Beef, chicken supply could be casualties of Congress, Obama sequester fight

Beef, chicken supply could be casualties of Congress, Obama sequester fight

- in News and Opinion

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By Seth McLaughlin and Stephen Dinan

The Washington Times

If the spending sequesters happen, get ready for the great beef shortage of 2013.

The Obama administration said Thursday that the across-the-board cuts would mean furloughs for food safety inspectors, and if those inspectors aren’t on the job, meat-processing plants can’t open.


That means 2 billion pounds of beef and pork and potentially more than 3 billion pounds of poultry will never make it to the market, causing shortages and price spikes across the economy.

“This is going to adversely affect every consumer in America,” said Sen. Mark L. Pryor, Arkansas Democrat.

With the automatic cuts looming March 1, the Obama administration is offering more specifics on what lower spending would mean, pointing to everything from fewer agents on the U.S.-Mexico border to cutting funding for special education in school districts around the country.

The sequesters, totaling $110 billion for the rest of this calendar year and nearly $1 trillion over the next decade, were set in place by the 2011 debt deal.

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