(Extensions of Remarks - December 07, 2004)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E2182]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

[[Page E2182]]
                       TOBACCO QUOTAS AND BUYOUTS


                            HON. SAM GRAVES

                              of missouri

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, December 7, 2004

  Mr. GRAVES. Mr. Speaker, recently, after years of debate over the 
government run tobacco program, this body ended a system that limited 
per-acre tobacco sales to protect prices for growers and others holding 
quotas. As a compromise, we agreed to a buyout that provides tobacco 
quota holders $7 per pound on their allotment paid out in equal 
installments over 10 years. These installments are paid out of a 
Tobacco Trust Fund to quota holders and eligible producers; however, 
the Tobacco Trust Fund is also designated to pay for program losses 
incurred by USDA.
  We must not let bureaucratic red tape shortchange the promise we have 
made to these quota holders and eligible producers. We have an 
obligation to ensure that they receive what they have bargained for. 
There are many questions that need to be resolved. We need to clarify 
and ensure that USDA will follow the intent of Congress. The 
agriculture committees in the House and Senate should hold hearings to 
resolve the following issues before we move forward. Issues that should 
be addressed include: Whether the buyouts are assignable to other 
parties; are there restrictions on quota holders selling their shares 
in the private market if they need their payments now and cannot wait 
10 years; and what safeguards are in place to assure that these 
allotments are paid out over the next 10 years?
  The projected estimates for this program are $10.1 billion over 10 
years, with the program fully offset by funds from the Tobacco Trust 
Fund. We have made a promise to these holders and producers, and we 
must not let misguided direction reduce that promise.