Congress tired of Ag agency over-reach, arm wrestling

By National Cattlemen Beef Association

…Most recently, on Dec. 9, 2010, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) discussed the long list of regulations with Ramona Emilia Romero during a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing to consider her nomination as the general counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“We write legislation here and work very hard to produce a farm bill or any other bill and then all of a sudden it goes to some federal agency and it has happened in many administrations. And whatever pops out of the woodwork in the Federal Register is doesn’t resemble the intent that we think should be the case. That’s a continued sort of an arm wrestling contest,” said Sen. Roberts. “But on GIPSA, we really have strong feelings about that. And I’m glad ranking member Sen. Chambliss (Sen. Saxby Chambliss R-Ga.) brought up the situation with Mr. Butler (GIPSA Administrator J. Dudley Butler). He ought to recuse himself, and I feel pretty strongly about that. And with your background, I think you can take a hard look at that.”

During a live episode of NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen, on Dec. 7, 2010, incoming House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) spoke firmly about his commitment to thoroughly review the whole host of regulations being put forth by various departments and agencies. Specifically, he discussed the proposed GIPSA rule. He said the way the rule is put together will likely result in a “tremendously devastating” impact on the livestock sector. He said the proposed rule includes language that was defeated in the three previous farm bills.

“Congress wouldn’t give them authority. It’s a set of rules that they tried to go through the courts to force implementation and a half a dozen court cases rules against them. So, if you can’t get the elected officials to do it, and you can’t get the courts to implement it, then you use the rulemaking process and that’s where we are right now,” said Rep. Lucas. “We had a hearing back in July in the livestock subcommittee where, in a very bipartisan way, we attempted to get the administration and USDA’s attention: Don’t do this. They’ve gone forward anyway and they are continuing that process. The GIPSA rule is contrary to the will of Congress. It is contrary to the opinion of the courts in past cases. And I just don’t think it’s good for us.”

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