USDA Priority: Meat Inspectors vs Mexico Food Stamp promotion
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Thread: USDA Priority: Meat Inspectors vs Mexico Food Stamp promotion

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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Default USDA Priority: Meat Inspectors vs Mexico Food Stamp promotion

    Since the USDA has to cut their budget which should be a priority - meat inspectors or a program promoting Food Stamps to Mexican immigrants?

    Salmonella outbreaks. E. coli outbreaks. Millions of dollars in economic losses.

    These are among the scenarios the Obama administration warned about last month as it claimed the sequester would force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to furlough meat inspectors.

    But while the administration prepares to take that step, it continues to pursue a "partnership" with the Mexican government to "raise awareness" about food stamps among immigrants from that country. When a top Senate Republican proposed cutting off funds for that program last week -- in the form of an amendment to a budget resolution -- Democrats on the Budget Committee shot it down.

    It's hard to put a firm price on the cost of the partnership, which was launched under the George W. Bush administration. But an aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who has railed against the partnership for months, said it could easily be in the millions. Since 2004, the program has blossomed to include dozens of meetings and conferences and health fairs with Mexican officials -- all of which cost money, not to mention the cost to the food stamp program of new enrollees brought in as a result of this partnership.

    Sessions, in a statement to FoxNews.com, said he believes the public will eventually demand an end to the program, though the Senate Budget Committee allowed it to continue in the vote last week.

    "We have uncovered extensive evidence that federal authorities have -- during the Bush and Obama administrations -- aggressively undermined a core legal tenet of immigration policy: that those granted admission should be self-sufficient and contribute to the economic health of the nation," Sessions said. "It is amazing that Budget Committee Democrats would unanimously vote to continue funding these costly promotions, especially when our debt is causing such profound economic harm."

    According to a letter from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Sessions last September, the "partnership" since 2004 has included roughly 91 meetings between U.S. and Mexico embassy and consulate staff; 29 health fair events; and 31 roundtable discussions, conferences and forums in 20 cities.

    Twenty percent of the meetings and activities occurred since 2008, according to Vilsack's letter. Sessions is concerned the collaboration amounts to a vehicle for the USDA to pressure people onto the food-stamp rolls -- in this case, noncitizen immigrants from Mexico.

    The USDA denies this. In his letter last year, Vilsack said the purpose is "to help eligible people in need make informed decisions about whether or not to seek assistance."

    The initiative is one of several the agency has "to promote awareness of nutrition assistance among those who need benefits and meet all program requirements under current law," Vilsack told Sessions in the 24-page letter.

    However, his letter indicates the number of legal, noncitizens participating in the program -- now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- has increased from 425,000 to 1.23 million between 2001 and 2010.

    Meanwhile, the USDA continues to press forward with plans to furlough meat inspectors, describing it as a necessity of the sequester -- though the department has eased off a bit on warnings that this could lead to more foodborne illness, since all meat and poultry will still have to be inspected.

    Read more: Dems preserve US-Mexico food stamp 'partnership,' while USDA prepares for meat inspector furloughs | Fox News
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Guess no one cares about this. To me it is symptomatic of all the sequester cuts. They are cutting stuff we need so everyone will say we need more taxes to pay for it, and leaving the fluff in place. Food safety measures like meat inspectors should NEVER be cut over fluff like advertising. I think it is ridiculous to be advertising government assistance programs to immigrants anyway no matter where they come from.
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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    I didn't respond to this one because i think it sets up a false sense of how government works, Sequester or no sequester.

    Its not like the options ever were "pick this program to cut or the other" between these two specific programs. Even without the sequester, this scenario wouldn't exist.
    Last edited by KimPossible; 03-19-2013 at 01:13 PM.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KimPossible View Post
    I didn't respond to this one because i think it sets up a false sense of how government works, Sequester or no sequester.

    Its not like the options every were "pick this program to cut or the other" between these two specific programs. Even without the sequester, this scenario wouldn't exist.
    So if that is true, knowing that they are going to have to cut meat inspectors, why was this proposal shot down?

    When a top Senate Republican proposed cutting off funds for that program last week -- in the form of an amendment to a budget resolution -- Democrats on the Budget Committee shot it down.
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    What Kim said, its not a "this one or that one" and this falsely sets it up as though it is.

    If you are worried about it go vegetarian. Frankly I'd be worried about factory farmed meat, sequester or not. Its disgusting if you look into it.

    I just don't have the heart to do a "pick on the immigrants" one with you, thats why I avoided it.

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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GloriaInTX View Post
    So if that is true, knowing that they are going to have to cut meat inspectors, why was this proposal shot down?

    Not sure what you are trying to say this proves.

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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KimPossible View Post
    Not sure what you are trying to say this proves.
    Even if it is not a direct either or relationship between the two things, if you know you need to cut something and you are already having to essentially cut back on meat inspectors which is the USDA's main purpose of food safety, why wouldn't you look at a proposal like this or any other way to cut fluff or non-essential things out of the budget?
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    Posting Addict ClairesMommy's Avatar
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    Well, chances are it is Mexican immigrants working in the food packaging plants, among other immigrants, with the teasing prospect of their employer vouching for permanent resident status on their behalf. The big problem with food safety is the companies themselves and not the inspection agencies. Just look at XL Meats in Alberta (formerly owned by U.S. based Tyson Foods) who were shut down last fall because of an ecoli outbreak. By the way, XL Meats ships to 30 US states. The companies are the ones responsible for the front line meat safety, and the CFIA/USDA does routine inspections of the facilities and the products to test for guideline adherence. At least, for that snapshot moment in time. Thing is, that is a very static way of testing meat packing plants and other packing facilities for safety and cleanliness. At XL employees (basically all immigrants) were complaining that the company was pushing meat cutting through at such a high rate, to make more money, that the knives and other instruments weren't able to be cleaned properly; general sanitation was cut so that employees could focus more on productivity; manure from feed lots was being tracked into the plants and ending up on the cutting floor; meat being dropped and then picked up off the floor and sent for packaging. This plant went though a similar recall and strike several years ago when it was US owned, so if this happens by Canadian owned packing plants, it sure as hell happens in the US. Wherever you've got a large group of immigrant workers working for $hit pay, under unreasonable working conditions, and with this unsaid expectation that if they just work that much harder they'll get to stay in our lovely countries. It's pathetic, and I for one was so glad to see the XL employees strike for better pay and working conditions.

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