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Alexander, Black Release Statements on 5-Year Anniversary of Obamacare

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 23, 2015:

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate health committee, today released the following statement on the 5th anniversary of Obamacare being signed into law:

“Five years ago this week, President Obama signed into law a piece of legislation Republicans said would be an historic mistake. Since this law passed, we have seen health care costs increase for the American people, many have lost their health care plans and their choice of doctors, and freedom and flexibility in health care choices have been severely limited. Republicans have been and are still ready to head step by step in a different direction – one that emphasizes more freedom, more choices, and lower costs.”

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; March 23, 2015:

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a nurse for more than forty years and member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, released the following statement on the fifth anniversary of Obamacare being signed into law:

“Five years after Obamacare was signed into law, the broken promises are many and the hurt is real. Just ask the 16,000 Tennesseans who lost their  affordable health insurance plans through CoverTN despite the President’s pledge that ‘if you like your health care plan, you can keep it’ or the 31 million Americans expected to remain uninsured even after this law is fully implemented. Obamacare is such a disaster that the Obama Administration itself has allowed more than 40 changes to the law so far and many of the politicians responsible for this train wreck – from Kathleen Sebelius to Marilyn Tavenner – are now out of a job. As a nurse for more than 40 years, I understand the need for health care reform, but this top-down rewrite of one-sixth of our economy was never the way to do it. On this unhappy anniversary, the results are in: Obamacare was a mistake that harms the very people it pretends to help. Today, our case for repealing and replacing this law couldn’t be stronger,” said Congressman Diane Black.

Alexander, Cohen Statements on King v. Burwell Oral Arguments

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 4, 2015:

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 4 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate health committee, released the following statement on today’s Supreme Court oral arguments in the King v. Burwell case, which Alexander attended:

“Hopefully the Supreme Court will rule that the law means what it says. If the court does, states will have two options for the 6 million Americans who today receive tax credit subsidies. First, states without exchanges can still create them, but Republicans in Congress will provide a better option. We will act to provide financial assistance those Americans hurt by this as well as offer states more flexibility in offering lower cost insurance policies to their citizens.”

On Monday, Alexander, along with U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah (chairman of the Senate Finance Committee) and John Barrasso of Wyoming (chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee) published an op-ed in the Washington Post about what Congress should do if the Court decides against the president in this case.

Press release from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. 09; March 4, 2015:

As the United States Supreme Court hears oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the case regarding the legality of tax subsidies going to consumers of health insurance purchased through the federal health care marketplace, Tennesseans should be made aware of what is actually at stake in this lawsuit.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 187,856 Tennesseans currently receive monthly pro-rated tax subsidies to help them afford insurance coverage purchased through the federally-run marketplace. Nationwide, these subsidies average $268 per person, per month. In the event that the Court rules in favor of the Burwell plaintiffs (a ruling that would directly contradict Congressional intent as it has been clearly and explicitly expressed by the law’s authors) 187,856 Tennessee citizens would immediately lose these subsidies, effectively causing their monthly insurance premiums to skyrocket by hundreds of dollars each month and making health coverage unaffordable for many, if not all.

Estimates from the Urban Institute indicate that, despite years of the number of uninsured Americans falling because of the President Affordable Care Act, the United States uninsured rate would jump by 30%, disproportionately in the South, should the Court rule in favor of the plaintiffs. This is an unacceptable outcome, and it would throw our state’s—and our nation’s—health insurance systems into chaos while measurably and significantly harming the health of our citizens.

Roe, Black, Blackburn Release Statements on DHS Funding Votes

Press release from U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn. 01; February 27, 2015:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) released the following statement after voting in support of a House motion to go to conference with the Senate on the House and Senate passed funding bills for the Department of Homeland Security. Roe voted against a three-week continuing resolution.

“The House acted six weeks ago to continue funding the Department of Homeland Security. Instead of allowing a vote on the House-passed bill or passing a bill of their own in a timely fashion, Senate Democrats blocked the Senate from doing anything – running out the clock and causing more uncertainty for the American people.

“As I’ve said before, my position isn’t changing and I’m not backing down. I’ve heard East Tennesseans loud and clear. President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty must be stopped, and, because the president refuses to work with Congress to reverse these actions, this could be the only tool we have to make good on our promise to the American people to stop this out-of-control administration. I believe it’s time to for the Senate to come to the table so we can iron out our differences and have this debate.”

