Cattle bills advance in House and Senate

| June 22, 2022

Contact: Anna Hastert, Director of Communications, Iowa Cattlemen's Association, 515-296-2266

Today, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry advanced the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act (S. 4030) and the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act (S. 3870). This follows activity in the House last week, which resulted in the passage of the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act. The omnibus bill, supported by Reps. Cindy Axne (IA-03), Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Ashley Hinson (IA-01), and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), included the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act. 

Several amendments were offered during today’s markup, but only two were adopted by the committee: 

  1.  Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced a conforming amendment to ensure the special investigator bill aligns with the already-passed House version. This change requires the special investigator to coordinate with the Office of General Counsel and the Packers and Stockyards Division of the Agricultural Marketing Service. Additionally, the special investigator must be a senior career employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 
  2.  Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced an amendment to S. 4030 that requires the Secretary of Agriculture to publish a feasibility report analyzing alternative marketing arrangements with a base price tied to the price of boxed beef. The change also modifies Livestock Mandatory Reporting regions by adding Wyoming to the Colorado reporting region and Illinois and South Dakota to the Iowa/Minnesota reporting region. 

 The bills are now eligible for a full vote on the Senate floor. 

“The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is pleased to see both bills move out of the ag committee as a result of Sen. Grassley’s steadfast leadership,” said Bob Noble, ICA president. “The cattle industry has not received this much dedicated attention from lawmakers in a long time. It’s clear, even in Washington, that cattle market reform is needed now. We encourage the Senate to pass both pieces of legislation as soon as possible.” 

What’s next? While a simple majority (51 of 100) is needed to pass legislation, getting to a vote in the Senate is more complicated than it is in the House. To prevent the delay of action on a bill (i.e. filibuster), the Senate requires 60 votes to invoke cloture. S. 4030 has support from 10 Republicans. If all 48 Democrats and two Independents align with the favorable report from the committee, the bill will have the support needed to end debate and proceed with a vote. The special investigator bill would benefit from additional Republican support. The bill currently has 13 cosponsors, which include seven Democrats and six Republicans.

About the Iowa Cattlemen's Association: The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association represents nearly 8,000 beef-producing families and associated companies dedicated to the future of Iowa’s beef industry. ICA’s mission is “Grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.”