It 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.