Rep. Russell Targets More Government Waste

Oklahoma congressman Steve Russell isn’t giving up on efforts to get the federal government to stop wasting taxpayers’ dollars. He’s now introduced the End Subsidies for Tobacco Act which would eliminate tens of millions of dollars a year in federal crop insurance subsidies for tobacco. It follows his move last week in filing the Stop Taxpayer-Funded Alcohol Marketing Act which would stop Value Added Producer Grants from being awarded for alcohol products and rescind the funding that would likely be used for this purpose in the future.

The most recent move applies to tobacco where Rep. Russell, a Republican in the 5th U.S. District said the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided $108 million in subsidies to tobacco farmers while the Centers for Disease Control spent at least $230 million on anti-smoking ads. He said the Food and Drug Administration spent another $230 million to reduce teen smoking over the same time period. His bill would not prohibit tobacco farmers from purchasing crop insurance but would remove the taxpayer-funded subsidy for the insurance.

“Why is the federal government propping up a commodity and trying to discourage us from using it at the same time,” asked the Congressman. “This leads to hundreds of millions of dollars in waste that can go to reducing our deficit and helping out all Americans by reducing our sizeable debt.”

The earlier move that targeted the federal government’s marketing of alcohol, according to Russell, would reduce deficit spending by neary $8 million. He highlighted one of the 41 alcohol related grants awarded in 2015 in his Waste Watch No. 4.

“It’s perfectly lawful for people to enjoy their adult beverages, but it should not be incumbent on the federal government to spend the taxpayers’ heard earned money on creating and marketing these beverages,” said Russell.


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