With a looming fight over raising the debt limit and how to get a handle on our $14 trillion debt, there is one issue that keeps popping up in Congress as a blatant example of government redundancy and pure waste: catfish inspection. Yes, you read correctly. There is a brewing fight over the regulation of catfish.

Special interest groups slipped language into a bill that would move the regulation of catfish from the Food and Drug Administration to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. This new regulation shift will place unnecessary regulations on businesses, drive up prices for consumers and spend at least $30 million in redundant costs … In the first year alone.

Retired Chief of the FDA’s Seafood Processing and Technology Policy Branch Bryon Truglio recently wrote in The Hill:

The inspiration for this rush to spend $30 million (to start) of hard earned taxpayer dollars on a non-existent problem is a group of lobbyists and a trade association representing elements of the American catfish producers. This group has bullied Congress into moving catfish regulation to the USDA, making it harder for their foreign competitors to enter the US market. This move is a win for US catfish producers, but ultimately, a loss for American taxpayers and consumers…

There is no room for politics in food safety. If the public was better protected by moving catfish to USDA, I would be the first person to speak up. Science makes clear that Americans are safe from catfish. Whether they are safe from politicians looking to use tax dollars for pet projects remains in question.

The General Accounting Office calls the program redundant, wasteful and recommended that it be cut.

Watch here as Senator McCain questions Cass Sunstein, the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, about how this program will waste $30 million of taxpayer money.

[youtube] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM0e4Z8yKc8 [/youtube]