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No HPA Legislation in 113th Congress



PAST Act Fails To Come To Vote

The House of Representatives will wrap up the 113th Congress in the next couple of days and no more votes will be taken as the House of Representatives waits on the Senate to wrap up the budget bill.  As a result, the PAST Act will not pass in this Congress and will have to be refiled in the new Congress after the first of the year.

The PAST Act was written in a joint effort by Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), American Veterinary Medical Association, (AVMA) Chief Executive Ron DeHaven, American Horse Council President Jay Hickey and Humane Society of the United States’ Keith Dane and introduced in April 2013.  The PAST Act was a top priority for the HSUS and garnered widespread support in the house with 307 representatives signing on as co-sponsors.  Of those 307, 190 were democrats and 117 were republicans.

The PAST Act would have prohibited the use of pads and action devices, along with weighted shoes in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry as well as in the Racking and Spotted Saddle Horse breeds.  The bill would also have abolished the HIO self-regulatory system and turned complete regulatory and enforcement authority over to the USDA.

The Senate companion bill was filed by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and amassed 59 co-sponsors in the Senate.  Of those 59, 48 were democrats, 9 republicans and 2 independents.  The bill was placed on the Senate calendar in September of this year after going through committee and was “hotlined” on December 8, 2014 in an effort to pass the bill by unanimous consent however that was averted when at least one Republican senator put a hold on the bill.

Additional legislation was filed by Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) that would have also amended the HPA to include objective, science-based testing and a single, independent HIO under the oversight of the USDA to regulate the industry.  Neither H.R. 4098 nor S. 2193 will pass in this Congress either.  H.R. 4098 had the full support of the Tennessee Republican delegation in the House of Representatives along with House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY).  The Senate version, S. 2193 was co-sponsored by both Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.  McConnell will most likely by the Senate Majority Leader in the new Congress.

Although the PAST Act didn’t pass in this Congress, the fight over the change to the HPA is not over.  When recently discussing the PAST Act and its failure in this Congress, HSUS President Wayne Pacelle stated, “This is our top legislative priority.”  What is unclear is given the recent ethics inquiries into Rep. Whitfield if Whitfield will be HSUS choice to introduce the PAST Act in the new Congress.
 

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