Categorized | Food and Ag

The House Ag Committee, WTO, COOL and sovereignty failures

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If you claim to worry about U.S. sovereignty, you cannot exempt the international tribunals at the WTO from your principles.

Despite their rhetoric on protecting U.S. sovereignty, Republican members of the House Ag Committee have been scrambling to comply with a WTO ruling on food labeling.  I still can’t figure it out.  The Republican Party complains the most about sovereignty, and not being bound by international tribunals.  But when it comes to the WTO, their sovereignty rhetoric is reversed, and they worry about complying.

During this debate over the 2012 Farm Bill, the GOP is trying to gut COOL and prevent U.S. farmers and ranchers from letting consumers know when they get U.S. food and when they do not.

A WTO tribunal, made up of trade lawyers from other countries, found the U.S. country of origin labeling law (COOL) violated international norms.  Country of origin labeling is a U.S. law, passed in the both the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills, to label meat, seafood and produce as to country of origin.

Other countries don’t like it because they want to penetrate the U.S. market without telling people where the food is coming from.  Multinational food companies don’t like it because they want to import cheap “anywhere meat” without labeling it.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) led the charge to gut COOL (joined by all Republicans and some Democrats on the committee, roll call vote below) to comply with our WTO overlords decision handed down from on high.

The [House Ag] committee adopted a 90-day deadline for USDA to report details of the steps it will take to ensure the United States is in compliance with the decision of the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, offered the bill that members accepted with 34 votes in favor and 12 votes against.

Its not  full gutting of COOL, but it is part of the prior and continuing strategy to get rid of it.  The Senate Ag Committee, led by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), has finished its Farm Bill work, and is not worried about the WTO and COOL.  They didn’t touch the issue.

Neugebauer had preached about government spending and its indirect threat to U.S. sovereignty. But reverses himself when it comes to the direct sovereignty problem of the international tribunals of the WTO.

Here is the unofficial roll call vote provided by a colleague who was at the hearing.


#74 WTO COOL compliance report
Lucas R-OK Y
Goodlatte R-VA Y
Johnson R-IL Y
King R-IA Y
NeugebauerR-TX Y
Conaway R-TX Y
Fortenberry R-NE Y
Schmidt R-OH Y
Thompson R-PA Y
Rooney R-FL Y
Stutzman R-IN Y
Gibbs R-OH Y
Scott, Austin R-GA Y
Tipton R-CO Y
Southerland R-FL Y
Crawford R-AR Y
Roby R-AL Y
Huelskamp R-KS Y
DesJarlais R-TN Y
Ellmers R NC Y
Gibson R-NY Y
Hultgren R-IL Y
Hartzler R-MO Y
Schilling R-IL Y
Ribble R-WI Y
Noem R-SD Y
Peterson D-MN N
Holden D-PA N
McIntyre D-NC Y
Boswell D-IA N
Baca D-CA N
Cardoza D-CA N
Scott, David D-GA Y
Cuellar D-TX Y
Costa D-CA N
Walz D-MN N
Schrader D-OR N
Kissell D-NC Y
Owens D-NY Y
Pingree D-ME N
Courtney D-CT Y
Welch D-VT N
Fudge D-OH N
Sablan D-NMI Y
Sewell D-AL Y
McGovern D-MA N

2 Responses to “The House Ag Committee, WTO, COOL and sovereignty failures”

  1. Dan says:

    I would hope that our country will eventually withdraw from the WTO. The WTO almost always rules against the United States.

  2. Tom T. says:

    This is just more proof that the current republican party is just sold out to their cronies and support principals instead of principles. They just want an excuse to do away with the law that was passed (COOL) where consumers wanted to know where their products were coming from. Meat packers, especially Tyson, were reluctant to give this information to consumers because Tyson bought the largest Canadian slaughter plant and wanted to ship that meat in not labeled when there was a ban on Canadian slaughter animals because of BSE or mad cow disease. Great Britain had a problem with BSE and Canada imported a lot of stock from Great Britain which reportedly gave them their BSE problem. This problem was compounded when the meat packers were processing the beef offal (guts) back into cattle rations.

    With our government today it is just one scheme after another for the politicians to pander to those paying them off regardless of the public interest. We have about the sorriest politicians I have seen in my lifetime.

    This is just another example of what is wrong with our government and the propaganda that is spun to satiate the greed and misdeeds of their cronies whether they are in the meat packing industry or the financial sector.

    ALL Country of Origin Labeling push is the result of the USTR (US Trade Representative) not doing their job at the border. It is another failure of many of our present crony capitalism.

    What hypocrites!

    Tom T.


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