WASHINGTON – Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) expressed strong disappointment in the House passage of the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act, which incorporates the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act.
“Rising food, fuel, and fertilizer prices are hurting cattle producers around the country, but Congress is relentlessly focused on political posturing through this special investigator bill,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “NCBA strongly supports fairness and transparency in the market, but Congress is wasting time with legislative proposals in search of a problem while ignoring real issues impacting cattle producers.”
The special investigator section of the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act would create a new position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate broad “anticompetitive” matters. Unfortunately, this position duplicates the work of numerous federal investigative agencies—including the USDA Packers and Stockyards Division, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Trade Commission, and Department of Homeland Security—who have existing authority, staff, and budget to investigate anticompetitive actions.
This bill is also unfunded, which will divert critical resources away from the Agricultural Marketing Service of USDA at the expense of critical programs producers rely on like market data reporting, meat grading, and the Cattle Contract Library pilot program.
This bill now goes to the Senate for consideration and NCBA urges all senators to reject this proposal.