Meatpackers helped draft Trump order to keep their facilities open

In late April, as the coronavirus pandemic was ripping through meat processing plants across the country and sickening thousands, President Trump signed an executive order designating the facilities as “critical infrastructure” and ordering that they remain open despite deadly outbreaks. As it turns out, the very meatpackers that benefited from the order actually played a direct role in writing it behind the scenes, according to emails obtained by ProPublica. One week before Trump’s declaration, an industry trade group sent top USDA officials a draft bearing striking similarities to the final order, down to its invocation of the president’s powers under the Korean War-era Defense Production Act. Legal experts say that it’s not uncommon for stakeholders to play a role in shaping policy—but that the administration’s immediate and comprehensive adoption of meatpackers’ preferred language suggests that their interests may have been prioritized over those of workers and the public at large.

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