Dem Senator Moves Against Biden On Hazardous Imports

Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) are collaborating on a bill to prevent the Biden administration from permitting beef imports that may carry a disease that could affect the US food supply.
Tester and Rounds plan to present a Congressional Review Act resolution to reverse the USDA’s decision to lift the ban on beef imports from Paraguay. The USDA is set to implement a decision despite opposition from U.S. livestock industry groups and both Senators who are concerned about the history of cattle disease in the South American nation.

Montana Senator Tester criticized the Biden Administration for resuming imports from Paraguay with recent records of foot and mouth disease, stating that it is detrimental to both consumers and producers in Montana.

According to Rounds, Americans should have the assurance that the beef they feed their families meets the high standards set in the country.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has approved Paraguayan beef imports, requiring importers to meet certain conditions to prevent livestock diseases like foot-and-mouth disease, which poses a significant threat to the U.S. economy.

Officials from Paraguay want to go back to trading with the US as soon as possible, so they met with the US trade representative’s office to discuss the steps to permit the import of raw beef.

In May, the Embassy of Paraguay to the United States and other government entities, together with groups representing the Paraguayan cattle sector, sent comments to the USDA about the recently approved rules, requesting that the agency expeditiously permit the import of beef.

They claimed businesses in both Paraguay and the US stand to gain from the increased availability of quality beef products thanks to the export of Paraguayan cattle.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), along with its regional affiliates, the American Farm Bureau Federation and US Cattlemen’s Association, voiced concerns that the federal rulemaking process could trigger a new outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the United States—a country that has remained free of the disease since 1929—and consequently inflict significant economic harm.

The USDA’s decision to let Paraguayan beef imports was based on an incorrect risk assessment. The groups cited Paraguay’s long record of FMD outbreaks and its substantial dependence on private-sector financing to mitigate the disease.