Coalition Urges House to Take Action Against Wasteful Catfish Program

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House of Representatives
H-232 The Capitol
Washington D.C. 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Majority Leader of the House of Representatives
H-107 The Capitol
Washington D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader McCarthy,

As organizations that represent millions of taxpayers across the country, we write in support of efforts to repeal the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Catfish inspection program and call on the House to bring action to the floor. The Senate recently acted by passing S.J. Res 28, a bipartisan joint resolution of disapproval under the procedures of the Congressional Review Act. The joint resolution would disapprove of the rule creating the USDA catfish inspection program. A floor vote should be held on this joint resolution as soon as possible. The Senate has acted; it is now time for members of the House of Representatives to do the same.

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 2013April 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, we strongly urge you to have a floor vote and follow the Senate’s lead as quickly as possible in order to close the book on this now infamous and embarrassing example of government waste.


David Williams, President
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Norm Singleton, President
Campaign for Liberty
Jeff Mazzella, President
Center for Individual Freedom

Adam Brandon, CEO

Michael A. Needham, CEO
Heritage Action for America
Sabrina Schaffer, Executive Director
Independent Women’s Forum
Heather R. Higgins, President & CEO
Independent Women’s Voice

Andrew Langer, President
Institute for Liberty
Seton Motley, President
Less Government
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