Woodall Predicts Little Progress by Congress in 2014, Plenty of IssuesThu, 31 Jul 2014 13:11:29 CDT
With a divisive Congress very little is getting done. These days ag organizations are spending more of their efforts working on the regulatory side of policy in our nation's capital. National Cattlemen's Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall visits with Farm Director Ron Hays on the disfunction of Congress. Click on the LINK below for their full interview. Woodall said in going into the August recess, he predicts little be done leading up to the November Election.
"We just not going to see any votes at all," Woodall said. "We going to have some hearing on some pretty big issues that we're working on, but everything is getting pushed to the lame duck session."
"It just looks like this Congress is not going to get anything done before election day" he said.
NCBA is putting a lot of their attention on all of the appropriations bills. Woodall said there are two appropriations bills that have language that would defund all of EPA's work on the 'Waters of the US' rule.
"This is the rule that would increase the jurisdiction they have over farms and ranches and everybody of water in this country and we need to stop it and the best tool we have is to is taking their money away," Woodall said. "So we would love see some action, but we're just not going to get it."
Woodall said the House has done a lot of work on their versions of the appropriations bill by including defunding language. Last week the House also passed a stand alone bill that would stop the entire rule making process. These bills are being passed in the House, then aren't being brought up in the Senate. Woodall said US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid continues to determine what succeeds and dies in the Senate.
"Right now everything is dying because nothing is a high priority for him (Reid) ," Woodall said. "I think he understands that he controls everything and as long as he can have a strangle hold on the House Republicans, he thinks that might help the democrats in the fall elections."
NCBA is pushing for 10,000 comments regarding WOTUS. Woodall said they would like to see both a large quantity of comments as well as unique comments. Woodall said producers need to keep up the pressure. With enough response from the country this could force EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to pull the Waters of the US proposed rule. In speaking at the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association Annual Meeting in Midwest City, Woodall called "WOTUS the largest land grab we have ever seen from the Federal Government."
NCBA continues to follow of number of issues from immigration to the importation of beef from Brazil and the review of the nation's dietary guidelines. Woodall said even with all the unaccompanied minors coming out of Central America, Woodall doesn't see Congress addressing immigration anytime soon.
"This is a political issue, its going to be a lot of discussion back and forth for the rest of this year and especially as we ramp up to the Presidential election in 2016," Woodall said. "But I don't see Congress taking any action on immigration between now and this next Presidential election that is over two years from now."
Woodall and Hays also talked about the NCBA concerns over the rule that might allow Brazil to ship fresh and frozen beef into the US. There are a lot of concerns in importing beef from Brazil, as the country has had Foot and Mouth Disease, which can be carried on fresh and frozen beef. Woodall said the US has not had FMD since 1929 and reintroduction could cost the US beef industry up to $50 billion dollars.
NCBA is also watching as the US Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services review and revise the nation's dietary guidelines. These guidelines formerly known as the "Food Guide Pyramid" or their latest version known as "My Plate". The nation's dietary guidelines are reviewed every five years. Woodall said NCBA is working to keep beef on the nation's plate.
You can also watch Ron Hays and Colin Woodall on Saturday morning KWTV - News9 in Oklahoma City around 6:40am.
Click here for the NCBA website where they offer an easy way to submit comments on the WOTUS Rule.
Colin Woodall, VP for Legislative Affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, was the featured speaker on Saturday morning for the OCA Annual Convention in Midwest City.
Click Here to listen to the full interview with Ron Hays and Colin Woodall of NCBA
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