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; February 27, 2015:

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) released the below statement following the House’s failure to pass H.J. Res. 35, legislation to continue funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through March 19th. Earlier today, Congressman Black also voted for H.R. 240 which would allow the House to enter into a conference committee to reconcile differences between the DHS appropriations bills passed in the two chambers. This legislation passed by a vote of 228 – 191.

“I am sorely disappointed in the 52 Republicans who joined with Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Democrats to defeat H.J. Res. 35,” said Congressman Diane Black. “Their ‘no’ vote was a gift to President Obama that, in turn, paves the way for Speaker Boehner to pass the flawed Senate funding bill with Democrat support. A short-term Continuing Resolution would have allowed us to avoid a Democrat-led DHS shutdown and fight the President’s overreaches on the firmest ground possible while continuing to pursue a favorable resolution through regular order in the form of a conference committee.  The failure of this bill is truly a missed opportunity to combat President Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty. I promised to fight this power grab to the end. I wish my colleagues would have joined me in keeping the fight alive.”

Congressman Black added, “I continue to steadfastly oppose the Senate-passed ‘clean’ appropriations bill that allows President Obama’s executive action to go unchecked for the rest of the fiscal year. I have advised my colleagues that if the House holds a vote on this measure, I will vote no. The President said himself 22 times that he does not have the authority to unilaterally rewrite our immigration laws and now a federal judge agrees. We are a nation of laws and the President’s lawless immigration overreach must not stand.”

Background:

Press release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; February 27, 2015:

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today rejected the Senate Homeland Security Bill that funds President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty. Blackburn voted against a three week “clean” Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill that may have allowed the President’s amnesty to take effect pending an injunction filed by a federal district court judge in Texas. She agreed to a seven day funding extension and joined her House colleagues in supporting a measure to request a Conference with the Senate to iron out a final solution that funds the DHS while also stopping the President’s lawless executive actions.

“The Senate must be pressured to act and use every tool at their disposal to stop executive amnesty.The American people are sick and tired of Congress kicking the can down the road when it comes to the security of our nation. The people spoke loud and clear last November when they put Republicans in charge of Congress to clean up the mess created by President Obama’s failed policies. The DHS bill approved by the House over a month ago provided the appropriate solution to start cleaning up the mess on our border created by this President’s lawless executive amnesty. However, Democrats continue to hold America and our Constitution hostage by playing procedural games and gimmicks in the Senate.

“Democrat arguments that Republicans are jeopardizing our national security are disingenuous. Democrats were silent while our southern border was being overrun last summer. Their support for the President’s amnesty has made America less secure and turned every state into a border state and every town into a border town. They continue to standby as President Obama unilaterally re-writes immigration law from the Oval Office, thereby nullifying the laws passed by previous Congresses.

“We must be mindful of our responsibility to ensure the Department of Homeland Security has resources necessary to keep our nation safe. The DHS bill passed by the House fulfilled that obligation and took appropriate action to block the illegal amnesty actions taken by this President that put our country’s security further at risk.

“The Senate should have enough respect for the House and the legislative process to take up the House bill, debate it and offer amendments. That’s the way our system of government is supposed to work. It’s time for the Senate to do its job.”

Blackburn Files Bill to Block FCC From Overriding State Municipal Broadband Laws

Press release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. 07; February 26, 2015:

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) today introduced legislation to prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from overriding state and local municipal broadband laws.

The Blackburn-Tillis legislation says that the FCC cannot pre-empt states with municipal broadband laws already on the books, or any other states that subsequently adopt such municipal broadband laws. The bill also includes a Sense of Congress stating that the FCC does not have the legal authority to prohibit states from implementing municipal broadband restrictions. Original co-sponsors of the House legislation included Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Robert Pittenger (R-NC), Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Mark Meadows (R-NC), and David Rouzer (R-NC).

Earlier today, the FCC voted to effectively overturn North Carolina and Tennessee state laws that set requirements and conditions on municipalities competing with the private sector in the broadband marketplace.

“The FCC’s decision to grant the petitions of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina is a troubling power grab,” Blackburn said. “States are sovereign entities that have Constitutional rights, which should be respected rather than trampled upon. They know best how to manage their limited taxpayer dollars and financial ventures. Ironically, they will now be burdened by the poor judgment of a federal government that is over $18 trillion in debt and clearly cannot manage its own affairs.

“I’m pleased to be working with Senator Tillis on this important issue. As former state legislators, we strongly believe in States’ rights and will fight the FCC’s liberal agenda. Chairman Wheeler’s regulatory appetite appears to know no bounds and is seeping dangerously into the lives of Americans. It is time for Congress to assert itself and protect States once again from unelected Washington bureaucrats.”

