Majority of House Republicans Support Overturning USDA Catfish Rule

Washington — Today, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) 69% and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) 14% sent a letter to Congressional leaders signed by 124 Republicans and 53 Democrats by urging floor consideration of S.J. Res. 28. The resolution, which passed the Senate 55 to 43, would block the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) catfish inspection rule using the Congressional Review Act (CRA).  Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“Rarely is there bipartisan agreement in Washington to reverse a parochial protectionist boondoggle. Congresswoman Hartzler deserves credit for taking on the various special interests that all too often hamstring the Republican Party from pursuing common sense, free-market policies. Heritage Action urges the leadership to schedule a vote on the resolution and secure a small, but important policy victory as soon as possible.”

In addition to the 124 Republicans that signed the letter, another 11* are on the record supporting overturning the USDA’s catfish inspection program, which shows a clear cushion beyond a simply majority of the Conference. Because many members have a policy of not signing on to letters to leadership, this indicates strong support within the GOP Conference.

While most disapproval resolutions are merely designed to lay out a policy marker, S.J. Res. 28 actually has a chance to become law, as Heritage Action explained in the Senate key vote:

“The Obama Administration acknowledges the duplication inherent in the USDA’s catfish inspection program, and proposed eliminating it in a recent budget. Despite having advanced the rule — apparently agreeing (for once) it must abide by clear congressional statute and intent — Obama Administration opposes the rule. By sending the President this CRA for him to sign, Congress will allow this duplicative and wasteful catfish inspection rule to be blocked consistent with the rule of law.”

*In October 2013, Reps. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) 92%, Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) 73%, Devin Nunes (R-CA) 46%, Tom Rooney (R-FL) 71%, Billy Long (R-MO) 75%, Doug Collins (R-GA) 79%Bill Johnson (R-OH) 47% and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) 53% signed a letter to the Farm Bill conferees opposing the program, as did current Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) 62%Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) 68% was a cosponsor of H.R. 1313 in the 113th to repeal the program. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) 37% sent a letter to OMB in 2014 opposing the program.