Confusion and concerns with Food Safety Enhancement Act
No committee report, three different bill versions presented, last minute closed-door negotiations … complete mayhem. Congress had no idea what they were voting on! The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 (FSEA) did not pass the House this afternoon. FSEA was scheduled on the House Suspension Calendar for a vote today, which meant no amendments could be offered and limited debate (40 minutes to be exact!).
But this process requires a two-thirds majority vote, and fortunately 150 members of Congress said ‘Stop!’ (The actual vote was 280 to 150.) Complete confusion assisted in the defeat of FSEA. We still do not have the committee report.
However, there is a strong likelihood that the bill will be taken up tomorrow. This would happen if the Rules Committee permits another vote—which we see as a complete abuse of power. If this happens, the bill could be brought to the House floor under a closed rule that prohibits amendments and only requires a majority vote something highly unusual for this type of legislation. We are unsure of what the Rules Committee will do or allow.
We need you to continue with your efforts—call your representative AGAIN to voice your opposition over this bill and to attempts to bring it to the floor under a process that prohibits amendments.
Our concerns remain:
1) the unprecedented and sweeping authority granted to FDA—access to records without cause, the authority to regulate farming practices, and ability to impose substantial criminal and civil fines without a showing of harm;
2) the lack of protection for small, organic and diversified farms—regulations created for large industrial facilities will financially ruin smaller operations;
3) a flat $500 annual registration fee whether making jam in your kitchen to sell within your community or if General Mills selling worldwide.