“It is disturbing, yet not surprising, that the FCC and Chairman Wheeler are attempting to deny the sovereign right of states to make their own laws,” said Senator Tillis. “After witnessing how some local governments wasted taxpayer dollars and accumulated millions in debt through poor decision making, the legislatures of states like North Carolina and Tennessee passed commonsense, bipartisan laws that protect hardworking taxpayers and maintain the fairness of free-market competition. Representative Blackburn and I recognize the need for Congress to step in and take action to keep unelected bureaucrats from acting contrary to the expressed will of the American people through their state legislatures.”

Click here to read the bill text of the States’ Rights Municipal Broadband Act

Cohen Files Bill to Reduce Police Involvement in Non-violent Juvenile Incidents on School Property

Press release from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. 09; February 24, 2015:

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) this week introduced an amendment to reduce youth incarceration in America by helping train school personnel such as teachers and counselors in innovative conflict resolution methods that are less likely to result in non-violent juveniles entering the penal system. Currently, many school systems involve the police in non-violent incidents on school property, which helps feed the “school-to-prison” pipeline that is both expensive and harmful to America’s youth.

“Unless dealt with early and effectively, young perpetrators of minor, non-violent offenses can unnecessarily fall into a pattern of violent conduct later in life,” said Congressman Cohen. “By training educators in alternative conflict resolution methods that yield better results for everyone, we can keep our young people out of jail, help improve the healing process for victims, and save our country money.”

Congressman Cohen’s amendment would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to allow local education agencies and school districts to use their current federal funding to provide training in “restorative justice” methods. Restorative justice can serve as cost-effective and useful alternatives to the more punitive conflict resolution methods used by many schools to resolve minor student conflicts, such as involving the police.

The victim-centered restorative justice process holds offenders accountable to their victims and their communities, helps offenders understand the impact of their actions, and gives the wronged party an opportunity to have a voice in resolving the conflict—which can assist in the healing process and prevent victims from becoming aggressors.

Congressman Cohen has introduced similar legislation, the Restorative Justice in Schools Act, in 2013 and 2011.

Cohen Not Attending Netanyahu Congressional Address

Press release from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. 09; February 24, 2015:

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today issued the following statement regarding his decision not to attend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned address to Congress next week:

“As a supporter of the state of Israel and a Jewish American, I have been placed in a difficult position regarding the anticipated speech of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the United States Congress.  After deliberation, I have decided I cannot in good conscience attend the Prime Minister’s speech. My decision not to attend is not a reflection of my support for Israel and its continued existence as a state and home for the Jewish people.  I have always strongly supported Israel and I always will. However, I believe, as do many conscientious Members of Congress, that the speech is political theater by Prime Minister Netanyahu, the head of the Likud party, just two weeks before the elections in Israel.  However, the Prime Minister could not speak on the House floor without an invitation from the Speaker of the House John Boehner.  Speaker Boehner and other Republicans supporting the speech are giving a foreign leader the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives as a forum to present a counterargument to the foreign policy peace efforts of the President of the United States who has constitutional authority over foreign affairs.  This speech is high theater for a re-election campaign in Israel and a political tool wielded against our President and his Administration by the Speaker of the House. Further, it is not a coincidence that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress will be during the Washington D.C. convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) with whom Speaker Boehner is currying favor.”

“The United States House of Representatives Chamber should be sacrosanct. Congressional rules do not allow the use of videos of House floor or committee activity in political campaign advertisements.  In 2013, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke to Congress and then used video clips of that speech in his re-election campaign ad to great advantage. It is expected Mr. Netanyahu will do the same again.  Congress cannot make laws that govern his conduct in Israel but the Prime Minister should honor the spirit of our campaign laws. Knowing his past use, any invitation for him to speak before Congress should include the condition that his speech to Congress not be used in a campaign ad.”

“Protocol in inviting a foreign leader to speak before Congress includes coordinating with the Administration because foreign affairs are the province of the President.  Not only did Speaker Boehner not coordinate with or inform the President of the invitation, he also asked the Israeli Ambassador not to inform the President.  The Speaker’s invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu is political gamesmanship and it is a very dangerous game.  The Prime Minister’s use of the U.S. House chamber as a stage to argue against the comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, which is currently being negotiated among Iran and the P5+1 — the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany, is reckless.   While Americans and members of Congress may disagree on anything, even foreign policy, providing a forum of such immense prestige and power to the leader of another country who is opposing our nation’s foreign policy is beyond the pale. It endangers the negotiations, insults the good faith of the other nations involved in the negotiations and emboldens Iran who may well view this schism in our government as an opportunity for advantage.  While we can disagree with our President, we as a nation should be as one on our foreign policy and any disagreements should be presented in a respectful, appropriate and time-honored manner.”

