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Senators Fight Federal Rules Establishing Catfish Inspection Office

Economics Food safety & handling Politics +3 more

US - US Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) have introduced a Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act that would nullify the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) final rules establishing the catfish inspection program.

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Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can overturn actions by a federal agency, like USDA, after a rule is formally published and submitted to Congress.

If the resolution is enacted into law, it would nullify the new catfish inspection rules, which were officially published on December 2, including any portions of the regulations that have already gone into effect.

"We are proud to continue the fight to repeal the USDA catfish inspection office, which is an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars and a classic example of anti-free market protectionism," said Senators McCain and Ayotte.

"The Obama Administration's establishment of this program comes despite the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already performs seafood inspections and the Governmental Accountability Office has repeatedly warned that the USDA catfish office would be ‘wasteful and duplicative' and would invite retaliation from Asian-Pacific trading partners against American agriculture exports. As a result of this program, the American taxpayer is estimated to be on the hook for $15 million a year to pay for USDA catfish inspectors who will be working alongside FDA inspectors doing the exact same job. The true purpose of the catfish program is to erect a trade barrier against foreign catfish suppliers to the economic benefit of a handful of domestic catfish growers in southern states. Over the past several years, we've sponsored legislation to eliminate this program and we urge our colleagues to join us in sending a message that we won't stand for this wasteful catfish inspection office."