By Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog
Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns, a former Secretary of Agriculture in the Bush Administration, isn’t done pushing food safety sequester questions at the country’s current top farm hand.
In his latest letter to Sec. Tom Vilsack, Johanns, who is concerned that the lack of federal funds could result in furloughs for meat and poultry inspectors, argues the Obama Administration is stonewalling the issue, using the country’s meat producers and food safety “as pawns.”
Last month Johanns and several other senators, including Nebraska’s Deb Fischer, wrote Vilsack that he was on course to shut down plants and keep food from making it to store shelves.
That letter asked Vilsack to turn over any written legal opinions indicating he has the authority to disregard the country’s meat and poultry inspection statutes.
On March 8 Vilsack wrote back agreeing that furloughs would have “harmful consequences” on the economy especially farmers.
But Johanns isn’t satisfied and is now asking Vilsack why, after 18 months to prepare, he never requested funding flexibility to avoid possible furloughs.
“During that time, Sec. Vilsack asked Congress to give USDA funds to the Department of Interior to roundup wild horses…However, no request was made to prioritize keeping food safety inspectors on the job,” said Johanns.
In Nebraska alone there are dozens of meat and poultry plants that are in jeopardy of shutting down.
Contact Joe Jordan at [email protected]
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