December 20, 2010
The Democrats are at it again, this time under the cover of Sunday Night.
The infamous food “safety” bill that health freedom activists and their allies assumed was out for the session, has come blazing back to life from its near-death state late Sunday, thanks to a sell-out by Senate Republicans.
That’s right. S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act was stuck into a shell bill and passed unanimously just before the Senate adjourned for the day.
As reported by the Washington Post: “After a weekend of negotiations, tense strategy sessions and several premature predictions about the bill's demise, [newly re-elected and confident] Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid, D-Nev., reached a deal with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that the GOP would not filibuster. [added]
“Without notice and in a matter of minutes Sunday evening, the Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent, sending it to the House, where passage is expected. President Obama has said he would sign the legislation, which would give the government far-reaching authority to set and enforce safety standards for farmers and food processors.”
"This reaffirmed my faith in democracy," said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union – one of several non-profit groups that originated and spear-headed the legislation. "We were getting ready for a last-ditch effort . . . and they just went ahead and passed it, like they should have.”
And it wasn’t as if this was done without their being aware. As reported by Food Safety News, the Senate action came as a surprise – particularly because no Republican objected to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's request for his colleagues to pass the food safety bill by unanimous consent.
“No one objected, not even Republican Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn,” the newsletter observed.
Not surprisingly, Harry Reid, D-Nev., was overjoyed.
"Tonight we unanimously passed a measure to improve on our current food safety system by giving the FDA the resources it needs to keep up with advances in food production and marketing, without unduly burdening farmers and food producers," Reid said in a statement.
Let’s stop for a minute to recap. As NewsWithViews.com reported, the Senate passed the controversial Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) in late November, but it ran into a constitutional roadblock in the House when someone noticed it contained a revenue-raising provision – a constitutional “no-no” since revenue-raising provisions must originate in the House. This has been dismissed by the media as a mere technicality or “House rule,” but it’s a constitutional matter of no small import. It basically meant the House could not approve the bill as written.
Had the senators – all of whom swear to uphold the Constitution -- ever bothered to read the document and familiarized themselves with its contents, the problem would not have arisen.
But they didn’t, or hadn’t , and suddenly the bill was in limbo on the House side. What to do? Easy. The bill was simply attached to the Continuing Resolution – approved -- and the combo sent over to the Senate, where the entire package was attached to a humongous appropriations bill.
For reasons not fully explained, but perhaps to move on to the next issue – like the DREAM Act or the START Treaty -- Sen. Harry Reid decided to kill the spending bill, and that took out the Continuing Resolution as well as the Food Safety bill.
So that’s where it’s been. You might say it was comatose. Its opponents relaxed their guard assuming it was dead. A Big Mistake.
OK – Mistakes happen. What isn’t easy to explain is the GOP sell-out, and there’s just no other way to describe it. Where was Sen. Coburn? Sen. Jim DeMint? What was going on there. What deals were cut? What promises were made.
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I hope that Senate Republicans have some answers tomorrow. Meanwhile, I can’t help but wonder why we worked so hard to keep these guys and gals in D.C. and get new ones elected.
Over the past two years media commentators and reporters have wondered about the Tea Partiers' apparent lack of trust in government and why they denounce Republicans as often as they do Democrats.
Sunday’s performance on the Senate floor is your answer.
- Doreen Hannes: S.
510 Hits Constitutional Snag, but Be Wary: Dec. 7, 2010
2 - Jonathan Emord: FDA Hypocrisy: Dec. 6, 2010
3 - Sarah Foster: Whoops -- Food Safety Bill Hits Constitutional Snag: Dec. 2, 2010
4 - Sarah Foster: "Lame-Duck" Harry Reid Flying High With Food Safety Bill: Nov. 30, 2010
5 - Sarah Foster: FDA Food “Safety” Bill Can Be Stopped: Nov. 24, 2010
6 - Sarah Foster: Hey, Tea Partiers -- Where Are You?: Nov. 18, 2010
7 - Sarah Foster: FDA Food “Safety” Bill Poised for Passage: Nov. 16, 2010
8 - Doreen Hannes: Cheese Factory, FDA and Corruption: Nov. 13, 2010
9 - Sarah Foster: House Set to Vote on Fast-Tracked "Food Safety" Bill: July 30, 2009
10 - Sarah Foster: Will Congress Wipe Out Home Gardens, Growers Markets? Mar. 23, 2009
� 2010 Sarah Foster - All Rights Reserved
Sarah Foster is a political researcher and freelance writer in Sacramento, Calif. She holds a B.A. in anthropology from U.C., Berkeley and a M. A in folklore-mythology from U.C.L.A. A regular contributor to NewsWithViews.com, her writings have also appeared in WorldNetDaily, Reason Magazine, Orange County Register, and other libertarian/conservative publications.
Sarah can be reached at: [email protected].