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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Food Safety Bill may die a painful death

photo.JPGIt is late here in Washington D.C. (also known as an alternative universe).  It snowed all day making getting to meetings with Senate and House Members (and a few reporters) somewhat problematic (except for riding the cool trains between House and Senate offices and the Capitol).  In the last two days I have spent my time on the Hill meeting with Senators, Congress Members and staff (who do all the work) to determine the status of the Food Safety Bill where one version passed the House and another passed the Senate – OVERWHELMINGLY – with Republican and Democratic support.  Yet, however, it is now on the verge of death as I watch the evening news.  Please, stay with me.

As of today, the Food Safety Bill had a chance for signature by the President by the end of the year (I promised to fly back), IF:

1.  The Senate Republicans did not require that the House Ominbus Spending Bill (a.k.a. the 2011 Budget) with the Food Safety Bill attached, to be read in full (about 50 hours); or,

2.  A Continuing Resolution (a.k.a. the CR with the Food Safety Bill attached), an alternative to the Ominibus Spending Bill, is passed between today and Saturday (when the government apparently runs out of cash to continue operating), but this requires getting past Sen. Coburn’s fillibuster threat and a revote in the House; or,

3.  A shorter Continuing Resolution (like for a few months with the Food Safety Bill attached), but again, I assume that this has the same requirement as 2 – possible, but not likely.

Well, now No. 1 is out.  Now it is down to No. 2.  If not 2, than 3.  And if not 3, the Food Safety Bill is toast for a decade.  And, remember, it passed BOTH Houses of Congress already – OVERWHELMINGLY.

This only makes sense in a D.C.’s universe. 

I look forward to heading home to the real Washington in the morning.

  • Ann Quinn

    Mr. Marler, I can’t tell you how sad this possible outcome makes this consumer
    for the immediate future of American food safety and all those families who
    may suffer losses. What is that, even with the updated CDC foodborne illness
    new figures? Some 30,000 (or 50,000) people to die in the next decade from
    unsafe food? Just tragic if it happens.

  • Jeff Almer

    Funny how good ol’ VOFS (Voice Of Fiscal Sanity) Coburn may potentially once again reared his ignorant objections. Yes, I am prejudiced in wanting the bill to pass since my mother was a victim of PCA ,and their CEO Stewart Parnell, who KNOWINGLY shipped contaminated product. Let us examine the level of ignorance of Senator Coburn; who I should point out was once a doctor that cared about people. In his speech on Nov. 18 he declared that “only 10-20 people die a year from food poisoning”. He also claimed that the US “has the best legal system in the world and the peanut butter factory workers ARE going to jail”. Most of us are familiar with the Government statistic of 5000+ deaths count per year until recently changed. Some of us are painfully aware that Stewie boy is still a free man to walk around his 400k mansion in the Lynchburg Virginia woods. Hell, he even consults for other snack food processing companies in NC. The point of my message is that Coburn’s level of ignorance is either unparallelled or he has the most ill-informed staff writing his speeches, or perhaps he just doesn’t care about anything other than the Republican stance. When a US Senator stands up on the floor and speaks on a subject he should know about, there should be some truth sprinkled in there or the Senator should be censured. I live in Minnesota and have no option to vote against this man if he chooses to run again in another 6 years (Lets hope the hell not), but yet this man will take pride in his torpedoing the bill I’m sure. Coburn-God forbid you ever have to look into the eyes of a scared loved one that is slipping away weakly into death from contaminated food, desperateley trying to breath. I am deeply saddened if the political leaders cannot figure out how to pass some significant food safety legislation, because they have FAILED all of us.

  • Ben Mark

    It’s pretty obvious who is the driving force behind Coburn to make the bill fail under any circumstances. Isn’t the meat industry deadly against the food safety bill? Aren’t the big meat plants in his state? I noticed all Senators with meat companies from beef, pork to chicken voted against the food safety bill. What’s their interest? I hope one day investigators will look deeper into the financial site not only what’s published already.

  • JOE

    MAYBE THE BILL COULD BE A NATIONAL EARMARK….THEN THEY COULD SPEND THEIR PORK ON PORK.

  • Jeff Almer

    Have to share this wonderful twitter page with all interested parties http://twitter.com/#!/TomCoburnsBeard
    Now onto shaving the U.S. budgets but not his own face!

  • Sam

    I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of Halliburton. And to the republicans, who rule this land. One nation, living in fear, with liberty and justice for those who can afford it.
    Since we can’t beat them, or join them, our only choice is to serve them. Welcome to the new world order, fellow serfs.

  • Gabrielle Meunier

    My sources tell me it is not over yet. The vote on the CR for the Omnibus will be this weekend. It most likely has to be a yes (or the Gov. doors are shut on Monday). Then yes there will be a vote within 60 days with a new Congress in both the House and the Senate. Lets just keep working it. The large lady has not sung yet. Lets try to get press on this tragedy of events. Anyone still have any large press opportunities left?! E-Coli in Vermont?!! Heavens — can we get the press in on this one and correlate it to the Bill that wants to be?

  • http://www.ferraralawfirm.com Mike Ferrara

    Bill. Thanks for your tireless efforts to make sure our nation’s food supply is safe. Only the most diabolical politicians can try to kill the bill. Or politicians who get campaign contributions from the food industry. If the Tea Party, Libertarians, Independents, and concerned citizens begin to understand the equation we can change Washington. The only equation that is the truth is “Republicans in favor of big business – Democrats in favor of consumers and the little guy”. Unfortunately, Rush, Glenn, Sean have ordinary folks so confused that they really believe that R’s have their best interests at heart. It is so outrageous and so sad.