Food and Fuel Cost Reduction Act Passed
The United States House of Representatives today passed the Food and Fuel Cost Reduction Act, a diverse set of initiatives ranging from meatpacking plants to year-round E15, despite the opposition of the majority of Republicans. The final vote was 221 to 204, with seven Republicans siding with the majority and five Democrats voting against the bill.
The act includes a set of laws related to agriculture, including the Meat and Poultry Special Investigators Act and the Butcher Blocks Act, focused on meat packaging and the marketing of livestock; the PRECISE law, aimed at access to precision farming technology, legislation aimed at supporting specialty and row crop farmers faced with soaring fertilizer prices, and the law on strengthening the chain agricultural and food supply. In addition, it includes the Year-Round Fuel Choice Act to expand voluntary sales of E-15 gasoline and a bill to expand funding for biofuels infrastructure.
The debate pitted leaders of each party on the House Agriculture Committee, with Chairman David Scott blaming fellow Republicans who he said “chose to politicize this moment and tarnish our bipartisan reputation.”
Representative of House Farm Minority Leader Glenn “GT” Thompson led opposition to the bill because “simply put, this bill does nothing to reduce the costs of food and fuel”. Thompson and most other Republicans primarily opposed the meatpacking and livestock marketing portions of the law. “If this were a serious exercise, my fellow Democrats wouldn’t have associated such a blatant example of legislative overreach with several other thoughtful, bipartisan bills,” he said. “Nor is it surprising that the party of ‘defunding the police’ has also become the party of more cops for cows.”
Listen to Scott and Thompson’s opening remarks on the bill:
House Food and Fuel Costs Bill – Rep. David Scott 9:40
House Food and Fuel Costs Bill – Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson 5:41
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has expressed strong disappointment with the passage of the bill which incorporates the Meat and Poultry Special Investigators Act.
“Rising food, fuel and fertilizer prices are hurting livestock producers nationwide, but Congress is relentlessly focused on policy posturing through this special investigator bill,” said Ethan Lane. , NCBA vice president of government affairs. “The NCBA strongly supports market fairness and transparency, but Congress is wasting time with legislative proposals looking for a problem while ignoring the real issues affecting cattle producers.”
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.