WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation backed by U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act, to help lower the cost of a family’s grocery bill, tackle rising food and gas prices, address the supply chain crisis, and take action against any meat or poultry companies that are colluding or price gouging to make profits on the backs of hard-working middle class families.
Post-COVID supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine, and collusion and concentration in meat and poultry and fertilizer industries have contributed to the rise in costs.
The Gottheimer-backed bipartisan Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act package will:
- Stop Collusion and Price Fixing from Major Meat and Poultry Companies: The bipartisan Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act will appoint a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) special investigator to strictly enforce price-fixing laws on the books for the meat packing industry. If a company is found to be price fixing or colluding to jack up the cost of meat or poultry, then the special investigator must promptly take action and punish the company and individuals involved.
- Fix the Food Supply Chain & Get More Goods to Shelves Faster: The bipartisan Strengthening the Agriculture and Food Supply Chain Act requires the USDA to identify breakdowns, bottlenecks, and pain points in the food and agriculture supply chain and report back to Congress immediately to take action on their findings. This will strengthen the food supply chain and get more goods to grocery store shelves faster.
- Assist Struggling Livestock & Meat Producers: The bipartisan Butcher Block Act will identify which up-and-coming livestock and meat producers need assistance to help jumpstart the supply chain and get meat moving. It will help create new and expand current livestock and meat processing capacity where it’s needed across the country.
- Support Small and Medium-sized Agricultural Producers: The bipartisan package will ensure small and medium-sized farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses — like the family-owned farms in Sussex and Warren Counties — have the support and assistance they need to navigate supply chain challenges.
- Invest in Renewable Fuel Infrastructure: The bipartisan package establishes programs and requirements to expand access to renewable fuel. Specifically, the USDA must establish a program to award grants for the deployment of renewable fuel infrastructure.
- Boost Domestic Fertilizer Production: The bipartisan package authorizes USDA to implement a program to help reduce dependence on foreign sources of fertilizers, support reliable access for farmers, and encourage innovation and competition in the highly concentrated fertilizer industry. It supports investments in materials for efficient use of fertilizer and sustainable fertilizer production.
“It’s clear that food and gas prices are hitting families hard — between the COVID economy and supply chain issues, Ukraine, and collusion in meat and poultry industries, costs have surged. That’s why I’m focused day and night on concrete steps we can take to make life more affordable for families in Jersey,” Gottheimer said. “That’s what my Affordability Agenda for Jersey is all about — to help get gas and grocery prices down for Jersey families, particularly for meat, poultry, and produce. This week, I helped pass a bipartisan package to help lower the cost of a family’s grocery bill, tackle rising food and gas prices and the supply chain crisis, and take action against any meat or poultry companies that are colluding on the backs of our hard-working families.”
Other key steps Gottheimer is taking as a part of his Affordability Agenda for New Jersey include:
- “Strategic Shipping Reserve”: Gottheimer has called for the Administration to utilize the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) as a new “Strategic Shipping Reserve” to move critical goods in the oceans — as they are now doing with Operation Fly Formula, following Gottheimer successfully pushing the Administration to invoke the Defense Production Act. TRANSCOM has ships ready and waiting around the country that can handle containers to help address supply chain issues.
- “Ports that Perform” Incentives: In an effort to compete with the five major ocean carriers (all foreign-owned), boost our economy, and tackle supply chain issues, Gottheimer has called for ports like Newark that move goods faster to be given financial incentives, including to the port operators, truckers, and the men and women of the International Longshoremen’s Association. This will incentivize and further boost port efficiency.
- The COVID-19 Supply Chain Relief Act: Gottheimer introduced bipartisan legislation that will (1) institute a federal Supply Chain Czar and establish individual regional supply chain leaders to help coordinate interstate response to supply chain disruptions, shortages, and increased prices; (2) allow states to deploy unused COVID-19 relief funds to help address supply chain bottlenecks in their states; and (3) begin a thirty-day countdown clock on the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Transportation to report to Congress and the public on the major current chokepoints in our nation’s supply chain.
- All-of-the-Above Energy Plan: Gottheimer’s plan to help lower oil & gas prices includes (1) U.S. energy producers ramping up domestic production, utilizing existing wells, (2) ending America’s reliance on Russian, Iran, & Venezuelan oil, and (3) maintaining our long-term climate and alternative energy goals. Gottheimer has called on the President to sit down with oil and gas companies to discuss how we can immediately utilize existing leases to increase domestic production.
- Cutting Taxes for Jersey Families by Reinstating the SALT Deduction: Gottheimer helped pass legislation out of the House that reinstates the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction to help cut taxes for North Jersey families.
- Lowering the Prescription Drug Costs & Making Childcare More Affordable: Gottheimer recently voted to pass landmark bipartisan legislation he cosponsored to cap the price of insulin at $35 per month for Americans with diabetes. The bipartisan Affordable Insulin Now Act will deliver lower insulin costs for families across North Jersey.