Today, Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement regarding legislation introduced by Senator Hoeven (R-ND) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI) that ties repeal of country of origin labeling (COOL) to both the elimination of existing market driven programs and the establishment of a so-called voluntary country of origin (COOL) labeling program for beef, pork, and chicken. This new voluntary program would operate under similar rules as the program found to violate U.S. international trade rules.
The Ag Minute: It's Time to Bring Job-Creating Free Trade Agreements to Congress for a Clean Vote
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Tim Huelskamp calls on President Obama to submit the pending free trade agreements to Congress for a clean vote. The free trade agreements (FTAs) with Korea, Colombia, and Panama are worth more than $2.5 billion annually in expanded market access for America’s farmers and ranchers.
Agricultural exports create jobs throughout the country—according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), agricultural exports support approximately one million U.S. jobs on-the-farm and off-the-farm, in areas such as trade and transportation services, food processing, and other manufacturing sectors. USDA estimates these supporting industries add up to another $1.54 to our economy for every dollar in agricultural goods exported. Opening markets is one of the best jobs initiatives for rural America, and Congress is ready to consider the pending agreements as soon as the President decides to submit them for a vote.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"Last year, President Obama said that ratifying our three pending free trade agreements was one of his top priorities. Unfortunately, his actions have spoken louder than his words.
"Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is ready to act.
"Every day that goes by without these trade agreements in place is a missed opportunity. These FTAs will expand U.S. exports, create jobs, and bring much needed income to communities across rural America.
"Exports support more than 10 million American jobs. Workers with jobs that depend on trade earn up to 18% more than the national average.
"And exports are key to growing our economy. More than 9 out of every 10 people on the planet live outside the U.S. If you want to bring revenue into our economy, you have to get access to these markets, and the best way to do that is through trade agreements.
"It’s time to stop playing politics with American jobs. The President needs to submit the free trade agreements to Congress for a clean vote."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.