“I have given due consideration to my decision not to attend Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address before Congress.  I have attended the Prime Minister’s previous speech and my support of Israel has not wavered but I believe that this speech at this time and brought forth in this manner is dangerous to Israel as well as inappropriate.  Nothing should come between our two nations.  The actions of the Speaker and the Prime Minister have caused a breach between Democrats in Congress and Israel as well as the administrations of the United States and Israel.  My lack of attendance does not mean I will not be aware of the content of the speech nor does it mean I won’t follow the commentary both pro and con but I will not be part of the spectacle.”

Alexander, DesJarlais Respond to Obama’s Veto of Keystone XL

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; February 24, 2015:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2015 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on energy appropriations, today released the following statement on President Obama’s veto of legislation passed by Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline:

“There is simply no reason whatsoever for the president not to approve this project that will create thousands of jobs for American workers and put our country one step closer to energy independence. Our Republican majority allowed nearly double the number of roll call votes on amendments to this bipartisan Keystone XL pipeline legislation than Democrats did on all legislation in 2014, which is proof that Republicans are working to get things done. And yet, the president decided to veto this legislation before he even saw it in its final form, instead of working with Congress.”

The legislation, introduced by Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and cosponsored by Alexander, all other members of the Republican majority, and six Democrats, would allow TransCanada to construct, connect, operate, and maintain the Keystone XL pipeline. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate’s majority leader, allowed dozens of amendments pertaining to a range of issues, including energy and the economy to be debated and voted on during consideration of the Keystone Pipeline XL bill in January.

Alexander is a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He is also chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development.

***

Press release from U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn. 04; February 24, 2015:

Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D. (TN-04) released the following statement in response to President Obama’s veto of S.1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act, which passed Congress with bipartisan support:

“President Obama’s veto of this bipartisan legislation makes it clear the White House is more concerned about partisan politics than American jobs. Not only would building the pipeline create more than 42,000 good-paying jobs, it would provide energy security by reducing our reliance on oil from unstable Middle Eastern countries. After conducting five safety and environmental reviews, the president’s own State Department determined the pipeline’s construction is environmentally safe. I hope Congress will find another way to move this vital jobs project forward.”

In September of 2008—more than six years ago—Canadian pipeline company TransCanada filed an application with the United States Department of State to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border. The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Secretary of State in January of 2014 determined that no significant environmental impact would be caused by the pipeline.

Black: Incorrect Obamacare Tax Info Sent to Consumers ‘Beyond Embarrassing’ for Obama

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; February 20, 2015:

Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a member of the Ways & Means Health Subcommittee and nurse for more than 40 years, released the following statement on the news that the Obama Administration sent 800,000 HealthCare.gov customers incorrect tax information, which may result in delayed tax refunds:

“The Obama Administration has built a healthcare law so complex, so confusing, and so costly that even they don’t know how to properly administer it,” said Congressman Diane Black. “From a faulty website, to staggering cost estimates, to more Administration-led delays, the hits just keep coming under Obamacare. Now, the White House tells us in a classic Friday news dump that nearly one million Americans could see their tax refunds delayed because of this President’s inability to implement his own law. This is beyond embarrassing for President Obama and is an unfair blow to taxpayers who are once again left holding the bag for this Administration’s incompetence. Moreover, it is yet another example of why the House voted earlier this month with my support to repeal this disastrous law once and for all.”

Cohen Announces $5.6 M in Federal Funds to Address HIV/Aids Epidemic

Press release from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. 09; February 18, 2015:

[MEMPHIS, TN] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) announced today that Shelby County has been awarded $5,653,472 in federal funding to help address the HIV/AIDS epidemic and provide care for those living with HIV. This funding comes through the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which helps local governments provide HIV-related services to more than half a million people each year who do not have sufficient health care coverage or financial resources for coping with the disease.

“While there have been major breakthroughs in treatment in recent years, HIV continues to plague the Ninth District,” said Congressman Cohen. “This Ryan White Program funding will help thousands of Memphians living with this terrible disease access the high-quality, comprehensive care they need and deserve.”

