U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Advances Spanberger’s Bipartisan Bill to Lower Meat Prices, Crack Down on Consolidation

The “Meat & Poultry Special Investigator Act” Would Address Anticompetitive Practices in the Industry & Level the Playing Field for America’s Livestock Producers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee today voted to advance U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s bipartisan and bicameral legislation to help lower food prices and tackle anticompetitive practices in the American meat and poultry industries. The bill now heads to the full U.S. Senate for consideration.

Spanberger’sMeat and Poultry Special Investigator Act would establish a new “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This Special Investigator would focus on preventing shortages, enforcing America’s anti-trust laws, and holding bad actors in the meat industry accountable for monopolistic practices. Last month, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee voted to pass Spanberger’s Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act — and a bipartisan majority of the entire U.S. House voted to pass the bill last week as part of her Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act.

The Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act is led in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) — and it’s co-led in the U.S. House by U.S. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA-02).

“At a time marked by rising prices for consumers and rising profits for the four big meatpackers, today represents a major step towards both lowering costs for the American people and cracking down on consolidation in the meat industry,” said Spanberger. “Today’s vote shows that this idea is not a partisan issue — it’s an issue of accountability, fairness, and embracing free market opportunity and competition. I want to thank Senators Tester, Grassley, and Rounds for their leadership on this bill in the U.S. Senate, and on behalf of America’s consumers and livestock producers, I want to applaud the Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee who voted to move our commonsense legislation forward. In the days and weeks ahead, I will be using the voices of Virginia’s livestock industry, Virginia’s agribusinesses, and Virginia’s consumers to make the case for why this legislation should be headed to the President’s desk as soon as possible.”

The Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act is endorsed by the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, and National Farmers Union.

Under Spanberger’sMeat and Poultry Special Investigator Act, the USDA Special Investigator would have access to a team of investigators — with subpoena and litigation power — focused on enforcing the nation’s antitrust laws. Specifically, this investigator would coordinate and act in consultation with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as build a channel of communication between USDA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to protect the security of the nation’s food supply and address potential threats. Spanberger and Miller-Meeks first introduced their legislation in June 2021.

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