TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP SAYS PEANUT SUBSIDIES ARE ‘NUTS’

For Immediate Release Contact: Jim Campi
June 11, 1997  (202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) – The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today joined U.S. Reps. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) and Nita Lowey

(D-N.Y.) at a Capitol Hill news conference to support their bipartisan initiative

to end price supports for the peanut industry.

“Washington is notorious for playing shell games with our money,” said CCAGW President Thomas A. Schatz, “but the Department of Agriculture’s peanut program is really nuts.  Elimination of peanut subsidies would not only ease the deficit, it would also ensure lower prices at the checkout counter for millions of American consumers.”

Schatz emphasized how a handful of powerful peanut farmers have learned to work the system, enabling them to corner a substantial portion of the peanut market.  “There is no excuse for a program that restricts a farmer’s right to grow peanuts.  Under this oppressive system, 20 percent of peanut farmers own 80 percent of the quotas to grow domestic peanuts," Schatz stated.  “That’s an unjust competitive advantage.”

Although the 1996 Farm Bill reformed many outdated agriculture programs, the powerful peanut lobby ensured their corporate handout remained virtually intact.  An amendment offered by Rep. Shays to eliminate the peanut program failed by just three votes, 209-212.  This despite General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates the peanut program costs consumers nearly $500 million annually.

Schatz also noted that CCAGW will consider rating a vote on the Shays-Lowey bill for its 1997 Congressional Ratings.  Each year, CCAGW rates members of Congress on votes that could have significantly reduced or eliminated government waste.  Schatz warned, “CCAGW will hold members of congress accountable for this type of corporate welfare.”

CCAGW is a lobbying organization dedicated to seeking enactment of legislation to eliminate waste, inefficiency, and mismanagement in the federal government.  For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Jim Campi at (202) 467-5300.

 

 

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