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Thune Votes to Defend COOL

Votes against Conference Report that Delays Mandatory Labeling

November 3, 2005

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today voted against the Agriculture Appropriations Conference Report because it contained an unacceptable two-year delay of the Country of Origin Labeling law (COOL). Senator Thune has been working to implement COOL since his days as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives:

"Country of Origin Labeling was signed into law by President Bush on May 13, 2002. It was a major victory for cattle producers in my state of South Dakota and across the country, and for all of us who had worked so hard to secure it—or so I thought," Thune said. "It's now been more than three years, and what is technically the law of the land has become a casualty of obstruction.

"Where I come from, a deal is a deal. Yet, through backhanded, middle-of-the-night tactics, opponents of COOL have managed to delay its implementation over and over, and today, they've done it again. A 2002 law is now a 2008 maybe. This delay is unacceptable.

"Today I voted on principle to put a stop to COOL's delay. Unfortunately, special interests have won out this day over the will of our producers, our consumers, and the elected representatives in the Senate. But our fight is not over. I will not give up in my efforts to see COOL's implementation."

Senator Thune voted against the Agriculture Appropriations Conference Report because it included the two-year delay of COOL. Senator Thune led the fight in the House Agriculture Committee to add mandatory COOL to the 2002 Farm Bill. Earlier this year, he cosponsored legislation to move up the implementation date. He also recently signed a letter to the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriation Conferees voicing support to keep COOL on track.