Florida Congressman: Additional Funds to International Trade Administration Will Help Florida Farmers

Freshman U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., scored a win on Capitol Hill this week as the House agreed to his amendment to the “Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act.”

Spano’s amendment takes $2 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce Salaries and Expenses Account and send it to the International Trade Administration.

Weighing on the amendment on Thursday, Spano said the additional funds to the International Trade Administration will help protect farmers in his Central Florida district.

“Seasonal produce, and especially strawberries, is critical to my district,” Spano said on Thursday morning. “Every year our strawberry growers in Polk and Hillsborough Counties must compete with foreign countries who illegally subsidize this industry and then ‘dump’ cheap produce onto our market.

“Floridians have seen how these illegal practices have decimated our tomato industry, and we cannot allow that to happen to the strawberry industry. Yesterday, I passed an amendment to H.R. 3055 that increases International Trade Administration funding by $2 million to go after these bad actors and protect our domestic farmers,” Spano added.

Spano stressed the importance of farming to Central Florida.

“There are over 7,000 jobs at risk and the potential loss of nearly $400 million over the next five years due to depressed prices and crops left unharvested. I’m determined to help the hardworking men and women in my district who have suffered under unfair trade practices,” Spano said.

First elected to the Florida House in 2012, Spano ran for state attorney general last year but bowed out of the Republican primaries and ran for Congress after then U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., announced he was retiring. Spano is a top target for Democrats in 2020. Earlier this week, state Rep. Adam Hattersley, D-Riverview, entered the race to take on Spano next year.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

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