Arizona PIRG Applauds Bill to Cut Subsidies that Contribute to Obesity

Media Contacts
Jason Donofrio

Arizona PIRG

Statement of Arizona PIRG Public Interest Advocate Serena Unrein on the introduction of the Reducing the Deficit through Eliminating Agriculture Direct Payment Subsidies (REAPS) Act:

“Whether subsidizing landowners that don’t farm or the over-production of crops that help fuel a growing obesity epidemic, it’s time Congress stopped spending tax dollars on wasteful and harmful handouts to industrial agribusinesses.

The introduction of the Reducing the Deficit through Eliminating Agriculture Direct Payment Subsidies Act, or REAPS Act (H.R. 2487) will cut $28 billion over ten years from agriculture subsidies. This is a first important step away from misguided spending that benefits a narrow set of special interests rather than any rational farm policy or the broader public interest.

At a time when more than thirty percent of Arizona’s children are overweight or obese, it’s time that we stop allowing junk food to be artificially cheap. Agriculture subsidies have made some crops so cheap that products like high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soybean oil are some of the cheapest food byproducts to produce.

Seventy-four percent of agriculture subsidies go to just 4% of agribusinesses and the vast majority go toward production of a few select crops influenced by powerful lobbies. In the past decade alone, agribusiness has spent almost $260 million lobbying Congress to protect the handouts. With the growing pressure to address the federal budget deficit, there is a new and exciting opportunity to end these unnecessary payments which can accurately be characterized as the epitome of pork.

Congressman Jeff Flake of Mesa, who is sponsoring this legislation, deserves tremendous credit for working to begin rationalizing our nation’s farm policy.”

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