Friday, June 19
“Celebrating Juneteenth National Freedom Day”
Congressman Steve King is releasing the text of an op-ed he has written in honor of the celebration of “Juneteenth Day,” June 19, 2020. “Juneteenth” is recognized by the State of Iowa due to legislation King introduced and passed in the Iowa State Senate in 2002. “Juneteenth” commemorates the date in 1865 that Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves in that rebellious state.
Interested parties are encouraged to freely reprint King’s column. The column can be found on King’s website at this link. For your convenience, the text of King’s column follows:
Celebrating Juneteenth National Freedom Day
On Friday, June 19th, the nation will honor an event that occurred 155 years ago. It is an event that has never received the nationwide attention that it deserves. But it is a day that all freedom-loving people in the United States should celebrate. And it is a day that I successfully worked to gain recognition for in Iowa as far back as 2002.
The 19th of June is popularly known as “Juneteenth.” Juneteenth traces its origin back to the close of the American Civil War, and it is based on a painful chapter of American history that too few people know. In this tumultuous year, it would do us all some good to reflect on the lessons of Juneteenth.
Most people know that President Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, issued what came to be known as the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 to free the slaves living in the Southern, Confederate States. Lincoln’s order became effective law on January 1, 1863, although it had been announced even earlier, in 1862.
In the Confederate State of Texas, however, Lincoln’s order had been ignored. The Union Army did not have the ability to enforce Lincoln’s proclamation in that part of the country. Slave owners had no interest in voluntarily freeing their slaves. As a result, the cruel and unjust institution of slavery remained intact in Texas well into 1865.
When General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant’s victorious Union Army at Appomattox in 1865, circumstances on the ground changed dramatically, however. With the Southern surrender, the Union now had the ability to dispatch significant armed forces to Texas to ensure that President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation could be enforced in that rebellious state.
It was Major General Gordon Granger who was given the responsibility to lead a Union regiment into Texas to enforce the law. General Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, and his subsequent action ensured the historic significance of that day. Not only did General Granger inform the people of Texas that the Civil War had ended and that the Southern states had lost, but he read to them a military order, known as “General Order No. 3,” which stated unequivocally:
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”
With this act, and with the Union’s demonstrated will to enforce the order, over 250,000 men and women who had remained in bondage found themselves liberated in Texas. For them, President Lincoln’s promise of freedom and “absolute equality of personal rights” had finally been delivered. It was at the time, and it remains in its annual celebration, a day of intense joy.
In 2002, as a Member of the Iowa State Senate, I proposed “An Act relating to the designation of a Juneteenth National Freedom Day” in the Iowa Senate. This historic legislation was passed unanimously by the Iowa State House and Senate, and its signature into law by Governor Vilsack made Iowa just the seventh state to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday. Despite being an unofficial national holiday, “Juneteenth” is now recognized in 48 of the 50 states.
My “Juneteenth National Freedom Day” proclamation (Senate File 2273, signed into law on April 11, 2002) encouraged all state governmental entities, civic organizations, and educational institutions in Iowa to “observe the day . . . in a manner that emphasizes the meaning and importance of the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery and to recognize and celebrate the importance of [Juneteenth] to every person who cherishes liberty and equality for all people.”
I hope we, as a Congress and as a people, continue to recognize and to acknowledge this important piece of American history and that we also recognize the advancements we have made in the fulfillment of Lincoln’s promise since then. I am thankful for the insight and inspiration that put me in the forefront to recognize this joyous day every year in Iowa. We have 364 other days to discuss how far we have to go. May our Juneteenth National Freedom Day be forever the day we celebrate how far we have come.
Friday, May 29
King Introduces Bill to Indemnify Pork Producers for Euthanized Hogs
HR 7051 covers America’s pork producers; excludes foreign-owned and packer-owned hogs from payment eligibility
Congressman Steve King announces that he has introduced legislation today that seeks “to provide Federal relief to hog producers who have been forced to euthanize hogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The COVID-19 driven closure of pork processing plants throughout the Midwest is going to result in millions of market-ready hogs being euthanized, forcing unprecedented losses on America’s farmers. A copy of King’s legislation officially numbered HR 7051, may be seen at this link.
