The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility left $1 billion on the table when it opted not to recommend Congress charge the meat and poultry industry for inspection service.

Co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson originally suggested ending the 100-year-old subsidy that has taxpayers picking up the tab for USDA providing inspection services to the meat and poultry industry.  

But user fees for the meat and poultry industry were not included in the revised recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

Charging meat and poultry companies for the $1 billion it costs the federal government to provide in-plant inspection services would reduce the burgeoning federal government debt. 

Reducing the annual deficit and national debt was the Commission’s task.  Its final report failed to receive enough votes to require Congress to take up its recommendations.  

The industry’s American Meat Institute (AMI), the union representing meat Inspectors, and consumer groups all oppose user fees.

Currently 40 percent of every program dollar is borrowed by the federal government.