Not the mascot of the Chicken Caucus, but modeled after Senator Claghorn, a Southern gentleman.
The U.S. Senate Chicken Caucus scored an eggciting victory this week as its co-chairman successfully sponsored an amendment to l’egg-islation passed by the Senate Finance Committee that will put pressure on South Africa to loosen its limits on American poultry imports. The underlying bill is the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which is a trade agreement between the United States and countries in Sub-Saharan African countries.
Members of the caucus cried fowl after South Africa began to impose anti-dumping duties on poultry products from the U.S., effectively banning American chicken imports. The amendment authorizes President Obama to put pressure on South Africa to remove the limits on poultry imports.
Senate Chicken Caucus co-chair Johnny Isakson clucked his approval of the legislation:
I am also glad this legislation contains provisions that would allow the U.S. Trade Representative to be responsive and flexible in its approach to addressing areas of concern by conducting out-of-cycle reviews and when necessary, having the authority to suspend, limit or withdraw benefits for any beneficiary country not in eligibility compliance. I believe passionately in AGOA’s value and support its long-term renewal, but I believe it unfair and inappropriate that the country that benefits from the law the most – South Africa – continues to maintain unreasonable tariffs on American poultry.
You didn’t know there was a Senate Chicken Caucus, much less that Senator Isakson was co-chair? Isakson and Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons founded the caucus in 2013. It has a mission to “educate other senators and staff about the history, contributions, challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. chicken industry.” There is also a Congressional Chicken Caucus, which was founded in 2012 by Georgia Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop and Republican Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas.
Poultry is an important industry in Georgia. According to a presentation from the University of Georgia, we produce more than $18 billion in poultry products annually, making poultry the largest segment of the Peach State’s agriculture industry. Some 100,000 people owe their employment to the poultry industry, and Georgia is the top producer of broilers in the United States.