June 16, 2022

Rep. Al Lawson Votes to Lower Food and Fuel Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) voted for new bipartisan legislation to lower the cost of food and fuel: another step forward in House Democrats’ fight against inflation. The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act will help bring down prices for Floridians in the grocery aisle and at the gas pump by giving American farmers and ranchers the support they need to thrive.

“Today, I proudly voted for more strong action to bring down kitchen table costs for working Floridians,” said Rep. Lawson. “Putin’s war in Ukraine is driving up the cost of fuel and food all over the world. But by lowering costs for America’s farmers in the fields, we can lower costs for American families in the grocery aisle. We can stop the unfair, anti-competitive practices of powerful meatpacking conglomerates that have jacked up the price of meat and poultry in the supermarket, even as the men and women who raise the meat struggle to stay in business. And by unleashing the power of clean, homegrown American ethanol, cheaper Unleaded 88 at the pump can help break the grip of foreign autocrats weaponizing gas prices.”

The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act takes three steps to lower costs for America’s families: reduces fertilizer costs in the field to lower food prices in the grocery store, lowers meat and poultry costs by increasing meatpacking competition and capacity, and lowers prices at the pump by making cheaper, cleaner Unleaded 88 (also known as E-15) more available.

  • Lower Fertilizer Costs in the Field to Lower Food Prices in the Grocery Store.  Russia and Ukraine are major global producers of key components of fertilizer, and Putin’s war has dramatically driven up the costs of fertilizer for American farmers – in turn, driving up prices in the grocery store too.  The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act reduces our dependence on foreign fertilizer production and includes two bipartisan bills to help American farmers lower their costs with $500 million in USDA funds as well as loan guarantees to pay for solutions, including precision agriculture, to use fertilizers more efficiently.  Lower costs for farmers mean lower costs for families.
  • Lower Meat and Poultry Costs by Increasing Meatpacking Competition and Capacity. Unfair, anti-competitive practices by the major meatpacking conglomerates who dominate the market are driving up the price of meat and poultry in the supermarket even as many of the men and women who raise the beef, pork and chicken are forced to accept prices that make it almost impossible to make ends meet. The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act strengthens competition in the meat and poultry sector and alleviates the supply chain bottlenecks that let meatpacking conglomerates set bad prices for producers and consumers alike. The bill includes the bipartisan Butcher Block Act to expand and create new meat processing capacity and options to market cattle, as well as the bipartisan Meat & Poultry Special Investigator Act, establishing a USDA Special Investigator for Competition Matters with new powers to swiftly crack down on anti-competitive practices by meatpacking conglomerates in violation of the long-standing Packers and Stockyards Act. Better enforcement will lead to greater competition in meat processing, fairer access to markets for producers and more price stability for consumers.
  • Lower Prices at the Pump by Making Cheaper, Cleaner Unleaded 88 More Available.  Homegrown American ethanol grown by American farmers is one of our most powerful tools to fight Putin’s Price Hike on American families, and nextgen biofuels infrastructure can make it even cleaner and more efficient to produce. Unleaded 88 is a cleaner, typically cheaper fuel option that costs on average approximately 40 cents less per gallon, emits less carbon pollution and burns cleaner than regular gas. The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act expands access to lower-cost Unleaded 88 and taps the power of American farmers to break the grip of foreign autocrats weaponizing the price of oil and gas. The bill includes the bipartisan Year-Round Fuel Choice Act, which builds on the Biden Administration’s action allowing for the voluntary year-round sale of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, known as E-15 or Unleaded 88.  The bill also includes the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act, which invests $200 million to help deploy additional storage and dispensing equipment to ensure that higher ethanol blends, biodiesel, sustainable aviation fuel and other biofuels are more readily available across the country.

The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act builds on House Democrats’ ongoing work to strengthen supply chains and bring down costs for working families. Earlier this week, the Congress passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act to ease the burden of rising costs for consumers, retailers and farmers by cracking down on exorbitant shipping fees. The House previously passed the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act to combat Big Oil’s excessive gas price hikes. Meanwhile, the House and Senate are continuing to advance a bold competitiveness package that will lower costs by reinvigorating American manufacturing while strengthening our supply chains.

“This legislation is the latest step in House Democrats’ continued fight to cut costs for working Floridians,” continued Rep. Lawson. “As we work to get food and gas prices under control, we remain laser-focused on bringing down costs across the board for families in Florida and across the country.”

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