I recently introduced three bills inspired by issues that residents of Iowa’s Third Congressional District have brought to my attention.
For years, independent livestock producers in Iowa have demanded fairness and a level playing field in the livestock market as they are increasingly squeezed out due to a lack of market transparency and competetion. I have heard too many stories of producers having to sell their cattle at a loss, only for the packer to turn them over and make a big profit.
Two couples from Iowa – cattle producers Jake and Kristie Driver and Ricky and Shelly Larson, owners of Rustic Cuts in Council Bluffs – were kind enough to host USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack and I in July to talk about the need for more transparency and accountability in the marketplace so that our farmers can be fairly shaken up.
We also saw the significant weaknesses in our supply chain that the pandemic had exposed and the need for additional processing capacity.
In response, Vilsack announced that the USDA would invest $ 500 million from the US bailout in the form of grants and loans to help expand treatment facilities across the country, with more than $ 150 million of that funding. to help small or very small processing facilities.
To ensure that our independent producers have a chance to move forward, I recently introduced the Livestock Price Discovery and Transparency Act to bring significant and long-awaited reform to the beef industry. and ensure that family farmers in Iowa and across the country can continue to operate for generations. to come.
I also heard from local governments earlier this year that many small towns in Iowa do not have administrative staff to go through the paperwork that goes with receiving US bailout funds intended to help raise our cities and counties after the pandemic.
That’s why I’m co-sponsoring a bill called State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act, which would increase investments in infrastructure that states and local governments can make, like broadband, manufacturing, water and housing investments that the state recently announced with unspent COVID-19 relief funds.
This would give local governments more flexibility to use up to $ 10 million for general government services, without requiring understaffed local governments to submit detailed documentation of revenue losses.
Local governments in Iowa know best how to allocate their funding to get their cities back on their feet. It’s important that we give them the flexibility they need to cover their losses and invest in their long-term success.
I was also devastated to hear of another puppy mill in Wayne County where a single breeder racked up nearly 200 animal welfare law violations with impunity.
As a proud mother of a dog, I made it my mission to empower those who mistreat our animals.
That’s why I introduced Goldie’s Act, which is named after one of the 500 neglected and abused dogs at the USDA registered facility. The legislation fills in gaps in the current animal welfare law and makes it clear that there should be no slaps for breaking the law.
We need to make sure the bad actors are held accountable by the USDA and that our law is crystal clear on what needs to be done to promote animal welfare.
I will continue to work until these laws are enacted. I take all matters that my constituents bring to my attention very seriously and I am proud to stand up for the Iowans in Congress.
Representative Cindy Axne of West Des Moines represents the Third Congressional District of Iowa in the United States House of Representatives. She can be reached at 202-225-5476.