Waco (September 29, 2004) – Texas Farmers Union (TFU) president Wes Sims and 190 other Farmers Union members recently walked the halls of Congress on behalf of rural America. During National Farmers Union’s legislative fly-in, September 20-22, farmers and ranchers from across the country asked Congress to implement mandatory country-of-origin food labeling, pass agricultural disaster aid, enact fairer trade deals and pass House Resolution 594.
“We delivered our concerns straight to our members of Congress and the administration during personal office visits,” Sims explained. “This was an opportunity for us to put real, personal stories behind the natural disaster, import surges and unfair trade negotiations that impact farmers’ and ranchers’ livelihoods.”
Fly-in participants asked Congress, again, to uphold the mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law and oppose all efforts to weaken it. “Congress needs to keep COOL,” Sims said. “Mandatory Cool is a marketing opportunity for me as a producer, and it’s also an informational tool for me as a consumer.
Days before the farmers came to Washington; the U.S. Senate approved $3 billion in emergency disaster aid for farmers and ranchers suffering weather-related losses in 2003 or 2004. The group urged their representatives to expeditiously enact the relief package to help those dealing with hurricanes, premature frost, drought, flooding and other natural disasters in many regions of the country.
Sims and others also spoke out against faulty free trade deals that have resulted in rising imports and dwindling agricultural exports. Farmers Union members encouraged U.S. trade negotiators to, instead, ratify trade deals that are profitable for domestic producers.
Also, the group voiced their support for HR594, which would correct the injustice of schoolteachers, firemen, policemen and government employees not being eligible for social security that they have paid for. This bill has 300 co-sponsors (218 is the majority) but the House leader will it bring it up for a vote. There is a discharge petition, which would bring HR594 to the floor for a vote but still needs approximately 25 signers to reach the necessary 218 signatures.
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