FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2015
Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
WASHINGTON (June 10, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson called today’s voice vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) a “disappointing, knee-jerk overreaction” and urged the U.S. Senate to continue its thoughtful handling of the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute. Johnson also noted that NFU will work with Congress on a clear path forward that will both resolve the WTO dispute and continue to provide consumers with accurate information about the origin of their food. The final roll call vote is tonight at approximately 10 p.m. EDT.
“Instead of allowing members of Congress the opportunity to debate and come to a reasonable solution to deal with the WTO compliance issue, the House has instead given us a reflexive reaction to repeal a very popular labeling law that provides important information to the nation’s consumers and is strongly supported by both consumers and family farmers,” said Johnson. “The House leadership is not interested in any reasonable solutions and blocked all amendments.”
Johnson noted that in past disputes, WTO members found ways to work together to arrive at a resolution that worked for all parties. “Unfortunately, today’s action by the U.S. House of Representatives does not work towards a resolution that maintains the integrity of COOL and satisfies WTO obligations. It instead signals an acceptance of defeat when there are still viable alternatives,” he said.
Johnson said he has faith that calmer heads in the Senate will prevail and allow for discussion about an alternative proposal for moving forward. “We call upon the U.S. Senate to avoid the rush to judgment demonstrated by the House today and work with COOL supporters on a viable alternative that will finally bring this long process to closure,” he said.
Johnson said family farmers and ranchers across the country appreciated the work of: Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota; Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut; Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts; Chellie Pingree, D-Maine; Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio; Rick Nolan, D-Minnesota; Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky; Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon; Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas; and others who stood strong for COOL and the right to know the origin of our food. “We greatly appreciate their continued willingness to stand up for America’s consumers and farm families,” said Johnson.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.