Some wood industry groups are calling the failed passage of Amendment 2289 to the Farm Bill, S. 3240, a victory. The amendment, after all, would have reduced funding for the market access program by 20 percent.
But after reading the amendment, I consider the Senate's vote another example of government's refusal to stop frivolous spending. The amendment lost by a yea-nay vote of 30-69.
Sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), the amendment's purpose was: "To reduce funding for the market access program and to prohibit the use of funds for reality televisions shows, cat or dog food, wine tastings, and animal spa products." According to Sen. Coburn, at least $20 million was allocated to help fund a TV show in India "to purchase cotton other than made in the United States."
In debating the amendment, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), sponsor of the 2012 Farm Bill, noted that "For every $1 invested in this particul market access program, $35 is generated back in economic activity. I think that's a pretty good investment."
While I agree with Sen. Stabenow, I also can't help but to agree with the sentiment behind Sen. Coburn's amendment. As he stated before the Senate last week, "I'm not objecting to the fact that we ought to have market access programs, but when we're wasting $20 million on something that has no connection whatsoever with American agriculture."
What is your opinion?
Watch the video of Sen. Coburn's and Sen. Stabenow's speeches on before Congress.