Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack received a letter in October from 115 House members urging USDA to conduct an economic analysis on the proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration rule. Now that the analysis is being conducted, 147 House members have written again, asking for a timeline for completion of the analysis. They also are urging Vilsack for a re-proposal of the rule once the analysis is complete.
American Meat Institute President Patrick Boyle says AMI applauds the lawmakers. He says the number of signatories alone, one-third of House members, is a testament to the growing concern on Capitol Hill about the proposed GIPSA rule. AMI estimates the proposal's cost at $14 billion.
"Congress is asking a fundamental and essential question, when will USDA tell us the price tag on this rule," Boyle said. "We're also pleased they reiterated that USDA exceeded its Congressional mandate in the proposed rule and that it must be withdrawn and re-written consistent with that mandate."
National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Bill Donald says the members of Congress are standing up for U.S. cattlemen and women and holding the Administration accountable for its actions. He says the proposed GIPSA rule is the most pervasive invasion of federal government into the private marketplace that he's ever witnessed.
Colin Woodall, NCBA vice president of government affairs, said the elected leaders are holding USDA accountable in a big way. He said it is unprecedented to see an agricultural issue receive this level of bipartisan alignment.
"It is clear that USDA's unpopular rule goes above and beyond the intent of Congress," said Woodall. "Withdrawing the rule and developing a solution that is consistent with the intent Congress made clear in the 2008 Farm Bill is the only acceptable solution for Secretary Vilsack. This rule absolutely cannot move forward as written."
National Pork Producers Council President Doug Wolf agrees, saying as written the regulation would be bad for producers, consumers and rural America. He says the nation's pork producers are grateful to those members who asked USDA to withdraw the proposed rule. According to Wolf USDA went well beyond Congressional intent and came up with a regulation that would cost the U.S. pork industry nearly $400 million a year.