Dear Senator Ayotte,

As organizations that represent millions of taxpayers across the country, we write to support your efforts to repeal the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) catfish inspection program. We are pleased to see you and your cosponsors, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), using the Congressional Review Act to repeal one of the most demonstrably wasteful and duplicative programs ever enacted.

The unnecessary and duplicative bureaucracy created by this program has now been targeted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) a record ten times: February 2011, March 2011, May 2012, February 2013, April 2013, April 2014, December 2014, February 2015, April 2015, and April 2016.

The USDA spent $19.9 million to develop and study the catfish inspection program then told GAO it would cost the federal government an additional “$14 million annually” to run the program. This after GAO found the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently spends “less than $700,000 annually to inspect catfish.” If the cost of other, similar regulatory programs is any guide, the USDA program will cost far more than the estimated $14 million.

The GAO also notes that it not only wastes taxpayer dollars and duplicates work already being done by the FDA, it actually weakens, rather than strengthens, our food safety systems:

“…the agency’s proposed catfish inspection program further fragments the federal oversight system for food safety without demonstrating that there is a problem with catfish or a need for a new federal program.”

Eliminating wasteful federal spending and burdensome regulation is a very difficult task, especially when proceeding one program at a time. But the value to taxpayers of doing so is undeniable. Thus, as you gather support for S.J. Res 28, please know we strongly support this effort to close the book on this now infamous and embarrassing example of government waste.

The USDA catfish work is an embarrassing waste of tax dollars and so overtly duplicative a program it belongs in the annals of Washington waste history.

Sincerely,

David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Norm Singleton, President, Campaign for Liberty

Jeff Mazzella, President, Center for Individual Freedom

Tom Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Sabrina Schaffer, Executive Director, Independent Women’s Forum

Heather R. Higgins, President & CEO, Independent Women’s Voice

Brandon Arnold, Executive Vice President, National Taxpayers Union

Andrew Moylan, Executive Director & Senior Fellow, R Street Institute

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Steve Ellis, Vice President, Taxpayers for Common Sense