NonStop Local: Senate passes Tester, Round’s bipartisan resolution to override Biden admin on Paraguay beef imports

by Bobby Lee

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan Congressional Review Act (CRA) authored by U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). The CRA would overturn the Biden Administration’s decision to lift a ban on beef imports from Paraguay.

Tester and Round’s CRA passed the Senate with a veto-proof majority vote of 70-25. The Senators’ bipartisan resolution will now head to the House for passage.

President Biden butchered this decision,” said Tester. “By cutting corners to resume beef imports from a country with a recent history of foot and mouth disease, the Biden Administration is jeopardizing our food supply and giving Montana consumers and producers a raw deal. We cannot allow beef imports from Paraguay until we have data that shows they are meeting same high animal health standards as American ranchers, and I’m proud to have secured overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate to force the Biden Administration to reverse course.

South Dakota is known for having high quality beef produced by hard-working farmers and ranchers across the state. We have very high standards regarding the quality of our beef. Unfortunately, Paraguay does not have the same history of enforcing health and safety standards that we do,” said Rounds. “Our inspectors haven’t been to Paraguay in 10 years. Consumers deserve to have a high degree of confidence in the quality and safety of beef they want to serve their families. There is more work that needs to done with Paraguay before introducing their beef in American markets. Filing this resolution has been a bipartisan effort to protect American consumers while standing up for our producers.

Tester and Rounds’ bipartisan resolution has received support from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), R-CALF USA, Livestock Marketing Association, National Farmers Union, Montana Farmers Union, Montana Stockgrowers Association, and the Montana Farm Bureau Federation.

Tester and Rounds officially filed the bipartisan CRA to overturn the Biden Administration decision in February, and the senators also introduced bipartisan legislation to suspend beef imports from Paraguay in response to animal health concerns. The bipartisan bill would also establish a working group to evaluate the potential threat to food safety and animal health that is posed by Paraguayan beef.

Tester and Rounds have previously called upon the USDA to collect more up to date data on animal health in Paraguay before resuming beef imports from Paraguay, citing that Paraguay last reported cases of foot and mouth disease in cattle in 2012. Tester’s Office says the USDA’s decision to resume Paraguayan imports is relying on an analysis that was completed in 2018 and that American inspectors have not coducted their own site visit to Paraguay since 2014.

Tester and Rounds also introduced legislation last year to suspend Brazilian beef imports to the U.S. until experts can conduct a review of the commodity’s impact on food safety and animal health.

The full text of Senators Tester and Round’s CRA can be read here.