Bustos Votes to Pass Legislation Lowering Food & Fuel Costs

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) voted to pass the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act – a bipartisan legislative package to lower prices for America’s families in grocery aisles and at the gas pump by giving family farmers the support they need to thrive. 

“Families in Northwest and Central Illinois are feeling the effects of inflation every single day. Today, we took bipartisan action to lower the rising food and gas prices that are hitting folks hard,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “Today’s package expands access to E15 to lower gas prices, shores up our supply chains to keep shelves stocked and reduces food costs by increasing meat and poultry competition and cutting rising fertilizer costs. These measures will not only bring relief to American consumers, but also support the family farmers who feed and fuel our country along the way.”

Here’s a look at what this package includes to lower gas prices, reduce food costs and shore up our ag supply chains.

Lowering Prices at the Gas Pump by Expanding Access to E15: 

  • The Year-Round Fuel Choice Act ensures that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can grant waivers to allow E15 and higher blend fuels to be sold at retailers year-round.
  • The Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act authorizes $500 million over 5 years for infrastructure grants for fuel retailers and directs the EPA Administrator to repeal confusing E15 labeling requirements. The bill also allows certain existing Underground Storage Tanks (UST) to store higher blends of ethanol.

Lowering Food Prices in the Grocery Store by Lowering Fertilizer Costs in the Field:

  • The Producing Responsible Energy and Conservation Incentives and Solutions for the Environment (PRECISE) Act helps family farmers access precision agriculture technology through existing Farm Bill programs.
  • A bill to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to provide additional payments for implementation of a nutrient management practice, and for other purposes would authorize $750 million under USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to incentivize nutrient management planning, which helps farmers manage their use of fertilizer, and offset high costs.
  • The Addressing Fertilizer Shortages Act authorizes $100 million to support the advancement of US-made fertilizer, including research into innovative fertilizers, fertilizer alternatives and the development of more sustainable fertilizers.

Lowering Meat and Poultry Prices by Increasing Market Competition:

  • The Butcher Block Act helps rebalance the U.S. cattle market by easing regulatory barriers and improving access to meat processing grants for small processors. 
  • The Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act of 2022 establishes a new “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” within the USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division. This new USDA Special Investigator would focus on preventing shortages, enforcing America’s antitrust laws and holding bad actors in the meat and poultry industry accountable.

Keeping Shelves Stocked by Strengthening our Ag Supply Chain:

  • The Strengthening the Agriculture and Food Supply Chain Act creates a dedicated task force designed to shore up the American food supply chain, increase government coordination and provide recommendations to Congress to prevent future supply chain issues.

In a Statement of Administration Policy, the Biden Administration heralded the bipartisan Lower Food & Fuel Costs Act, saying the package “would promote a more resilient food system with strengthened agriculture and food supply chains, greater biofuels infrastructure, and greater competition in the meat and poultry sectors to ensure access to fairer, better, and more competitive markets with more stable prices for consumers. This bipartisan legislation is an important step in ensuring that the U.S. builds on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions, while supporting American farmers to reduce their input costs and reduce energy usage.”