Horse bill may face opposition

Dec 16, 2008
Horse bill may face opposition

Horses (from page 1)

“Goodlatte’s amendment was nothing short of brilliant. It places a burden on the bill in that it will now have to go through the parliamentarian and be checked out, which will take up some time.” Peterson said that while he went into the hearing expecting to see enough opposition to the bill to have it voted down, he came away stunned at the lack of leadership against the legislation. “First of all, with everything that Congress has going on right now and the short time they have before they take a break for the elections, I didn’t think they were going to have time to take this bill up,” he said.

“I was extremely disappointed in the Democrats and the Republicans both, because there was very little support to strike this bill down from either side. Goodlatte and Congressman [Steve] King [R-IA] had very little backing,” continued Peterson. “Even the Republicans that were supportive of stopping the bill didn’t speak up. The first three rows were taken up by Humane Society of the United States members, and none of the congressmen wanted their name attached to a ‘no’ vote.”

As Peterson explained, however, Goodlatte’s amendment now means there is a fair chance the House Committee on Agriculture will get a chance to see the bill before it goes to a floor vote. “Goodlatte’s amendment will delay the bill with parliamentary procedure, but it may also give it a good shot of seeing the House Ag Committee before it gets voted on,” Peterson notes. “By having the words ‘Secretary of Agriculture’ in the bill, it makes it germane to that committee’s duties. [House Committee on Agriculture Chairman] Collin Peterson [D-MN] is strongly opposed to this bill, and I’ve been told that he plans to send a letter to Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-CA] asking that his committee see the bill before it moves any further. Pelosi and Peterson do seem to get along quite well and I’m confident that the ag committee will handle it.” Peterson pointed out that although he doesn’t believe the chances for the bill’s success from this point forward are very good, it was still disappointing to see it gain traction and move out of the first committee hearings.

“This is an issue that is unlike many in Washington because even though we have a large number of different agriculture groups, we are all speaking with the same voice on this one and saying that we don’t want this bill to become law,” he said. “There’s no confusion among agriculture on this one. Congress just dropped the ball.” — Tait Berlier, WLJ Editor