With their last-ditch lame-duck legislative session winding down, Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives are continuing to push forward with provisions of S. 510, the so-called FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. The $1.4 billion bill would place stricter government standards on imported foods.
Supporters claim the proposed law is critical after widespread outbreaks of E. coli and salmonella in peanuts, eggs and produce.
But the bill's detractors argue it will raise food prices, add to the deficit and burden struggling states with more unfunded mandates. “This bill is a typical Washington response to a perceived crisis," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., warned after the Senate voted. "In every area of government we see diminishing returns when government spends billions without any hope of improved outcomes."
"Millions of Americans are fed up with ‘security theater’ at the Department of Homeland Security and are about to witness an outbreak of ‘food-safety theater’ from the FDA. In the coming months and years consumers will see that more government does not mean safer food,” Coburn said.
After a procedural error forced the Senate-passed bill back to the drawing board, Democrats looked for alternatives to push the measure through the House. The alternative they've reportedly settled on was incorporating provisions of S. 510 into H.R. 3082 -- the must-pass continuing resolution funding bill to keep the federal government operating for another year. The House voted to pass H.R. 3082 Wednesday and the bill will now proceed to the Senate.
Coburn, a consistent Republican opponent to the measure cautioned about the potential of final passage in the Senate:
Next week the Senate will take up the tax bill (to continue present rates) first and then go on to the Continuing Resolution. The minority party has strong reservations about the CR (HR.3082) in part because it provides funding for Obamacare and other additional funding (which means it does more than just merely “continue” Federal programs) and includes added funding for the thousands of new FDA positions that S.510 mandates. Will the GOP stand firm on its pledge not to fund more excess government? Please continue sending messages to your Senators!