When it comes to members of Congress who have been a challenge to the agrifood industry, few names enter the conversation as often as Rep. Rosa DeLauro.
In fact, her name came up during the Poultry Market Intelligence Forum, held as part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) Marketplace on January 27. Christian Richter, The Policy Group, cautioned of her rise through the ranks in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A scan of WATTPoultry.com shows that DeLauro, D-Connecticut, has clearly had the agrifood industry on her mind over the past decade. Focusing only on the past three years, here are some of DeLauro’s actions:
- She played a major role in introducing legislation to suspend line speed waivers in 2020.
- She sought a thorough investigation from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regarding a fatality at a Pilgrim’s Pride poultry plant that was not even in her legislative district.
- She introduced the Buy American Agriculture Act, which has a special focus on the USDA Food Purchasing and Distribution Program. DeLauro was outspoken in the fact that Brazil-based meat and poultry company JBS benefitted from the purchases made for the program.
- She questioned U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., for specific information concerning the oversight of shell eggs and the implementation of the 2010 Egg Safety Rule.
- She wrote to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to express concerns regarding what she called, “alarming reports that suggest the administration is moving forward with its plan to allow the People’s Republic of China to export its own poultry products to the United States.”
- She sent a letter to the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an examination of the regulatory framework surrounding cell-cultured foods.
Regardless of whether you support or oppose her priorities concerning the above issues, we can all agree that her ideas can be disruptive to the industry. And now, she has gained more clout, Richter said.
DeLauro has become the chairperson of the House Appropriations Committee, which Richter said gives her “quite a bit of authority and power there.”
Richter expects DeLauro’s “stream of letters and announcements” concerning animal agriculture to continue, particularly regarding worker health and safety. He also pointed out that Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Virgina, who chairs the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Scott and DeLauro are often “fairly closely aligned,” Richter added.
“I think what we will see in them (is) probably a little more harder-edged discussion and legislation on worker health and safety,” said Richter.