DC Dispatch: Biden administration targets meat packaging industry

Welcome to the DC Dispatch, our roundup of Iowa news from the nation’s capital. This week, officials in the Biden administration pledged action against major meat packers who have pushed up grocery store prices. Iowa lawmakers remained focused on an upcoming budget bill and the CyHawk game this weekend.

Biden administration targets meat conglomerates

Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, and US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday that a lack of competition among meat processors had led to higher prices for pork, beef and poultry at the grocery store.

“Only four large conglomerates control the majority of the [beef, pork and poultry], and the data shows that these companies have raised their prices while generating record profits during the pandemic, ”according to a Liberation of the White House.

The Biden administration and the USDA intend to enforce antitrust measures and ban pricing by large meat processors. They also announced a $ 1.4 billion relief program that includes payments of $ 600 for agricultural and meat-packing workers affected by COVID-19.

US Senator Chuck Grassley welcomed the announcement Wednesday.

“Family farmers in Iowa, especially our independent livestock and poultry producers, have been through tough years, year after year,” he said. written in a press release. “Additional pandemic aid and expanded emergency assistance to people affected by drought and extreme weather conditions will help provide much-needed stability to those who produce our food. “

The senior senator from Iowa also promoted his bill which increase transparency in livestock markets.

Lawmakers brace for budget battle

As Democrats dwell on the details of the massive reconciliation bill, Republicans have criticized the price tag and the process’s lack of transparency.

The budget bill could include up to $ 3.5 trillion in spending over 10 years. The legislation is advancing “at full speed”, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Grassley joined with other Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee in demanding that that they be authorized to examine the expenditure proposalthe. In a statement, Grassley said Democrats have so far withheld the text of the legislation.

“Legislation as novel as the Democrats’ proposal should be fully considered and provide an appropriate opportunity for debate,” the letter read.

Senator Joni Ernst tweeted a video of his appearance on Fox News, arguing that the bill would be a “radical expansion of social protection programs”.

“We need to get our economy going and this level of federal government spending will not solve this problem,” she said.

What about biofuels?

Iowa’s only Democrat, Rep. Cindy Axne, announced this week that she got $ 1 billion for biofuels in the initial draft of the reconciliation bill. Axne had criticized the bipartisan infrastructure proposal for not including financing for biofuels.

The House science, space and technology committee also passed two biofuels amendments from Representative Randy Feenstra. His proposals would make biofuels eligible for new sources of funding from the Ministry of Energy and fund research into aviation biofuels.

Haley supports Hinson

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley endorsed Rep. Ashley Hinson this week. Haley asked Twitter users to donate to her “Stand for America” PAC to support Hinson.

Friendly soccer bets abound ahead of CyHawk game

Rep Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Feenstra made a bet ahead of Saturday’s Iowa-Iowa State game. Feenstra will support Iowa State University, located in the 4th district of Feenstra. Miller-Meeks takes root for the University of Iowa.

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