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.
Bush Administration Threatens to Veto Bipartisan Food and Farm Legislation
WASHINGTON - Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson issued the following statement:
“Today, the Bush Administration failed rural America and all Americans by threatening to veto the 2007 Farm Bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee.
This Farm Bill is supported by a broad spectrum of agriculture, conservation, nutrition and renewable energy advocates. It represents a carefully crafted compromise that includes substantial reforms and new investments in programs that matter, including fruit and vegetable production, nutrition programs, conservation and renewable energy. Our bill implements Country of Origin Labeling, improves food safety, and paves the way for energy independence while preserving the safety net that our farmers and ranchers need.
This is not the first time that the Bush Administration has turned its back on American agriculture and rural America. They repeatedly threatened to veto disaster assistance for agriculture, which the Democratic leadership passed this year. The Administration also vigorously opposed the 2002 Farm Bill, which Secretary Johanns and others now praise as ‘the right bill at the right time.’
Political posturing is par for the course for this Administration, and they have failed to pursue and achieve compromise on any number of issues, including the Farm Bill. The House Agriculture Committee put together a balanced, fiscally responsible Farm Bill, and I am confident that the House of Representatives will stand with us in supporting this important legislation.”