WASHINGTON – It didn’t take long for Democrats in the House to figure a way around the constitutional roadblock that halted the advance of S. 510: The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, following its approval by the Senate last week.
When proponents found the measure couldn’t move forward in the House, they quietly attached it as an amendment to the $1.1 trillion continuing resolution (CR), H.R. 3082: “The Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011” – a measure designed to fund the government through September, that was headed to the floor for a vote.
Folding S. 510 into H.R. 3082 added some 238 pages to the appropriations measure, which now has 423.
GOP members protested using the continuing resolution as a piggyback ride for S. 510. House Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), the incoming Agriculture Committee chairman, slammed the Democrats for resorting to legislative tricks to pass what has become a bitterly contentious measure.
“This is the sort of nonsense that Americans rejected just a few weeks ago,” Lucas exclaimed during the debate.
Nonetheless, on Wednesday evening the House approved the package (the CR with S. 510 and several other tax-spending bills attached), along a largely party-line vote of 212-206 -- with not a single Republican vote cast in favor. Moreover, 35 Democrats joined their GOP colleagues in casting No votes. Eight Democrats and eight Republicans are listed as not voting. Click here for the roll-call.
In addition to the CR/S.510 combo (now H.R. 3082), the Democrats rammed through House Resolution 1752, the “’Martial Law’ / Same Day Authority Rule,” a measure that allows suspension of House rules to bring up bills with virtually no notice through Dec. 18. The vote was 215-194, with no Republican support, 27 Democrats voting no and eight Democrats and eight Republicans not voting. Click here for the roll-call.
In a first-hand account Lee Bechtel, lobbyist for the National Health Federation which has fought the food-safety bill from its inception, described the “shenanigans” and “legislative sausage-making” (his terms) that he observed Wednesday on the part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her minions.
“Make no mistake, Speaker Pelosi and her Democratic lieutenants used all of the legislative tools at their disposal to short-circuit the normal legislative process so as to pass the misnamed Food Safety bill,” he declares.
According to Bechtel:
“Prior to debate under a closed rule, the rule to approve S.510 as an amendment [to the CR] and hold a final vote was adopted by a vote of 207 For and 206 Against, with Pelosi herself casting the deciding vote. The Democrats held the vote open just until they could get their one-vote victory, and then immediately gaveled the vote closed with ten Republicans not being able to vote! And who was it who said that party was misnamed? Who reading this can ever think the Democratic leadership represents democracy?” Click here for the roll-call.
The lack of support by Republicans was not simply because of the addition of S. 510 and the way it was pushed through the meat grinder, though those were factors. H.R. 3082 is a makeshift appropriations measure, hurriedly put together because the Democratic Appropriations Committee had not approved a budget for any of the federal agencies. It will fund the first steps towards implementation of ObamaCare, including setting up the bureaucracy. The same applies to S. 510, provided it survives the Senate.
Republicans favor a shorter-term continuing resolution that would apply only through February, but the Democrats in control would not permit a vote on that matter. They are determined to continue their control over Congress, despite the mid-term elections, and this is one way to do it. If they can salvage S. 510 at the same time so much the better.
The food-safety bill passed the Senate last week 73-25, but was stopped when the House discovered that the legislation contained a revenue-generating provision (Section 107), a clear violation of Article 1, Section 7 – the “Origination Clause” of the U.S. Constitution. The brief sentence gives such authority solely to the Lower Chamber, stating “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”
A stronger version of the bill passed the House in July 2009 by a vote of 283-142, but with the House scheduled to adjourn Dec. 17, Democrats decided to pass the Senate version “as is,” without sending it to conference. The discovery of a revenue-raising provision in S. 510 put the kibosh on their plans for a few days.
The theory behind the “shenanigans” is that passing S. 510 as part of a revenue bill removed the constitutional impediments, making it possible to claim that S. 510 originated in and was passed by the House. It’s up to the Senate what to do about it. But the question is: Should (or can) a food-safety bill become law when passed as part of a temporary appropriations measure?
The “SS of Food Fascism”
As its title indicates S. 510 grants vast new regulatory and law enforcement powers to the Food and Drug Administration, in the most expansive overhauling and empowering of the agency in 70 years. FDA regulators are expected to impose a tsunami of regulations and rules on food-producers driving many out of business. Its scope includes small farming operations.
Mike Adams, the “Food Ranger” at NaturalNews.com, writes: “If you think the FDA is bad now, just wait until they are granted yet more powers (and funding) to unleash an army of thousands of new agents who sweep across America, raiding small family farms (no, they're not all exempted from this bill) and imprisoning raw milk producers.”
”The FDA is about to become the SS of food fascism,” Adams predicts. “This is not an exaggeration. Who would have thought, five years ago, that the TSA would be reaching down your pants and feeling your genitals? Just imagine now what the FDA will do with similar powers over your food and farms. Crudely put, the TSA may be feeling your junk, but the FDA will have us all by the balls.”
UPDATE from Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund:
Vote NO on Cloture: As the bill is now in the Senate, the first vote on H.R. 3082 will be on a cloture motion to limit debate before there is a vote on the bill itself. FRCLDF urges people to contact their Senators now “to tell them to Vote ‘NO’ on Cloture for H.R. 3082 and Oppose the ‘FDA Food Safety Modernization Act’ (Division D of H.R. 3082.).”
For more information from FTCLDF and to take action against H.R. 3082: Click Here.
Capital Switchboard: 202-224-3121. Senators and Representatives can be reached quicker through calling their offices direct. For phone and fax numbers and email addresses, check at house.gov or senate.gov.
NOTE: See Dr. Laurie Roth’s article, Global Elites Push to Starve the World and Control the Food, posted in this issue of NewsWithViews.
1 - 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
1 – S. 510: The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act
2 – H.R. 3082: The Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011: 423 pages. S. 510 is Division D, Food Safety, page 185 to end.
3 – Summary: Year-Long Funding Act for FY 2011: 10 pages. S 510 is cited on pages 2 and 10.
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