House Dems Say Not so Fast on Food Safety Bill

December 1, 2010

(ChattahBox Political News)–Remember that great food safety bill that sailed through the senate on Tuesday? It was hailed as a much-needed overhaul of our country’s toothless U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And in a bitterly partisan political climate with a dysfunctional Senate unable to overcome constant Republican filibusters of everything, the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act was held up as an example of good bipartisan legislation. Well, not so fast. The Senate Democrats unintentionally inserted a tax provision that rightfully falls within the powers of the House and not the Senate. Now, the House may vote the bill down and re-send a corrected version to the Senate. But there is little time left in the lame-duck session. And Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has vowed to block the bill from a vote by objecting to a unanimous consent agreement. So, it’s time to get reacquainted with E. coli and salmonella poisoning.

When the senate steps on the constitutional toes of the House, Congress blocks the bad bill by a process, called “blue slipping.”

Roll Call writes:

“By pre-empting the House’s tax-writing authority, Senate Democrats appear to have touched off a power struggle with members of their own party in the House. The Senate passed the bill Tuesday, sending it to the House, but House Democrats are expected to use a procedure known as “blue slipping” to block the bill, according to House and Senate GOP aides.” […]

With time running short, it looks like the food safety bill will not make it to the President’s desk until sometime next year.

“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.”

But standing in the way is Sen. Coburn.

And there is the matter of the Senate Republican’s hostage letter issued today, threatening to filibuster every single vote in the Senate, until they get their way on extending tax cuts for the rich.

So, see yah bipartisan Senate legislation, it was good while it lasted.

Photo Source: Wikimedia/bradley j/Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution


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