Republican YouCut seeks to shear Mohair from budget
It’s worth about $1 million a year.
For most people that’s a lot of money. But in the context of a $3.7 trillion federal budget and a $1.5 trillion deficit, it’s small potatoes. Except in this case it’s a federal subsidy for mohair and it has more lives than an Angora cat.
Federal subsidies for mohair, which is produced from the hair of Angora goats, began in 1947 because the military was worried that there was not enough domestic wool production to supply its need for uniforms.
The development of synthetic fabrics has long made that concern irrelevant, yet apparently the government still writes checks to mohair producers despite repeated attempts by some lawmakers over the last two decades to get rid of it.
The program is once again being targeted as unnecessary spending. This time by House Republicans on their new YouCut web site, http://republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut/, that features budget items they think are wasteful spending.
The mohair item is one of five being featured this week and the public is invited to vote on which one they think should be tossed out of the federal budget. The top vote getter will be brought to the House floor by Republicans for a possible vote. Folks are also being asked to submit their own ideas.
Some 280,000 people voted on last week’s inaugural list and the winner was $2.5 billion in spending that Republicans said would undermine welfare reforms put in place in 1996 and encourage states to increase welfare rolls and eliminate work requirements.
Democrats called the Republican YouCut claims false and said the money was helping states cope with rising demand for public assistance due to the economic downturn.
With Democrats in control of the House, Republicans will unlikely succeed in their effort to cut that item out of the budget. But it will be interesting to see what happens on the mohair program. So far there is no flood of press releases to defend it. Yet the program has survived past budget cutting attempts.
Photo Credit: Reuters/Yves Herman (Angora cat)