Your Government Wasting Tax Dollars on Catfish

Does everyone remember the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM), better known as the Farm Bill?  For those who do not, here’s a quick refresher:

To put it simply, the farm bill is an anathema to free enterprise, limited government, and individual responsibility. The House version (H.R. 6083) authorizes $957 billion in spending over 10 years, 80% of which will go towards food stamps. Despite claims in the media regarding severe cuts to food stamps, this bill actually consummates the Obama-era baseline into our nation’s entitlement empire forever.

We’re all used to seeing billions and trillions of dollars tossed around and given out like we’re printing the stuff.  It’s hard to remember that these bills are made up of thousands of pork projects and new bureaucracies with price tags that fall well below the cumulative numbers but still represent a shocking aversion to fiscal restraint.

It’s easy to snicker at $14 million in waste when we are running a $1.7 trillion deficit, but $14 million is precisely what will continue to be wasted after the House Agriculture Committee

Rep. Vicky Hartzler

approved the Farm Bill while rejecting an amendment by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) which would have streamlined catfish inspections and save taxpayers millions.

Yes, catfish inspections!

Unbelievably enough, the farm bill believes that the FDA, which already inspects catfish, needs helps from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Rep. Hartzler, proposed an amendment to leave catfish inspection with the FDA saying that USDA inspection was duplicative and threatened a trade war. Hartzler noted that the $15 million price tag far surpassed the $700,000 that FDA spends annually on inspection of all fish.

Yes, fifteen times the cost the FDA is currently spending to do the same thing. This is what Republicans and Democrats agreed was too important to slash from their pork riddled Farm Bill. Meanwhile, even the Senate recognized how silly the duplicative spending would be and voted to repeal the USDA Catfish Inspection Office giving the House the chance to finalize the savings. But the House just couldn’t pull it off.

All this for a low risk food, one which the Government Accountability Office (GAO) flatly acknowledged would likely “not enhance the safety of catfish but would duplicate FDA and NMFS inspections at a cost to taxpayers.”

$14 million is enough to feed thousands and thousands of families that need help. It’s enough to fix roads, fund schools, or refund money to taxpayers.  Yet for all the talk about changing how Washington works and getting our fiscal house in order, the amendment was defeated 25-20 and the monstrous Farm Bill was overwhelmingly passed. Both parties joined in on the spending spree.

You might want to think about that when you go to the polls in November!


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