Victims' Rights Caucus

Press Releases

Congressman Ted Poe announced today that language that would benefit local rice farmers in the Transportation Treasury Spending Bill was stripped from the final bill language. The House and Senate versions of the bill attempted to enhance the market for rice farmers and included language that would allow agriculture trade with Cuba. The Conference Report stripped the language and maintains the current embargo.

Congressman Poe expressed disappointment in the removal of the language and made the following statement on the floor of the House of Representatives this morning,

Mr. Speaker, Southeast Texas has over 40,000 acres of rice fields. Until recently, the combined acreage of rice farms in the State of Texas was more than 600,000. This is bigger than the State of Rhode Island. Hometown rice farmers like my friend Ray Stoesser, are seriously struggling. Ray, like most farmers, simply wants a more markets to sell American rice.

The House and Senate versions of the Treasury, Transportation Appropriations enhanced markets and included language that would allow agricultural trade with Cuba. The Conference Report stripped out that language and maintains the current trade embargo. The Conferees refusal to allow rice trade with Cuba defies common sense. It places politics above American farmers like Ray Stoesser, not to mention, it is bad for the economy.

The Cuban people will continue to eat rice. If we do not sell it to them, they will get it from other communist nations like Vietnam.

We hear talk of free trade, NAFTA and CAFTA. We trade with the communists in China. Not selling rice to Cuba does not punish Castro and his communists. It punishes American rice farmers. Mr. Speaker, this ought not be.

###