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Tag: senate

Yesterday, the House agreed to the Senate amendments on the Food Safety Bill HR 2751 by a vote of 215 Yeas and 144 Nays. The FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act (formerly S.510 and HR 3082) has taken a dramatic number of twists and turns through our judicial system over the last 4 months.

There have been many questions surrounding small farms. Was a version of the Tester Amendment included? Are small farms a part of the bill or are they exempt? The final amendment defines a food establishments as:

“…  the term ‘‘retail food establishment…  (A) the sale of such food products or food directly to consumers by such establishment at a roadside stand or farmers’ market where such stand or market is located other than where the food was manufactured or processed; (B) the sale and distribution of such food through a community supported agriculture program…”

After reading the exception section (page 18), it does appear that “very small businesses,”  small farms, and small facilities with average sales of less than $500,000 (adjusted for inflation) are exempt from some of the requirements.

Click to see the actual full text amendment. At this point we wait to see if the president will sign the bill (all signs are indicating that he will). Want to know how your representative voted? See the full list of votes here.

Sources:

Library of Congress

GovTrack.us

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

UPDATE: 12/9/10 – The House passed its amendment to the Senate amendment. HR 3082 is back in the Senate for a vote.

Natural News is reporting that The Food Safety and Modernization Act has been “hidden” in an amendment to another bill,  HR 3082.  Upon researching HR 3082, it is deemed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010.  Not a bill that has much to do with food safety if you ask me!

In looking at the text of the amendment, Food Safety has been included (on page 185 – Division D – Food Safety).  Exactly what version of S.510 and if the Tester Amendment was included is not clear. The House will likely vote on HR 3082 and its amendment today or tomorrow.  The saga of this bill continues.

Click here to read the Amendment to HR 3082.

Sources:

Natural News

The US House of Representatives, Committee on Rules

Govtrack.us

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

Many of you have asked how your senator voted on the Food Safety Bill (S.510). Below is an overview of each Senator and his or her vote (in alphabetical order).

The bill passed in the senate on November 30th with a 73 YEA, 25 NAY, and 2 NOT VOTING. The bill now goes to the House where it is up for a vote.  It is likely that the House will try to push the bill through quickly so they can complete the process before the new Congress starts in January.

Alphabetical List by Senator Name

Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Not Voting
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brown (R-MA), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Not Voting
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Coons (D-DE), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Franken (D-MN), Yea
Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johanns (R-NE), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Kirk (R-IL), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
LeMieux (R-FL), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Manchin (D-WV), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Nay
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Merkley (D-OR), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Risch (R-ID), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (D-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Udall (D-CO), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

Source:

Senate.gov

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…

The Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510) has gathered support from both sides of the political aisle. If the Senate passes the measure today or tomorrow, it will go back to the House for a final vote.  All indicators are showing that the bill will likely pass and the major question right now is whether they will pass it with the Tester Amendment or not.  The Tester Amendment essentially exempts small farmers from the new controls if they earn less than $500,000 in annual sales and if they sell directly to consumers, restaurants, or grocery stores (as opposed to 3rd party food brokers). This likely includes the majority of the farmers and food producers you find at your local farmer’s market.

Many argue that FDA should not be given additional control over farms. Others say new regulation is critical to help fight outbreaks such as salmonella and E.coli. Regardless of what side of the fence you are on, it is imperative that the food bill be passed WITH the Tester Amendment to exempt small farms.

CALL TO ACTION: Please call your state senator and let them know that small farms are not the problem with America’s food safety and do not need additional, burdensome regulation. Click here for simple, step-by-step instructions on how to call your senator. It will only take 2 minutes!