06.16.22

Kilmer Votes to Lower Food and Fuel Costs for Washingtonians

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to support the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act – a bipartisan legislative package aimed at lowering prices for Washington families in the grocery aisle and at the gas pump.

“As the economy makes strides to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic – we’re facing rising inflation across the globe, including here in America. I know folks are sitting at their kitchen tables trying to figure out how to make ends meet. That’s why it’s important to me that we give people who are feeling the squeeze of rising prices a break,” said Rep. Kilmer. “Today, I was proud to support legislation, which passed the House with bipartisan support, that will help bring prices down in the grocery store and at the gas pump.”

The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act takes three main steps to help lower costs for America’s families: reduce fertilizer costs to lower food prices in the grocery store, lower meat and poultry costs by increasing meatpacking competition and capacity, and lower prices at the pump by making cheaper, cleaner Unleaded 88 (also known as E-15) more available.

  • Lower Fertilizer Costs in the Field to Lower Food Prices in the Grocery Store. Russia and Ukraine are major global producers of key components of fertilizer, and the war in Ukraine has dramatically driven up the costs of fertilizer for American farmers – in turn, driving up prices in the grocery store too. The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act aims to reduce America’s dependence on foreign fertilizer production and includes two bipartisan bills to help American farmers lower their costs with $500 million in USDA funds as well as loan guarantees to pay for solutions, including precision agriculture, to use fertilizers more efficiently. Economists point out that lower costs for farmers mean lower costs for families.
  • Lower Meat and Poultry Costs by Increasing Meatpacking Competition and Capacity. Economists evaluating agricultural price increases have pointed out that unfair, anti-competitive practices by the major meatpacking conglomerates who dominate the market are driving up the price of meat and poultry in the supermarket, even as many of the men and women who raise the beef, pork, and chicken are forced to accept prices that make it almost impossible to make ends meet. The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act strengthens competition in the meat and poultry sector and alleviates the supply chain bottlenecks that let meatpacking conglomerates set high prices for producers and consumers alike. The bill includes the bipartisan Butcher Block Act to expand and create new meat processing capacity and options to market cattle, as well as the bipartisan Meat & Poultry Special Investigator Act, establishing a USDA Special Investigator for Competition Matters with new powers to swiftly crack down on anti-competitive practices by meatpacking conglomerates in violation of the long-standing Packers and Stockyards Act. Better enforcement aims to lead to greater competition in meat processing, fairer access to markets for producers, and more price stability for consumers.
  • Lower Prices at the Pump by Making Cheaper, Cleaner Unleaded 88 More Available.  Due to Putin’s war in Ukraine, energy prices have increased.  Next generation biofuels infrastructure can make homegrown American ethanol cleaner and more efficient to produce. Gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol – also known as E-15 or Unleaded 88 –is a cleaner, typically cheaper fuel option that costs on average approximately 40 cents less per gallon, emits less carbon pollution and burns cleaner than regular gas. The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act expands access to lower-cost Unleaded 88 and taps the power of American farmers to break the grip of foreign autocrats weaponizing the price of oil and gas. The bill includes the bipartisan Year-Round Fuel Choice Act, which builds on the Biden Administration’s action allowing for the voluntary year-round sale of Unleaded 88. The bill also includes the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act, which invests $200 million to help deploy additional storage and dispensing equipment to ensure that higher ethanol blends, biodiesel, sustainable aviation fuel and other biofuels are more readily available across the country.

The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act builds on Rep. Kilmer’s ongoing work to strengthen supply chains and bring down costs for working families. Earlier this week, Rep. Kilmer voted to pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act - bipartisan legislation that aims to ease the burden of rising costs on families and small businesses, while also boosting American exporters’ ability to deliver products to the global marketplace efficiently. Rep. Kilmer also previously helped pass the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act to stop price gouging at the gas pump and help bring down costs for Washingtonians. And earlier this year, the House passed the America COMPETES Act - which includes provisions to improve America’s supply chains, prevent shortages of critical goods, and to ensure that more of these goods are made here in America.