Last updated on 2014.01.25
House Republicans believe in states' rights... except when they don't.
Rep. Steve King says he's a firm believer in states' rights. But he doesn't want states regulating what kind of agricultural products enter their markets. That's why he amended the House version of the Farm Bill Wednesday to prohibit states from denying trade in ag products from other states based on production methods. In this case,
The amendment grows from Big Ag agitation to stomp out legislation and voter initiatives like California's chicken-confinement law aimed at preventing animal cruelty. King and Big Ag don't like democracy when it doesn't break their way, so they now appeal to the Commerce Clause and the wonders of federal authority:
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who introduced the amendment, characterized it as a "protect interstate commerce amendment" by prohibiting states from regulating the means of production over a particular farm product. King cited issues such as pork production, eggs and cages for hens and expressed concern that states adopting such laws on production standards would restrict shipping of those products from other states.
"Don't be telling the states producing a product already approved by the FDA or USDA how to be producing that product," King said [Chris Clayton, "House Floor Debate Next Big Step for Farm Bill," AgFax.com, 2012.07.12].
Note that when they want to do a favor for Big Ag, Republicans think federal agencies like the FDA and USDA are much better regulators than state legislatures or voters.