Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act of 2022

Floor Speech

Date: June 16, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MANN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in opposition to H.R. 7606.

I support our country's farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers because they are the lifeblood of America. They keep us food and fuel secure and therefore free and self-determining as a Nation.

I cosponsor the Year-Round Fuel Choice Act, which would address limitations on Reid vapor pressure and allow for producers to supply, and consumers to purchase, E15 year-round. I have supported this measure long before my time in Congress, and I will continue to be a strong proponent of year-round E15. A temporary waiver is not enough. We must make this decision permanent and provide certainty to producers. That bill is now part of H.R. 7606.

I cosponsor the Butcher Block Act, which would codify the authority for the Secretary of Agriculture to make grants and loans to expand meat and poultry processing capacity. I support consumer choice. That bill is now part of H.R. 7606.

In the House Agriculture Committee, I voted in favor of four other bills that are now part of H.R. 7606, but today's vote is disappointing because House Democrats ignored an effort made by Mr. Davis and others, one I am proud to cosponsor, to include an amendment separating these good pro-agriculture bills from a poison pill. Included in H.R. 7606 is a provision that would create a politically charged special investigator office at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate and prosecute food producers in America.

You heard that right. The original H.R. 7606 and a provision in today's so-called Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act would create a new office at USDA to investigate and prosecute the people who work to feed us. I represent the Big First District of Kansas, which ranks number one in the country for the value of sales of cattle and calves at more than $9 billion annually. We see the entire beef supply chain in the Big First, from cow-calf producers to cattle feeders and packers. Under the Packers and Stockyards Division at USDA, all of those players, all of them, are already subject to strict inspection. Under H.R. 7606, they would be subject to a type of politically charged scrutiny we expect of no other related business.

Do you think that a Democratic-controlled Congress and USDA would stop there? No. H.R. 7606 would set the horrible precedent for political administrations to inspect and prosecute anything and anyone they disagree with.

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Mr. MANN. Mr. Speaker, today it is packing facilities, tomorrow it is cornfields and biofuel facilities, or wheat growers and milling stations. I support farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers in this country, and I am disappointed this poison pill is included.

Mr. DAVID SCOTT of Georgia.

I want to clear up something that the gentleman just said. It is very important. The United States Department of Agriculture is the proper source to deal with this investigation. It needs to be investigated per the will of the American people, and there is no agency better equipped, better qualified, to find out what is going wrong.

According to the USDA, the language is clear on the special investigator being a career employee. It only specifies that the position be appointed by the Secretary and based on the qualifications of the individual.

Craig), a member of the House Committee on Agriculture.

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