“When I visited the JBS processing plant in Worthington, Minnesota at the invitation of House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson, preliminary estimates were that pork producers faced euthanizing 1.25 million healthy, market-ready hogs,” said King. “Since then, that number has skyrocketed, and new estimates suggest processing shutdowns and slowdowns may force producers to euthanize 7 million hogs or more. Our producers are facing crushing COVID-19 related losses through no fault of their own, and my bill will allow most American owned operations to receive the vital funds they need to cover a share of these unprecedented losses and to continue operations.”
Key provisions in King’s legislation have been included to ensure that American taxpayer dollars are directed to primarily American family producers by excluding both foreign-owned and packer-owned hogs from payment eligibility.
The King bill also creates a structured payment system for covered producers. Under the terms of the King bill, the Secretary of Agriculture shall reimburse—
- for the first 50,000 hogs of such covered producer, 70 percent of the cost of such losses of such covered producer;
- for up to 50,000 hogs in addition to paragraph (1), 55 percent of the cost of such losses of such covered producer; and
- for up to 100,000 hogs in addition to paragraph (1) and (2), 45 percent of the cost of such losses of such covered producer.
- for any amount of hogs in addition to paragraphs (1), (2), and (3), 35 percent of the cost of such losses of such covered producer.
In determining the amount of losses for purposes of the payment rates under the King legislation, the Secretary shall use the average weekly price (as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture) for a market-ready hog. Under the legislation, a market-ready hog is defined as one that is at least 300 pounds and ready for market.
Friday, May 16
King Votes “NO!” on Pelosi’s $3 Trillion Socialist Wish List
Also Votes Against Speaker Pelosi’s Proxy Voting Power Grab
Congressman Steve King announces that he has voted NO on two proposals put forward for consideration by House Democrats today. King voted against HR. 6800, a $3 trillion wish list of liberal policy priorities put together behind closed doors by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. King also voted against House Democrats’ proposal to unilaterally change House Rules to allow for Proxy Voting despite the Constitution’s requirement that a quorum be present for business to be conducted. HR 6800 passed the House tonight on a vote of 208-199 (King voted No) and the Proxy Voting proposal passed on a vote of 217-189 (King voted No).
“President Trump is correct to oppose this legislation, and I am pleased that he has done so publicly, said King. “There is a saying, popular among some members on the other side of the aisle, that ‘one should never let a crisis go to waste.’ In my opinion, Speaker Pelosi’s $3 Trillion wish-list is her latest attempt to use the terrible COVID-19 pandemic to radically restructure American society by advancing a bill that was drafted in secret and behind closed doors while Congress was out of town. I voted against this ‘socialist wish list,’ and I will support President Trump should he ever need to veto this legislation.”
Among the non-COVID-19 related items included in HR 6800 are provisions that incentivize illegal immigration to our country, wastefully provide hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations that have no role in defeating the COVID-19 coronavirus, and that radically restructure the way Americans cast their votes in elections. After examining the legislation, Minority Whip Scalise has designated the bill “H.R. 6800 – Pelosi’s Socialist Wish List Act.”
