INHOFE REJECTS PLAN REOPENING BORDER TO CANADIAN BEEF

WASHINGTON, D.C.---U.S. Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) made the following statement today after the Senate rejected the U.S. Agriculture Department's plan to reopen the border to Canadian cattle:

"We cannot afford to open the border at this time as there are simply too many unresolved issues vital not only to Oklahoma, but to our entire nation," Inhofe said. "I am pleased that today the majority of the Senate recognized the concerns I hold in common with both the Oklahoma Farmers Union and the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. While opening up trade with Canada is important for Oklahoma and our nation, this is something that we should phase in over time and not rush into."

Today the Senate passed (52-46) Senate Resolution four (S. Res. 4) - a resolution of disapproval regarding the Department of Agriculture rule on reopening the U.S. border to Canadian Cattle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had planned to reopen the U.S. border to Canadian live cattle on March 7, 2005. With the passage of today's resolution of disapproval the Senate has formally rejecting the USDA's plan.

On January 27th of this year Senator Inhofe and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) authored a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture asking that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's current plan to reopen the U.S. border to Canadian cattle in March be delayed. In that same letter Sen. Inhofe and Rep. Lucas called for phasing-in the number of Canadian cattle allowed into the U.S. market, by age, over the course of the following six months.

In response to some of the issues brought to light in Senator Inhofe and Rep. Lucas' letter to the USDA both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees held hearings to discuss the live Canadian cattle issue as a whole.