WASHINGTON, July 21 (UPI) -- California's Republican congressional delegation has been split on the idea of earmarking funds for the promotion of niche crops overseas.
A healthy chunk of promotional funding from the U.S Department of Agriculture goes to industry associations in California that represent growers of walnuts, plums, wine and other products.
The Los Angeles Times said Sunday the GOP on Capitol Hill has targeted such spending in the massive federal Farm Bill, forcing California Republicans to vote in favor of government spending or vote against it and risk the wrath of the Golden State agriculture industry.
A GOP bid to end the entire program last moth failed in the House on a 322-98 vote. The Times said five California Republicans voted to kill the program, but nine voted to keep it. California Democrats voted solidly to preserve the program.
Backers of the promotional programs say it pays off with increased exports of U.S. commodities; however critics say the trade associations could easily foot the bill themselves.