AGRIBUSINESS: Meat Inspector Furloughs Avoided

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The Senate approved legislation to fund the government through September 30th on a 73 to 26 vote Wednesday.

The Senate bill expands on the original House CR - which contained two full bills for Defense and for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs - adding Agriculture; Commerce, Justice and Science; and Homeland Security. The measure is headed to the House.

The measure does include an amendment to prevent furloughs of meat and poultry inspectors. The amendment was adopted by voice vote. The amendment - endorsed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Tuesday - would transfer approximately $55 million in existing USDA funds to FSIS in order to ensure food inspectors are not furloughed.

Furloughs would force meat processing facilities to stop operating because federal law requires facilities to have inspectors on the production line in order to operate.