The Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday approved by voice vote a measure to reauthorize the U.S. Grain Standards Act, rejecting the grain industry’s attempt to take over control of the United States’ grain inspection. Without AFGE and our champions in the Senate such as Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Sherrod Brown, the country’s grain inspection would have returned to where it was before 1976 when grain inspection was federalized following scandals over corruption and bribes by private inspectors.
The only drawback is that this law would have to be reauthorized in five years instead of 10 years, so the grain industry will get another crack at us sooner rather than later.
The bill is now on its way to the full Senate. The House Agriculture Committee has already marked up a bill to reauthorize the grain standards act. Just like the Senate version, the House version doesn’t include measures allowing privatization of grain inspectors. But the Senate version is a big improvement on the House bill as it doesn’t have a provision allowing the use of private inspectors in the event of an interruption.
The fight isn’t over. It is not known when the House and Senate will take up their respective versions of the reauthorization legislation and whether a House-Senate conference will be necessary to resolve differences. The deadline for reauthorization is September.