Opposing Canada’s Unfair Dairy Regulations
This week, along with a bipartisan group of my colleagues, I sent a letter to President Trump urging the administration to hold Canada to its trade commitments for milk and other dairy products. In 2016 the US dairy industry exported approximately 15 percent of its milk production, worth roughly $5 billion. To our NAFTA partners alone, the United States exported $1.2 billion of dairy products to Mexico and $631 million to Canada. These exports help the dairy sector maintain roughly 150,000 U.S. jobs in farming and manufacturing. The regulations may violate Canada’s existing trade agreements with the United States by effectively discouraging U.S. dairy exports to Canada. It’s unfair, and I spoke out and stood up for New York dairy farmers.
Standing Up for Kids and Dairy Farmers
I also communicated an urgent request in a letter to newly confirmed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue calling on the department to change the ban on certain kinds of milk in schools. USDA’s National School Lunch Program meal patterns and nutrition standards were required to align with the department’s 2010 dietary guidelines. This resulted in participating schools being prohibited from offering 1%, 2% and 3.5% (whole) flavored fluid milk products to school-lunch recipients. The fat-free-only rule for flavored milk was an arbitrary designation unrelated to established dietary science and hurts our already suffering dairy industry. It should be reversed at the earliest opportunity. In fact, recently published research in the Journal of Nutrition finds that people who consume full-fat dairy products such as whole milk are less likely to be afflicted with so-called "metabolic syndrome," a set of related risk factors predicting heart disease and diabetes.
Protecting Transportation Infrastructure After Disasters
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a Subcommittee hearing on mitigating damage and recovering quickly from disasters this week. I had the opportunity to pose questions to the panel of witnesses regarding ways to incentivize municipalities to obtain insurance so that they are not burdened with the costs of uninsured losses on structures. I also asked the panel how we can encourage localities to modernize their building codes. While we cannot predict which storms will cause severe damage, we can work toward building a 21st century infrastructure that will mitigate damage and allow local governments to recover in an expeditious manner. Watch the full video here or click the image above.