Here are just some of the troublesome provisions that House Republicans have already identified in Speaker Pelosi’s $3 Trillion legislation:
Incentives for Illegal Immigration:
- Awards federal funding to sanctuary cities
- Requires review of those detained by ICE so certain illegal immigrants can be released
- Prevents the deportation of illegal immigrants
- Authorizes illegal immigrants to work during this crisis
- Allows illegal immigrants to collect Economic Impact Payments
Provides funding to matters unrelated to combatting COVID-19 including:
- $125M to National Science Foundation
- $50M to Legal Services Corporation o $50M to the EPA in “environmental justice grants”
- $40M to U.S. Geological Survey
- $10M to National Endowment of the Arts
- $10M to National Endowment of the Humanities
Wholesale Election Law Changes:
- Federalizes the entire election process and takes power away from the states
- Calls for mailed absentee ballots to be sent to every voter permanently
- Permits same-day voter registration nationwide which would lengthen voting lines
- Codifies ballot harvesting
- Enacts national vote by mail
- Prevents states from having voter ID requirements
Wednesday, May 6
King Announces Bill to Indemnify Pork Producers for Euthanized Hogs
Pork Producers are Forced to Euthanize Hogs due to Packer Shutdown or Slowdown
Congressman Steve King announces that he is drafting legislation that will provide federal relief to hog producers who are being forced to euthanize several million market-ready fat hogs due to packing plant shutdowns and slowdowns as a result of high COVID-19 infection rates among American packing plant workers. The bill will be specifically targeted to provide reimbursement to American pork producers who are feeders and it ensures that funds allocated under it cannot be accessed by foreign entities. Iowa’s 4th Congressional District ranks as the top district in the United States in terms of the market value of hogs and pigs sold annually, according to USDA statistics.
“The COVID-19 driven closure of the pork processing plants in the Midwest is going to result in millions of market-ready hogs being euthanized, forcing unprecedented losses on America’s farmers,” said King. “This once in a lifetime pandemic has placed our pork producers in a horrible situation in which they are forced, through no fault of their own, to euthanize their market-ready hogs at a great loss rather than have them processed and delivered to American dinner tables. My legislation will allow most American owned operations to receive the vital funds they need to cover a share of these unprecedented losses and it will ensure our smaller pork producers will remain in business to feed the post-lockdown world.”
The text of Congressman King’s bill is being drafted, but broad principles of the legislation are available now for discussion. Among those principles is the inclusion of language which is designed to keep American tax dollars in America. In addition, King intends to target funding on a per head basis for heavy market-ready hogs that cannot be sold for harvest and the meat case and are consequently euthanized and either rendered, buried, or composted. The legislation will also require ownership of the hogs as a condition for receiving indemnification.
Congressman King has been leading efforts in Congress to fight on behalf of the nation’s pork producers. On April 29, at the invitation of Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, King took part in a press conference held in Worthington, Minnesota to draw attention to the pressures processing plant closures have forced on America’s farmers. King then went to the JBS plant to visit with some of the workers and to observe the euthanization process. Worthington is home to the JBS pork plant which closed for two weeks on April 21, and which has begun euthanizing healthy, market-ready hogs which have, so far, been shipped to rendering.
Monday, May 4
“Pork Producers Want to Feed the World, Not Bury Their Product”
Last Wednesday, at the invitation of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, I went to Worthington, Minnesota to participate in a press conference to focus attention on the current crisis in the pork industry that has been caused by the temporary closure of processing plants in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Producers throughout the Midwest are being faced with the nightmare of having to euthanize perhaps 1.25 million, or likely more, healthy, market-ready hogs. Chairman Peterson is a good friend, and I am grateful that he requested my assistance to help him with the public messaging effort.
The pork processing crisis, and the euthanization of healthy hogs, is a nightmare scenario I never thought I would see happen in the United States of America. To help visualize the scope of the problem, these euthanized hogs laid end-to-end would stretch down the Southbound lane of I-35 from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Dallas, Texas.
Fortunately, President Trump has taken a timely and correct act to help ensure the security of the nation’s food supply network. I commend him for having invoked the Defense Production Act to keep processing plants open. His actions will help ensure the continued supply of pork, beef, and poultry to the American people. Under the President’s order, “the Department of Agriculture is directed to ensure America’s meat and poultry processors continue operations uninterrupted to the maximum extent possible.” In addition, “to ensure worker safety, these processors will continue to follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).” I’ve been working with the White House and through the USDA with our pork producers to get this done, and I am pleased the President has moved forward with it.
Speaking of President Trump, I have also asked him to send every packing plant all the testing and PPE needed to ensure the maximum safety of our workers. I met with United Food and Commercials Workers Local 663 President Matt Utecht, and the requests that he made to me for worker safety (temperature checks, testing for the virus and antibodies, PPE’s, slowing lines for social distancing, isolating sick workers) are all doable and reasonable. I encourage the President to take the steps that will give our workers confidence to resume their jobs at these plants.
