What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Consumer Protection : S.J.Res. 4. Mad-Cow Disease/Vote to Overturn U.S. Department of Agriculture's Designation of Canada as a Minimal-Risk Region for Mad-Cow Disease.
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S.J.Res. 4. Mad-Cow Disease/Vote to Overturn U.S. Department of Agriculture's Designation of Canada as a Minimal-Risk Region for Mad-Cow Disease.
senate Roll Call 19     Mar 03, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

In this vote, the Senate expressed its disapproval of a rule issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that designates Canada as a "minimal-risk region" for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or mad-cow disease). Kent Conrad (D-ND) introduced this resolution in response to the USDA's rule easing import restrictions, which were imposed on Canadian beef and cattle after Canada's first discovery of mad-cow disease on its soil in 2003. The USDA said it would ease the restrictions because Canada had made progress in the area of food-safety, but Conrad argued on behalf of most Democrats-including Progressives-and a few Republicans that a couple of additional cases of mad-cow disease had since been found in Canada and thus the restrictions ought to stay in place. Charles Grassley (R-IA) countered on behalf of most Republicans that the U.S. is in the process of trying to get restrictions imposed by Japan and other countries on U.S. beef removed, and that the USDA's rule would help the U.S. to get these restrictions lifted. (Those countries had imposed restrictions on the U.S. because of the discovery of one case of mad-cow disease in the U.S.) Conrad introduced his legislation objecting to the USDA's rule as a resolution rather than a bill because a law known as the Congressional Review Act grants Congress the ability to overturn an agency rule by passing a joint resolution within 60 days from when the rule is presented to Congress. In this case, the House stated that it would not take action on the resolution and the President threatened to veto it. Thus, despite its passage in the Senate by a vote of 52 to 46, the resolution appeared unlikely to become law and some Canadian beef and cattle would be likely to be imported once again into the United States.

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