President Obama’s speech today to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in which he said he wanted to partner with business and encourage business investment was welcome news, according to the American Meat Institute (AMI). The trade group suggested a good first step would be to get rid of one of the most onerous and controversial rules ever proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: the livestock marketing rule published in June by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

The comment period on the proposed rule closed in November and generated more than 60,000 comments. The proposal also brought a strong response from Capitol Hill, with 115 members of the House of Representatives writing Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Oct. 1, 2010, saying, “The proposed rule is sweeping in its scope and would have major consequences in the marketing of livestock and poultry for producers and processors of all sizes. In order for Congress and the public to evaluate this rule and its implications with full transparency, a thorough economic analysis is necessary.”

“The future direction of the proposed rule is uncertain, and if there’s one thing that American businesses cannot tolerate easily now, it’s more economic uncertainty. Uncertainty kills investment and, in turn, economic growth,” says AMI President J. Patrick Boyle.

“President Obama today said, ‘If there is a reason you don’t share my confidence, if there is a reason you don’t believe that this is the time to get off the sidelines – to hire and invest – I want to know about it. I want to fix it.’ We are glad to hear those words. Our own economic analysis, which was necessitated by USDA’s failure to conduct one, showed that this proposal could cost 140,000 jobs and remove $14 billion from the gross domestic product. The proposal also circumvents judicial precedent and goes well beyond the modest congressional mandate included in the 2008 Farm Bill. We hope the president will move swiftly to fix this misguided regulatory end-run around Congress and the courts,” Boyle says.

“We’ve been telling anyone who would listen that this proposal stands to harm the U.S. agricultural economy and the economy as a whole,” he adds. “We are gratified that the president has committed to listening to concerns like ours and we hope he will remove this impediment to investment and growth by withdrawing the rule.”

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