Keeping processing plants open is an important issue, and not just for the pork producers. I dread the prospect that the same kind of scenario could play out in the cattle industry as well. We must keep our plants open, our workers protected, and our producers in business!
It is important that we develop a strong Federal response to the pork processing crisis. There is a three-part strategy we need to implement to do this correctly. This includes ensuring the employees have the confidence to work in the plants through testing, providing them with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and determining what additional federal resources it will take to keep our producers in business.
I would also like to take a moment to praise the “Pass the Pork” initiative that the Governor and the Iowa Department of Agriculture have announced. This program allows pork producers to donate hogs to food banks throughout Iowa. Instead of the hogs being wasted, hungry families in our state will be fed with the best pork in the world. I salute our state officials for developing this commonsense program, and I encourage interested parties to visit the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s website for more information.
It was a sad mission that I had to undertake to Worthington, MN. With focused responses, however, we can ensure our food supply chain remains strong, our workers are protected, and that our producers remain in business.
Monday, April 20
The Congressional Art Competition is Still On for High School Students!
Congressman King invites 4th District Students to submit mailed/electronic entries by May 25
Congressman Steve King is inviting aspiring artists in the 4th Congressional District to enter the Congressional Art Competition. Each year, the Congressional Art Competition, “An Artistic Discovery,” is sponsored by Members of the United States House of Representatives through the Congressional Institute to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in each Member’s congressional district. This competition is open to all high school students. The winner’s art will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year, and the winner and a guest will be flown to Washington, D.C. courtesy of Southwest Airlines. Those interested in participating should review these important forms: the 2020 Student Release Form, and the 2020 Rules and Regulations for Students and Teachers.
Last year’s 4th District winner was a student at Odebolt Arthur Battle Creek Ida Grove Community School District,
Elise Masters of Crawford County. Her work is entitled “Farm Food Chain.”
“While this year’s pandemic has brought about a unique set of challenges, the Congressional Art Competition is still on and I am inviting students throughout the 4th District to submit their entries to me by Monday, May 25,” said King. “I would also like to remind students entering the competition that, for this year’s competition, it is preferred that students either mail in their submissions, or that they send an electronic copy. I am always impressed by the creative talents of our high school students, and I look forward to seeing the winner’s work on display in the Capitol.”
All artwork must be submitted and received by Monday, May 25, 2020 by 5:00 pm CT. Framed artwork should be mailed to Congressman King’s office at 1421 South Bell, Suite 102, Ames, Iowa 50010. Alternatively, artwork may be delivered in the form of an electronic copy of the work you are entering into the competition, but please be aware that electronic copies must contain all the identifying information required in the rules. Please send an electronic copy of the artwork to [email protected].
Please note: The following guidelines are in place for submissions to be eligible:
Artwork must be two-dimensional. Each framed artwork can be no larger than 26 inches high, 26 inches wide, and 4 inches deep. If your artwork is selected as the winning piece, it must arrive in Washington, DC, framed. Even when framed, it must still measure no larger than the above maximum dimensions. No framed piece should weigh more than 15 pounds.
Accepted mediums for the two-dimensional artwork are as follows:
- Paintings: oil, acrylics, watercolor, etc.
- Drawings: colored pencil, pencil, ink, marker, pastels, charcoal (It is recommended that charcoal and pastel drawings be fixed.)
- Collages: must be two dimensional
- Prints: lithographs, silkscreen, block prints
- Mixed Media: use of more than two mediums such as pencil, ink, watercolor, etc.
- Computer-generated art
In addition, all entries submitted must be original in concept, design, and execution and the winner will be decided by Congressman Steve King. The remaining artwork will be available for pickup or returned by mail, upon request. It is the Congressman’s intention to announce a winner on Thursday, June 4, 2020. If you have any questions regarding this opportunity, please contact Congressman King’s Ames office at 515-232-2885.
