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Tag: congress

In the ongoing saga of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510), we learned this morning that the act is now included in yet different bill.  Twelve days ago we reported that S.510 was added to the Military Construction & Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (HR 3082).  The new bill? HR 2751, formerly known as the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act. According to the Senate website, HR 2751 is currently active and may receive floor action this week:

“Food safety, overhaul safety inspection process and authorize HHS Secretary to issue recalls
(Senate inserted amended text of S.510 into H.R.2751 on Dec. 19, then passed the House-numbered measure.)”

HR 2751 passed in the Senate with a unanimous, unrecorded vote last night and now moves back to the House for a final vote before it goes before the president.

Sources:

Senate.gov

It is being reported that the Food Safety Bill (S.510) may be in trouble due to an error made by the Senate. The senate added taxes to the bill (Section 107 of the bill included fees that are classified as taxes)  and this act violates the constitution which says tax provisions must originate in the House.

The Senate passed the bill yesterday, but the House will probably block the bill a procedure called “blue slipping.” Because the House is not likely to make an exception to the blue slip rule, a few things could happen at this point.

According to Roll Call, who first reported the story,

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could simply drop the issue and let the next session of Congress start from scratch… Or he could try to force the issue in the Senate after the House passes a new version of the bill. But in order to do that and still tackle the other issues, he would need a unanimous consent agreement to limit debate.”

If the bill is left for the new session of Congress, we will likely see something very different from the currently proposed food bill. Getting unanimous consent from the Senate will be extremely difficult as Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has already stated that he will not support the bill.  With less than a month left of the Senate’s lame-duck session, it appears that Food Safety Bill may be dead.

Source:

Roll Call

Today, the US Senate voted in favor of the bipartisan Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510), which passed the Senate by a 73 to 25 vote. The House passed a version of the bill with support from both sides of the political aisle back in July 2009, but was held up in the Senate. The good news is that S.510 was passed with provisions (from the Tester Amendment) to exempt small farms and food producers from the new legislation if they sell directly to consumers and bring in less than $500,000 in annual sales.

There has been a ton of support and opposition for this bill. Some report that this is the end of gardening, saving seeds and it will only be a matter of time before small farms are included under the larger FDA controls of the bill. Opposition comes from the folks at Natural News (they nicknamed it the “Food Tyranny Act”), the Weston A. Price Foundation, and the John Birch Society. Others support the move saying the FDA currently has very little power to actually do anything to prevent or address major food outbreaks. Interestingly, the movement has gained support from very unlikely allies including: Center for Science in the Public Interest, author Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma), and author Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation).

The bill now moves back to congress so the former bill and the new bill can be reconciled. All indicators are showing that the newly revised bill will be passed by the House quickly  in an attempt to try to get it completed by the end of the year (before new Congress members take their seats).  Stay tuned…