That is not meant as a slam against the Democrats now or when the Republicans took us in year’s past from a surplus to tax breaks for the weathly, medicare drug benefits and two wars.

Screen shot 2010-11-30 at 10.10.13 PM.pngI was having a relaxing evening for a change until I received an email from John Stanton of Roll Call noting that “[a] food safety bill that has burned up precious days of the Senate’s lame-duck session appears headed back to the chamber because Democrats violated a constitutional provision requiring that tax provisions originate in the House. Section 107 of the bill includes a set of fees that are classified as revenue raisers, which are technically taxes under the Constitution.” Section 107 states:

Directs the Secretary to assess and collect fees related to: (1) food facility reinspection; (2) food recalls; (3) the voluntary qualified importer program; and (4) importer reinspection.

Per Mr. Stanton, “[a]ccording to a House GOP leadership aide, that section has ruffled the feathers of Ways and Means Committee Democrats, who are expected to use the “blue slip process” to block completion of the bill.”

However, this possible squabble may well have an elegant, possible solution to funding for food safety legislation. As you might already know, in the House version of its food safety bill, H. R. 2749, lies Sec., 743. FACILITY REGISTRATION FEE.

(b) Fee Amounts-

(1) IN GENERAL- The registration fee under subsection (a) shall be–

(A) for fiscal year 2010, $500;

So, if the House is already charging $500 per year, per facility, why can not the House and Senate in conference agree that the $500 fee, (that S. 510 did not have in the first place) would replace S. 510 Sec. 107?

It is late and I simply do not know the answer.  And, I have not even talked about issues that the House may well have over the Tester/Hagen Amendment which at this point the House needs to leave alone.