Tuesday, April 14
King Column: “Calculating COVID-19: Getting Back on Track”
Washington DC- Congressman Steve King is releasing the text of a COVID-19 themed op-ed he has written from his home-office in Kiron, Iowa in order to make it widely available for publication by news outlets that wish to reproduce the work. In the op-ed, King proposes the creation of an information database of demographic data (the information collected would not be personally identifiable) presented in the form of an online calculator that can be accessed by individuals who wish to determine their “personal survivability factor” should they contract the COVID-19 virus. Armed with this knowledge, King believes individuals will be empowered to feel confident to “go back to work and resume the rhythm of their lives.”
Interested parties are encouraged to freely reprint King’s column. The column can be found on King’s website at this link. For your convenience, the text of King’s column follows:
Getting Back on Track
by Congressman Steve King
Each of us must be responsible for our own health and accountable for the impacts we have on each other. We can’t rely on government to make each decision for us. Personal responsibility has been fading from our national psyche for more than a generation, but perhaps this COVID-19 menace will show us the way back to our American roots.
Never in modern history has there been such an abrupt shock simultaneously to our healthcare system and our economy. The 1918 Spanish Flu may have been a worse pandemic. The Great Depression may prove to have been a more costly economic hit, but never as suddenly or as astronomically have we thrown so great a portion of our treasure at a crisis this abruptly.
Without arguing the reasons for a near national shutdown or for spending trillions, we all know the path we are on will eventually destroy more lives than it saves; perhaps our nation itself. When then, and under what circumstances shall we “bring ‘er about” and reset our course back to prosperity and harmony?
Americans are quickly learning the means by which this disease is transferred. We will learn a lot more in the next few weeks. We are practicing “social distancing,” hand sanitizing, mask-wearing, and self-quarantining effectively. We do so, not only because government tells us to but, especially because we have learned and understand the risks to our health and to others. We Americans are moving towards a solution by taking informed social and personal responsibility.
How then, do we move to the next step? What knowledge or information can we use to determine if we, as individuals, are safe enough to reengage into our economy and society and under what conditions? Some of us know we are high risk and should be some of the last ones to venture out into society. We know advanced age and preexisting conditions significantly reduce survival rates if infected. We know there are a significant number of people who are asymptomatic yet are carriers who infect others.
We don’t know the demographics of asymptomatic carriers. We know, generally county by county, how many have tested positive, how many negative, how many hospitalized, in ICU’s, ventilated, and how many died. Many times, we don’t learn how many have recovered. In none of these cases are the names or addresses of the afflicted released to the public. Even the municipality of residence of those stricken is scrubbed from public record in a misguided hyper compliance with perceived HIPAA statute. There are multiple counties where only one person has tested positive. They may or may not have recovered and they may or may not live next door. They may live an hour away in the opposite corner of your county or they may live right across the road but in a neighboring county.
HIPAA changed our culture to one of medical hyper-privacy. The cost was the loss of access to information that let neighbors look out for neighbors. There once was a time, pre-HIPAA, when we knew who to pray for, who to bake a casserole for, and who to visit in the hospital. Restoring the best parts of that era would serve us all well today.
Regardless, there is demographic data (please note that I do not include names or addresses in my proposed demographic data) that can inform our individual and interactive decisions. I propose we compile both positive and negative test results, each subject’s actual age by year and month of birth, their height and weight, their full list of preexisting conditions, their sex, their residence by city and neighborhood and an epidemiological estimate of how they contracted the disease. All of this information should be available. It needs to be compiled into a standard form and entered into a public database. Why?
If you are a 61 year-old female, in good health, without preexisting conditions, you have a far better survivability probability than an 80 year-old male who has diabetes, is extremely obese, and who has a heart condition. Each of the described subjects are in the same statistical category, and each will want to know their risk of death if they contract COVID-19. Conversely, if you are a 17 year-old and you know that only 17 Iowans who are 17 and younger have been diagnosed with the virus, don’t you want to know if, of the 17, any were actually 17? You are starting to understand my point. If we can all learn what is typical, we can also conclude that which is probable. When each of us are fully informed of the probable, we will then decide where and when we should go back to work, to church, to school, or to the fishing hole or golf course. The data required for us all to make informed decisions is in the hands of government and government needs to compile and publish accurate data in real time.
