Thursday, June 11, 2015

Which 66 Democrats Want You to Eat Mystery Meat?

Yesterday, the House passed a bill (H.R. 2393: Country of Origin Labeling Amendments Act of 2015) that would repeal country-of-origin labeling requirements for beef, pork, and poultry products.
Last month, the World Trade Organization (WTO) shot down a country-of-origin labeling rule issued in 2013 that would require labels to say where an animal was born, raised, and slaughtered.

Rather than revise the law, the House decided to repeal it entirely.

In the Ag Committee, Collin Peterson (MN-07), Tim Walz (MN-01), Rick Nolan (MN-08), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) wrote the following dissenting opinion explaining why this bill is an unnecessary response to the WTO and a bad deal for consumers:
The purpose of country of origin labeling--to provide information to consumers about the food they eat--has repeatedly been ruled by the WTO to be a legitimate regulatory goal. The challenge for us is to find a way to provide U.S. consumers with the information they have said in numerous surveys that they would like to see on food labels. These surveys include those conducted by leading consumer organizations such as Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America. Many other countries have been able to achieve this goal without sanctions. We should not so readily abandon our efforts to provide U.S. consumers with information they have repeatedly said they want.
We agree with the goal of avoiding retaliation under the World Trade Organization (WTO) decision on country of origin labeling, but a repeal of mandatory labeling for beef, pork and poultry is premature. Retaliation is unlikely to begin for many months. In the case of Brazil's cotton case against the United States, retaliation began 21 months after the WTO upheld the panel ruling on appeal.
Many supporters of a repeal of country of origin labeling have argued that retaliation by Canada and Mexico will result in lost trade opportunities. In fact, we do not know how much the WTO will allow Canada and Mexico to raise tariffs as a result of the decision. The amount will largely depend on how much of the meatpacking industry's segregation and tracking costs can be attributed to country of origin labeling. In fact, meatpackers already have infrastructure in place to track voluntary marketing attributes such as ``certified Angus,'' ``grass-fed,'' ``organic,'' and USDA grades including ``choice'' and ``prime.'' It makes little sense to repeal country of origin labeling when we do not yet know the amount of retaliation that may be permitted.
The bill passed 300 to 131
234 Republicans and 66 Democrats voted for it. 121 Democrats and 10 Republicans voted against it.

Here are those 10 Republicans:

Don Young (AK-AL)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48)
Bill Posey (FL-08)
Tom Massie (KY-04)
Bruce Polinquin (ME-02)
Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Kristi Noem (SD-AL)
Jimmy Duncan (TN-02)
Alex Mooney (WV-02)

And here are the 66 Democrats:

Alma Adams (NC-12)
Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Bob Brady (PA-01)
Corrine Brown (FL-05)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Lois Capps (CA-24)
John Carney (DE-AL)
Andre Carson (IN-07)
Joaquin Castro (TX-20)
Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Jim Clyburn (SC-06)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Suzan DelBene (WA-01)
Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Anna Eshoo (CA-18)
Sam Farr (CA-20)
Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Bill Foster (IL-11)
Marcia Fudge (OH-11)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Jim Himes (CT-04)
Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15)
Jared Huffman (CA-02)
Steve Israel (NY-03)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08)
Eddie B. Johnson (TX-30)
Robin Kelly (IL-02)
Derek Kilmer (WA-06)
Ron Kind (WI-03)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Rick Larsen (WA-02)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Doris Matsui (CA-06)
Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
Gregory Meeks (NY-05)
Beto O’Rourke (TX-16)
Bill Pascrell (NJ-09)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Mike Quigley (IL-05)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
Loretta Sanchez (CA-46)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
David Scott (GA-13)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Eric Swalwell (CA-15)
Mike Thompson (CA-05)
Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
Norma Torres (CA-35)
Juan Vargas (CA-51)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
Nydia Velázquez (NY-07)

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