exports was at the highest level in history.
Or Sunkist Growers, Inc., which recorded its third consecutive billion-dollar year, but still received $2.2 million from American taxpayers.
So we have billion-dollar enterprises and million-dollar recipients of aid from the American taxpayer.
The bottom line is Congress should not spend hard-earned tax dollars this way. Republicans don't believe in it; Democrats don't believe in it. So let's stop doing it. Don't get me wrong, these businesses ought to be doing this. They ought to be advertising their own products, but they shouldn't do it on the backs of the American taxpayers. For the sake of the taxpayers, who are earning the money that we're spending here, I urge passage of this amendment.
I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from California (Mr. McClintock).
|5:38 PM EDT||
Tom McClintock, R-CA 4th
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.
|5:40 PM EDT||
John Barrow, D-GA 12th
Mr. BARROW of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I represent one of the most diverse agricultural areas of the country. Farmers in the 12th District of Georgia grow almost everything you can imagine, fruits and vegetables, including one of the largest blueberry crops in the Nation and the world-famous Vidalia onion, commodities like cotton and corn, pecans and peanuts, chickens and cows.
Georgia is also home to one of the largest container ports in the country. One of the real bright spots of the American economy is that, thanks in large part to the Market Access Program, farmers have been able to expand their exports to foreign markets and ship their crops through the Port of Savannah to thriving markets overseas. These are opportunities that these small businesses probably would not have if it were not for the MAP connections they had.
The people I represent, farmers and nonfarmers alike, understand that growing markets add tremendous value to what farmers grow. The Market Access Program expands our access into larger world markets, and access to these markets is what helps our farmers compete in the global economy. I think that's worth preserving, so I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.