HUFFPOST VIDEO
01/04/2013 04:25 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Asparagus Fiscal Cliff Subsidies: Alan Schreiber, Industry Representative, Defends Deal (VIDEO)

The "fiscal cliff" deal passed by Congress earlier this week included a number of obscure provisions that are now benefiting some unexpected parties. Among them: asparagus growers.

According to an NPR report, one provision extended "market assistance" for "asparagus growers who are being hurt by low-cost asparagus coming in from South America." The USDA's Farm Service Agency states on its website that the program "compensates producers for revenue losses resulting from imports during the 2004 through 2007 crop years" and is equal to the amount of $15 million a year.

The asparagus provision was part of the Farm Bill extension included in the fiscal cliff package.

On HuffPost Live Thursday, Alan Schreiber, executive director of the Washington Asparagus Commission, defended the provision, arguing that it was the only way his industry could seek regress for those previous losses.

"Our industry paid out a quarter of a billion dollars in losses due to some poor decisions by our government, and the government gave $15 million back in exchange," Schreiber told HuffPost Live's Jacob Soboroff. "We would not have gotten what we felt we were due in a standalone bill."

Bill Allison, editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation, told HuffPost Live that he believes the Senate had all but about three minutes to find out about these measures before voting. The Sunlight Foundation is a nonprofit that fights for greater government openness and transparency.

"You're finding out at the absolute last minute, and it's the kind of thing where you have to pass the bill to find out what's in it," Allison said.

NASCAR and motorsports facilities also benefited from the fiscal cliff deal.

To learn more about who and what benefited from the "fiscal cliff" deal, watch the Full Segment on HuffPost Live.

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