Tester scores win on resolution to block beef exports from Paraguay

Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), a Democrat facing a tough reelection race, scored a win Thursday when the Senate approved a challenge he led to override the Biden administration’s decision to allow beef imports from Paraguay.

The Senate voted 70-25 Thursday to invalidate the action, but the resolution of disapproval still needs to be approved by the House and signed by President Biden to take effect.

Still, Tester claimed a victory, warning that allowing beef imports from Paraguay into the country would put American cattle at risk for foot and mouth disease.

“President Biden butchered this decision,” Tester said. “By cutting concerns to resume beef imports from a country with a recent history of foot and mouth disease, the Biden Administration is jeopardizing our food supply and giving Montana consumers a raw deal.”

The Montana senator says the administration shouldn’t allow beef imports from Paraguay until the United States has data showing that Paraguayan beef producers are meeting the same standard as American ranchers.

Tester is challenging Biden’s decision under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn federal agency actions within a limited period of time. Under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act, lawmakers are required to introduce a resolution disapproving of a federal agency action within 60 days of being notified of such action.

It marks the first time a Democratic senator has been the lead author and sponsor of a Congressional Review Act resolution challenging the Biden administration, though Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), another centrist, has cosponsored such resolutions sponsored by Republicans to overturn Biden administration rules.

The resolution has the support of ranchers and farm groups such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, the Livestock Marketing Association, the National Farmers Union, the Montana Farmers Union, the Montana Stockgrowers Association, and the Montana Farmer Bureau Federation.

The resolution was cosponsored by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who voiced concern that Biden’s decision would undercut domestic ranchers and farms.

“South Dakota is known for having high quality beef produced by hard-working farmers and ranchers across the state. We have very high standards regarding the quality of our beef. Unfortunately, Paraguay does not have the same history of enforcing health and safety standards that we do,” Rounds said.

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