Spanberger Presses U.S. Senate to Vote on Bipartisan, U.S. House-Passed Bill to Lower Food & Fuel Costs for Virginians

As Inflation Remains High, the Congresswoman’s Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act Would Help Bring Down Costs for Virginians at the Pump & in the Grocery Store

HENRICO, V.A. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today called on U.S. Senate leadership to hold a vote on her Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act — which a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House voted to pass in June — as Virginians and Americans across the country continue to struggle with rising costs.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the inflation rate was 8.3 percent from August 2021 to August 2022. However, food prices have increased at a rate that outpaces inflation — and grocery store food prices are up 13.5 percent on average over the same year-long period. Spanberger’s bipartisan Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act would respond by lowering costs at the grocery store, reducing gas prices, strengthening food supply chains, and increasing competition in the American meat industry.

The package includes her Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act and Butcher Block Act — which would help tackle anticompetitive practices and increase fairness in the American meat and poultry industry. In June 2022, the U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee voted to advance the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act to the U.S. Senate floor.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Spanberger called on the leaders to help bring down the high prices facing Americans by moving her legislation to the U.S. Senate floor for a vote. Additionally, she highlighted how specific provisions in the package would lead to real solutions to lower costs for consumers.

“My bipartisan Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act would take several steps to address the root causes of inflation across our agriculture, livestock, and energy sectors. As such, I urge the Senate to bring this legislation for a vote as soon as possible so it can be signed into law and begin lowering costs for Americans,” wrote Spanberger. “Due to rising food costs, all Americans are making hard choices at the grocery store to feed their families while also keeping their grocery bills affordable.”

Spanberger continued, “The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act has already garnered robust bipartisan support, passing the House of Representatives 221-204 on June 16, 2022. We must address rising food and fuel costs with a strong sense of urgency. Though there is no silver bullet for inflation, the Senate must swiftly pass this bipartisan legislation to take meaningful steps to reduce costs for Americans.”

Click here to read the letter, and the full letter text is below.

Dear Majority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader McConnell,

Americans continue to struggle with rising costs for everyday necessities — from meat at the grocery store to gas at the pump. Congress must address the inflation crisis with the sense of urgency it deserves. Inflation is a complex issue that requires many solutions across the economy. My bipartisan Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act (H.R. 7606) would take several steps to address the root causes of inflation across our agriculture, livestock, and energy sectors. As such, I urge the Senate to bring this legislation for a vote as soon as possible so it can be signed into law and begin lowering costs for Americans.

Due to rising food costs, all Americans are making hard choices at the grocery store to feed their families while also keeping their grocery bills affordable. From August 2021 to August 2022, the inflation rate is 8.3 percent. However, food prices have increased even faster than the rate of inflation — grocery store or supermarket food prices are up 13.5 percent from August 2021 to August 2022. Prices for many food products that are staples in Americans’ diets have risen even faster. For example, retail egg prices were up 39.8 percent and butter prices were up 24.6 percent from August 2021 to August 2022. Beef prices are also increasing and remain elevated, especially following significant price increases in 2020 and 2021.

Additionally, even as gas prices have fallen sharply from their peak in June, we must remain vigilant to ensure gas is affordable. High gas prices impact families driving to work and school, increase the cost of doing business through higher transport costs, and drive up food production costs for farmers.

The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act is a package of bipartisan provisions that would help lower costs at the grocery store, reduce gas prices, strengthen food supply chains, and increase competition in the American meat industry. The legislation would also invest in solutions to combat rising fertilizer prices and increase domestic fertilizer production. Similarly, by increasing the availability of higher ethanol blends and other biofuels, this legislation can further reduce the cost for Americans at the gas pump.

The bill also includes my bipartisan Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act of 2022 and the Butcher Block Act, which together would lower costs for meat and poultry products by improving competition and increasing processing capacity in the meat sector. Specifically, the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act would empower USDA to better crack down on large meat-packing companies that drive up meat costs for consumers while also driving family farms out of business. Lastly, the bill includes my American Food Supply Chain Resiliency Act. This bill would create “Supply Chain Regional Resource Centers” to offer locally tailored coordination, technical assistance, and grants to farmers and food businesses — leading to more resilient, diverse, and connected supply chains to help drive down the cost of goods for American consumers.

The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act has already garnered robust bipartisan support, passing the House of Representatives 221-204 on June 16, 2022. We must address rising food and fuel costs with a strong sense of urgency. Though there is no silver bullet for inflation, the Senate must swiftly pass this bipartisan legislation to take meaningful steps to reduce costs for Americans. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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