After it was reported that Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) would be introducing legislation to penalize film companies that would be censoring their films for Chinese audiences, Florida Senators Rick Scott (R) and Marco Rubio (R) have now directed a letter to Sonny Perdue, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, asking him to reverse the decision to allow citrus imports from China.
Specifically, the Florida Senators are asking the agriculture department to not move forward with the recent decision to allow the importation of five varieties of citrus fruits from China.
In the letter, the Florida Lawmakers express that “in recent years, Florida’s citrus growers have suffered the impacts of hurricanes, unfairly priced imports, and from citrus greening, a disease which originated in China, and spread to the U.S. from imported citrus.”
Moreover, the lawmakers added that “risking the introduction of invasive species and diseases into the U.S. is irresponsible, especially given our knowledge of how citrus greening previously entered our country by imported citrus and is spread by an invasive pest species.”
In addition, Florida Rep. Brian Mast (R) has also introduced legislation calling for the United States to withhold any payments concerning debts owed to China that are equal to the costs that the United States has incurred as a result of the Coronavirus.
In a statement, Mast expressed that “China’s total lack of transparency and mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak has cost tens of thousands of lives, millions of jobs and left untold economic destruction.”
President Trump has signaled that China should face financial repercussions regarding its mishandling and misinformation spread concerning COVID-19, and Senators Scott and Rubio are seeking to alert the USDA that the partnership between the U.S. and China should be reevaluated.
“The department’s decision will increase unfair foreign competition by Chinese government-subsidized products and may expose domestic growers to a host of new pests and diseases,” concluded the Florida lawmakers.