There is no reason for the data I’ve described to be confidential or hoarded by government for any purpose. The way for government to bring about the best response by the public is to ensure the public is fully informed. Anything less smacks of an attempt to manipulate our decisions and actions.
I propose we plug all the data I’ve described and more into an interactive web site calculator, maintained by the CDC or the private sector. Millions of Americans would immediately go to the site, enter their age, sex, height, weight, and any preexisting conditions to determine their personal survivability factor if they contract the disease. If the calculator concludes they have a 99.9% chance of recovery, they will be more confident to go back to work and resume the rhythm of their lives. If they have only a 50% chance of survival, they will likely decide to self quarantine. But, if their grandchild is in the 99.9% category and exposed, they will likely decide to delay the family reunion until this plague passes.
We have a country to put back on the rails. Let us do so prudently, fully informed and soon.
Congressman Steve King represents Iowa’s 4th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.
Tuesday, April 14
King Seeks DOJ/USDA Investigation of Illegal Price Manipulation in Cattle Meatpacking Industry
“I request that you examine the current structure of the beef meat packing industry and investigate potential market and price manipulation, collusion, restrictions on competition and/or other unfair and deceptive practices under the United States antitrust laws and the Packers and Stockyards Act.”
Washington DC- Congressman Steve King announces that he has sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that their departments open an investigation to address “concerns raised by America’s farmers and ranchers about possible illegal practices in the cattle industry.” The letter specifically requests that the Department of Justice and the United States Department of Agriculture examine whether meatpackers in the cattle industry are currently operating in violation of either the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, which contains prohibitions against price manipulation, or in violation of federal antitrust laws. Investigations into the meat packing industry should be undertaken, King asserts, because “the difference in price between what [beef producers] are receiving, and the retail price consumers are paying at this time of a national pandemic simply cannot be explained, much less justified, by legitimate supply and demand market forces.”
“I agree with the beef producers, and it looks to me like the prices they are receiving do not reflect market conditions,” said King. “Many beef producers are suggesting the prices are being artificially manipulated by the packers. If this is correct, the cattle meatpacking industry could be engaging in practices that violate federal law. These are serious allegations that are supported by the evidence of unexplainable price discrepancies, and the USDA and DOJ have an obligation to investigate the matter.”
The letter to Attorney General Barr and Secretary Perdue may be viewed here.
For your convenience, a copy of the text of today’s letter has been provided below:
April 13, 2020
The Honorable William Barr
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW Washington, DC 20530
The Honorable Sonny Perdue
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Attorney General Barr and Secretary Perdue:
I write to call on your departments to investigate concerns raised by America’s farmers and ranchers about possible illegal practices in the cattle industry. Since February 4, 2020, live cattle prices are down 16 percent. This is happening while American consumers bought 77 percent more meat during the week of March 15 compared to 2019. The spike in the purchase of beef products at the grocery store has resulted in higher beef values for meat packers, yet farmers and ranchers have seen a net decrease in the value of their cattle.
Further, the four largest meat packing companies control approximately 80 percent of beef processing in the United States. With the shelf price of meat at record highs and with the high rate of concentration in the meat packing industry, there are concerns that the difference in these margins is the result of illegal practices. These conditions warrant investigations into potential market manipulation and unfair practices within the cattle market.
The Department of Justice and the Department of Agriculture should initiate investigations into potential market manipulation and unfair practices within the cattle market. I have received a large volume of calls and emails from Iowans and member organizations expressing concerns that the current discrepancy between high shelf price and decreased cattle price does not make sense. I share the concerns of these farmers and ranchers, and I take their claims seriously. As such, I request that you examine the current structure of the beef meat packing industry and investigate potential market and price manipulation, collusion, restrictions on competition and/or other unfair and deceptive practices under the United States antitrust laws and the Packers and Stockyards Act.
