Despite a groundswell of grassroots activism opposed to it, hundreds of non-profit organizations launching awareness and push-back campaigns to stop it, and hundreds of thousands of phone calls and letters submitted to Congress all with a clear, unequivocal voice, the widely unpopular and wholly unnecessary Food Safety Modernization Act was sneaked through the House Wednesday evening, hitching a ride on an appropriations bill.
According to Yahoo news:
“The House passed the bill Wednesday evening by a 212-206 vote. It would cap the annual operating budgets of federal agencies at the $1.2 trillion approved for the recently finished budget year — a $46 billion cut of more than 3 percent from President Barack Obama’s request. It includes $159 billion to prosecute the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq next year and deals a blow to Obama’s efforts to close the Navy-run prison for terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”
So why was a food safety measure appended to such a starkly unrelated bill? Well, as the old adage goes, “if you can’t beat ’em, trick ’em.” That’s Congress’ interpretation of the saying, anyways. There was no better way for the lame duck Congress to save face and fly this corporate-friendly legislation in under the radar.
The Food Safety bill passed the House last year and was awaiting Senate approval. That moment came last week in a 73-25 vote. But, S. 510 was voided because it contained taxing provisions that were required, under the Constitution, to have originated in the House.
You’d have to go back to December 1913 to see such a successful bait and switch by corporatist lawmakers. Then, the Federal Reserve Act was crammed down America’s throat by a questionable quorum because most Congressman (who’d already voiced their opposition to the central banking scheme) had gone home for Christmas.
Though you can bet the bill won’t survive the Senate in whole form, no matter the wrangling over dollar signs and earmarks, the incomprehensibly bad food policy will remain untouched.