5 Senate Democrats urge COOL resolution

With the World Trade Organization set to announce Monday the levels of retaliation that Canada and Mexico will be allowed against the United States over the U.S. program of country-of-origin labeling for beef and pork, five Senate Democrats wrote Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that the issue should be resolved this year.

Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana all wrote McConnell and Reid that they fear exports from their states will be targeted.

The House has passed a repeal of the COOL program for beef and pork, but the Senate does not have the votes for either a repeal bill favored by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., or a bill sponsored by Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., which would repeal COOL for beef and pork, but establish a voluntary labeling program for beef that would be overseen by the Agriculture Department.

–The Hagstrom Report