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WASHINGTON, May 26, 2011— Statement of NHPIRG Public Health Advocate Elizabeth Hitchcock on the House Appropriations Committee’s vote to approve an amendment to the 2012 Agriculture appropriations bill to limit agriculture subsidies called direct payments to farmers with adjusted gross incomes lower than $250,000. Every year, billions of taxpayer dollars are directed toward agribusiness -- artificially driving down the cost of fats and sugars by subsidizing commodity crops like corn and soybeans. Meanwhile, the prices of fruits and vegetables, grown with relatively little government support, have steadily increased by nearly 40% in the past 20 years.
“We can take important steps toward curbing childhood obesity by curbing taxpayer subsidies to agribusiness that make a box of Twinkies cheaper than a bag of carrots. Rep. Flake’s amendment is a good step forward for our children’s health and our nation’s fiscal health. U.S. PIRG calls on the House to support the amendment on the floor. We hope to see further cuts to agriculture subsidies as Congress reauthorizes the Farm Bill.”
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