Vilsack Addresses Congressional Letter Concerns

Vilsack Addresses Congressional Letter Concerns

Vilsack Addresses Congressional Letter Concerns
I’m KayDee Gilkey with today’s Northwest Farm and Ranch Report.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed participants of the Commodity Classic last Friday. He shared that he was glad to be out of Washington D.C. on Sequester day. During the press conference following the presentation, he shared that he would be addressing the concerns of the group of Senators led by Chuck Grassley in their recent letter which questioned USDA’s discussion of furloughing meat inspectors due to the sequestration.

Vilsack: “With all due respect to Senator Grassley, who I have a lot of respect for, we will answer his letter fully and completely and I can assure him and his colleagues that we are doing what we can, number one. Number two, it is not as if in the inspection area in particular that we can take money from some other mission area and shift it over to food safety so we don’t have to do what we have to do. We can’t do that. We can not do that.”

He minced no words about what Congress could do to improve the situation.

Vilsack: “Instead of sending letters, it would be helpful if Congress would write a bill and get it passed. It’s in their hands to solve this. We have to implement the process they created, they passed, they approved. We are going to implement it we are going to do it based on the principles i just articulated. We are going to try to do it as equitably to the folks we serve as possible.”

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