TK: Another lawmaker taking swings at the MAP is Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. In a rant-filled floor speech yesterday, McCain beat up on MAP and other farm bill programs.
One of 300 farm bill amendments or so, Coburn's farm bill amendment on MAP is below. Besides taking $40 million from the $200 million annual funding, the amendment offers some grandstanding with its explicit exclusion of "animal spa products" and "reality television shows.
SA 2289. Mr. COBURN submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 3240, to reauthorize agricultural programs through 2017, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:
On page 293, strike lines 16 through 19, and insert the following:
SEC. 3102. FUNDING FOR MARKET ACCESS PROGRAM.
Section 211(c) of the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978 (7 U.S.C. 5641(c)) is amended--
(1) in paragraph (1)(A)--
(A) by striking ``and'' after ``2005,''; and
(B) by inserting ``, and $160,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2013 through 2017'' after ``2012,''; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
``(3) PROHIBITION ON USE OF FUNDS FOR CERTAIN ACTIVITIES.--None of the funds made available to carry out this subsection shall be used for--
``(A) wine tastings;
``(B) animal spa products;
``(C) reality television shows; or
``(D) cat or dog food.''.
TK: We don't know if this amendment by Coburn will even be included in the Senate debate, or if the farm bill debate will proceed.
Supporters of MAP have been able to make a convincing case up until now that export promotion is needed more than ever, objections to animal spa products and Indian reality television shows notwithstanding.
"Both the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives strongly oppose the (Coburn) amendment," said Justin Darisse, director of communications at the Washington, D.C.-based National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.
Darisse said the MAP program has a 35 to 1 return on investment and is critically important for the ability of the U.S. exporters to compete with subsidized exports from other countries. "The arguments are really on our side."
In addition, he said that Coburn's objections to individual funding decisions would crimp the creative marketing efforts in overseas markets.
The industry should be able to hold on to MAP, but it is obvious Coburn, McCain and others will use the program to grandstand if the amendment is approved for floor debate.