USCA Expresses Concern with House Amendments On COOL, GIPSA

 

Source: USCA

July 11, 2012

 

The U.S. Cattlemen's Association (USCA) today expressed its direct opposition to a U.S. House of Representatives farm bill amendment filed by Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) that has the potential to undermine the national country of origin labeling (COOL) law. USCA also voiced its opposition to an amendment filed by Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX) that will prevent the Grain, Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) from taking any further action on the proposed GIPSA rule. USCA encourages cattle producers to quickly engage in the process by contacting their representatives in the U.S. House and urging them to oppose these two amendments.  The House Committee on Agriculture began marking up its draft of the 2012 Farm Bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) today.

 

Rep. Neugebauer's amendment would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue a report, within 90 days of enactment, to the House and Senate agriculture committees detailing the steps the Secretary of Agriculture will take to bring the U.S. into compliance with the World Trade Organization's (WTO) final ruling dealing with certain COOL implementation measures. USCA officials warned that this amendment is likely place-holder language, which would leave the entire COOL law open to repeal during the farm bill conference process.

 

USCA President Jon Wooster said Rep. Neugebauer's amendment is not needed and complicates what agriculture producers hoped would be a bipartisan and expeditious farm policy passage in the House. "The WTO's final ruling affirmed the U.S. COOL law and its objectives," noted Wooster. "The solutions to COOL implementation issues found by the WTO can be achieved through some simple regulatory adjustments handled by USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Congress does not need to tamper with the law as it is written. Unfortunately, opponents of COOL are attempting to use the farm bill process to once again try to undermine the law. It is regrettable that some legislators are willing to compromise passage of national farm policy by complicating it with needless amendments like this."

 

"It is important that we allow the affected agencies - USDA and the USTR - to work out the compliance details," continued Wooster. "It is not appropriate for Congress to intervene in this ongoing process."

 

Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX) has offered an amendment that would prevent the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) from taking any further regulatory action through rulemaking as directed within the 2008 Farm Bill. This issue has been addressed numerous times over the past year, most recently through the House Agriculture Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2013. Due to the intense debates that have already occurred on this matter, the Senate Farm Bill withheld any mention of the proposed GIPSA rule in their passed draft. This amendment only seeks to bring contention to a bill already facing considerable obstacles.

 

The U.S. Cattlemen's Association urges members of the House Comm ittee on Agriculture to consider the divisive nature of these amendments as filed to the House Farm Bill (FARRM). The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that affects every American; the inclusion of partisan issues is unnecessary and only hampers the overall success of the bill. The swift passage of this bill through the House and on to conference with the Senate is necessary to ensure needed programs and provisions are continued to be made available to farmers, ranchers and members of the general public for the next five years.

 

 

Established in March 2007, USCA is committed to concentrating its efforts in Washington, DC to enhance and expand the cattle industry's voice on Capitol Hill. USCA has a full-time presence in Washington, giving cattle producers across the country a strong influence on policy development. For more information go to www.uscattlemen.org.