During Congressman Cohen’s time in the United States House of Representatives, the Ninth District has received nearly $20 million in Ryan White Program funds to fight AIDS and HIV. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is the single largest federal program designed specifically for people with HIV/AIDS. First enacted in 1990, it provides care and support services to individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS, functioning as the “payer of last resort”; that is, it fills the gaps in care for those who have no other source of coverage or face coverage limits. This funding comes through Part A of the program, which provides assistance to locales most severely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Cohen Leads Congressional Delegation to Stop Taxpayer-funded ‘Abuse, Inhumane Research’ at U.S. MARC

Press release from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. 09; February 12, 2015:

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a Humane Society “Humane Champion,” is leading a delegation of 43 members of Congress in an effort to stop taxpayer-funded animal abuse and inhumane testing at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) in Nebraska. According to a recent New York Times exposé, MARC’s profit-motivated research programs have caused great suffering to its animals, which have been subjected to illness, pain, and premature death for decades. Congressman Cohen is also a cosponsor of Representative Earl Blumenauer’s AWARE Act, which would close the loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that exempts MARC from adhering to federal animal welfare standards.

“The Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska has been operated at taxpayer expense for the purpose of increasing production and profits for the meat industry, benefits that have been questionable at best, even by many within the meat industry,”said Congressman Cohen.  “Taxpayer dollars have been used in ways most taxpayers would abhor.  Animals have needlessly suffered and died in ways that are unspeakable.  We cannot as a government, as a nation, stand idly by and allow this to continue.  Our humanity is diminished when we not only allow but actively sanction and financially support such abuse.”

The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 was aimed at preventing animal abuse, but exempted farm animals researched for the benefit of the agriculture industry. This loophole has allowed the MARC to continue and expand its research programs, which have virtually no oversight and incredibly lax welfare standards that have already led to the easily preventable starvation of more than 6,500 animals and unnecessary disease and injury to other animals.

“People are becoming more aware and concerned each day about where their food comes from and that meat and other animal products be obtained in a humane manner.”  Congressman Cohen continued, “42 other members of Congress have joined me in asking Secretary Vilsack to immediately stop the research done at the MARC facility.  It is my hope that Secretary will take immediate action.”

To address these and other problems, in a letter sent this week Congressman Cohen and 42 other Members of Congress have urged Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to halt research at MARC, review their procedures, and implement new animal welfare procedures that voluntarily comply with the Animal Welfare Act. Joining Congressman Cohen’s call to immediately halt MARC research until the implementation of new animal welfare protocols are:

Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Madeleine Bordallo(Guam-AL), Michael Capuano (MA-07), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), David Cicilline (RI-01),Katherine Clark (MA-05), John Conyers (MI-13), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Ted Deutch (FL-21),Eliot Engel (NY-16), Lois Frankel (FL-22), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Jim Himes (CT-04), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Eddie Bernince Johnson (TX-30), Jim Langevin (RI-02), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Stephen Lynch (MA-18), Carolyn Maloney(NY-12), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Jim McNerney (CA-09), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Charlie Rangel (NY-13), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Mark Takano (CA-41), Dina Titus (NV-01), Chris Van Hollen (MD-08), Peter Welch (VT-AL),Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and John Yarmuth (KY-03).

The text of Congressman Cohen’s letter follows, while a pdf copy is available here:

Dear Secretary Vilsack,

As you are aware, on January 19, 2015, the New York Times published the article, “U.S. Research Lab Lets Livestock Suffer in Quest for Profit.” The article highlights the experimentation done on farm animals at taxpayer expense at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center. Cows, sheep and pigs have undergone torturous experimentation and have suffered painful, often fatal, neglect including starvation. The research in question has been done to maximize profits for agribusiness but at a terrible cost and with no real benefit. The experimentation has been for naught and the animals have suffered and died needlessly. The taxpayers have paid nearly $200 million between 2006 and 2015 for research at the MARC facility, research done for the benefit of private entities but which has not even produced meaningful and useful results.

While we appreciate that you have directed USDA staff to create and deliver an updated Animal Welfare Strategy plan within 60 days, we urge you not to wait to stop the research at MARC. The American public is increasingly aware of where its food comes from and is concerned about animal treatment, especially in the production of food.  The call for more humanely produced food becomes louder each day. We are writing to urge the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately stop animal testing at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) in Nebraska until a full review is completed and new animal welfare protocols are implemented.

Further, we are asking the USDA to voluntarily comply with Animal Welfare Act standards as has been done by many other U.S. Government departments and agencies such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Health and Human Services, which includes the Centers for Disease Control and The National Institutes of Health.

We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,