In particular, Title 7, United State Code, §192, of the Packers and Stockyards Act adopted in 1921, provides the following:
“Unlawful practices enumerated. It shall be unlawful for any packer or swine contractor with respect to livestock, meats, meat food products, or livestock products in unmanufactured form, or for any live poultry dealer with respect to live poultry, to:
(a)Engage in or use any unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practice or device; or …
(e)Engage in any course of business or do any act for the purpose or with the effect of manipulating or controlling prices, or of creating a monopoly in the acquisition of, buying, selling, or dealing in, any article, or of restraining commerce; or…”
These subsections of the Packers and Stockyards Act have been the subject of considerable enforcement action and litigation in recent years. Although the bulk of that litigation has revolved around individual producers or a group of individual producers who have alleged they have been harmed by the practices of one or more packers, the current market situation does not involve packer conduct against one producer or a small group of producers. Rather, it involves alleged market manipulation that affects all cattle producers, in Iowa and nationwide.
In Schumacher v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Cargill Meat Solutions, Swift Beef Company and National Beef Packing Company, the court found proof of adverse effect on competition was not necessary for a claim under 7 U.S.C. §192(a) of the Packers and Stockyards Act (section 202(a) and (e) of the 1921 Act). This case involved allegations of a number of packers knowingly using inaccurate USDA boxed beef prices to negotiate purchase of slaughter cattle at substantially lower prices than economically justified. See Schumacher v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Cargill Meat Solutions, Swift Beef Company and National Beef Packing Company, 434 F.Supp. 2d 748 (U.S. District Court, South Dakota Northern Division 2006).
Further, I request that you also investigate for potential violations of section 2(d) of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. § 13(d)) and § 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. § 45) as those sections would apply to these potential violations of 7 U.S.C. § 192(a). See Re ITT Continental Baking Co. , 44 Agric. Dec. 748, 1985 WL 63151 (U.S.D.A. 1985). I understand that proof of violations of these federal statutory provisions may be difficult and require extensive investigation, but Iowa and the nation’s beef producers deserve a full-scale investigation. The difference in price between what they are receiving, and the retail price consumers are paying at this time of a national pandemic simply cannot be explained, much less justified, by legitimate supply and demand market forces.
Thank you for your prompt consideration of this important matter. I hope by May 1st to hear your decision on whether to move forward with this investigation.
Congressman Steve King
Monday, March 16
King Votes “NO” on Fast-tracked Wuhan Virus-COVID19 Bill
Congressman Steve King announces that he voted “NO” on the rushed Wuhan Virus/COVID-19 (HR 6201) legislation presented to the House in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 14. The rush to pass the legislation meant that the bill was filed at 12:01 AM, a debate began at 12:10 AM, and only 18 minutes later, at 12:28 AM, the vote was gaveled. This compressed timeframe ensured that Members of Congress voting on the bill had no opportunity to read the final language. Members had no time to evaluate provisions that place burdensome and costly regulations on small business operations. No amendments were allowed.
“Saturday’s rushed and flawed House-passed coronavirus bill is a typical Washington DC response to an atypical problem,” said King. “In an effort to be seen as doing something to address the impact of the Wuhan Virus/COVID-19, Speaker Pelosi scrambled to present a hastily thrown-together bill that no voting Member of Congress could have read in its final form. The bill places onerous paid sick-leave requirements on small businesses. The impact, if left uncorrected by the Senate, is a viral threat to the survival of thousands of small businesses and will force many of them out of business. The Senate should take note of the 40 Republicans who stood up for our nation’s small-business owners and employees by voting ‘NO.’ I have contacted my Senators and called upon them to fix this bill and send it back to the House for concurrence.”
“The House was in an irrational, stampeded rush to pass a bill so that Members could go to the airport to fly home. The bill sat in limbo for over 60 hours waiting for Senators to return to Washington, D.C. There was time to take the bill through committee, do the mark-up, debate, deliberate, offer amendments, and pass a workable well-constructed bill on the floor. Of course, we would have had to work the weekend, which many rushing to vote for this bill wanted to avoid.”