My friend Dennis has some pretty interesting friends. A few months ago he sent me a copy of a letter his friend, Rob, wrote to his Congressman. I want Rob to write all my letters. First, here’s the self-congratulatory letter Rob’s Congressman “wrote” to him. Ink color is Bullshit Brown. You probably don’t need to read the whole thing… after a few lines, you’ll get the gist:
August 6, 2008
Dr. Robert Gaither
A Town In California
The safety of our food supply continues to make headlines across the nation. This year we have seen the largest meat recall in history and doubts about peppers and tomatoes continue, still we enjoy one of the safest food supplies in the world, we know it can be made more safe and accountable. I am writing to update you on Congressional action on relating to food safety.
Even as the 110th Congress wanes Congressional action remains very active on the issue of food safety. Three Committees with jurisdiction over food safety legislation continue to hold hearings. The Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture held a hearing to review the legal and technological capacity for full traceability in fresh produce while the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Investigation and Oversight held a hearing regarding the Recent Salmonella Outbreak: Lessons Learned and Consequences to Industry and Public Health. The Agriculture Appropriations Committee on which I sit will hold hearings in September on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) amended budget request asking for an additional $125 million in spending and an additional 259 employees relating to its food safety mission.
While I don’t believe it will happen this year, it likely will occur in the next Congress. There have been ninety-five (95) different bills introduced in 110th Congress just to let you know of the myriad of ideas being discussed to reorganize the 15 federal agencies collectively administering at least 30 laws related to food safety as identified by the Government Accounting Office (GAO). Streamlining and modernizing this system is paramount if we are ever to achieve accountability while maintaining a safe and wholesome food supply. This is important to our specialty crop growers on the Central Coast and to all of us that recognize fruits and vegetables are an important component of a healthy diet.
You can be assured that I will continue to work with my colleagues to develop a plan that utilizes the best science available to government and builds in partnership with producers and growers that continue to push the envelope on their food safety systems. Every effort must be made to protect and prevent contamination throughout the distribution chain from the field to the fork.
I hope you found this information useful if you have any additional questions regarding food safety please do not hesitate to contact me.
Member of Congress
Please be sure to visit my website at www.farr.house.gov.
Please explain to me how you reconcile the following two statements:
1) “The Agriculture Appropriations Committee on which I sit will hold hearings in September on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) amended budget request asking for an additional $125 million in spending and an additional 259 employees relating to its food safety mission.”
2) “Streamlining and modernizing this system is paramount if we are ever to achieve accountability while maintaining a safe and wholesome food supply.”
I simply do not understand how one “streamlines” a government agency by increasing the budget and adding staff. Perhaps you went to a different college than I did, or maybe you use the “new math”.
Have you or your colleagues ever considered not getting involved on an issue? Is it too much to ask that you eliminate something from the budget before adding another? Have any of your constituents (other than me) ever requested that you stop spending our money on any and every “issue” or concern that floats to the top of the media cesspool?
“…the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Investigation and Oversight held a hearing regarding the Recent Salmonella Outbreak: Lessons Learned and Consequences to Industry and Public Health.”
Are you serious? Do you believe that George Washington or Thomas Jefferson would consider this the proper role of the Federal Government? A hearing on Salmonella? Just because something makes headlines does not mean we want you to “do something” about it.
We’re paying over $4 a gallon for gas, and you’re bragging about sitting on a Committee intending to spend $125 Million more of our money on salmonella? Doesn’t that strike you as irresponsible? I know Washington, D.C isn’t a State, but it is on the same planet- isn’t it?
You weren’t elected to find new ways to spend our hard-earned money, or because we need you to protect us from salmonella. You were elected to uphold the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and to husband our resources responsibly. How can anyone read this newsletter and come away thinking of Congress as “responsible” for anything? Please notice the similarity of the following three words: Resources, Responsible, Restraint.
The next time you feel the urge to “appropriate” my money for something (anything!), please try to remember those three words. You should also bear in mind that those resources were “appropriated” first from me and millions of others like me. They are not yours to squander.
Please give us all a break and convince your fellow “Statesmen” to take a year off to allow the American Public an opportunity to recover from all of the “protections” you’ve already provided. After all, which is worse for your health- salmonella on your tomatoes, or a mouthful of this:
“You can be assured that I will continue to work with my colleagues to develop a plan that utilizes the best science available to government and builds in partnership with producers and growers that continue to push the envelope on their food safety systems. Every effort must be made to protect and prevent contamination throughout the distribution chain from the field to the fork.”
“Field to the fork” indeed. I want my money back.
P.S. Which are better odds: that Rep. Farr will actually see and read this email, or that your newsletter’s name “Congress Close Up” will next month be “Congress Closes Up”?
hmmmm… congress closes up sounds like a fine idea. and holding hearings = good? in whose world?
Not only do they want to radiate our fruits and veggies now they want to do away with lead paint in children’s items – which is a VERY noble cause. However, unless a certain bill is amended many many WAHM enterprises will be out of biz… plus things like Cafe Press will be affected I imagine (all their items for the under 12 age demo anyway).
Congress needs to take a chill pill and think about what they are doing. Lead paint is evil, radiating our food is evil… there’s got to be some common sense use here. (i know i know)
Common sense… you are funny. And hit the nail on the head. I gotta believe the more of us who think this way and spread the word, that there is hope.