December 1, 2010
“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,” writes John Stanton for the newspaper.
Consitutuinal violations are now de rigueur in Congress. On November 30, Infowars.com reported on a comment made by Colorado senator Michael Bennet, who said the process is rigged. “It’s all rigged. The whole conversation is rigged,” said Bennet over an open C-Span mic during debate on the Food Safety Act. “The fact that we don’t get to a discussion before the break about what we’re going to do in the lame duck. It’s just rigged.”
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The Senate passed the bill yesterday and sent it to the House. The House of Representatives approved a different version of the food safety bill in 2009, Prevent Disease reports today, however, the sponsor of the bill, Iowa Democrat senator Tom Harkin, said the House has agreed to adopt the Senate version, bypassing the need for a conference to integrate the two bills.
House Democrats plan to “blue slip” the bill because it violates the Constitution. Section 107 of the bill includes a set of fees that are classified as revenue raisers, which are technically taxes under the Constitution. According 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, Roll Call reports today.
If blue slipped, current lame duck Congress Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may drop the issue and let the next session of Congress start from scratch. On the other hand, Reid could try to force the issue in the Senate after the House passes a new version of the bill, but in order to do that and still tackle the other issues before the Senate, he would need a unanimous consent agreement to limit debate.
GOP Senate aides say a unanimous consent agreement will likely be a nonstarter because the chief opponent to the bill, Oklahoma Republican senator Tom Coburn, will not agree to a deal.
“We understand there is a blue slip problem, and we expect the House to assert its rights under the Constitution to be the place where revenue bills begin,” said a GOP aide.
Passage of the bill would be a major victory for the elite and transnational corporations. It would end United States sovereignty over its own food supply by mandating compliance with the WTO and thus endanger national security. In addition, the bill would allow the government, under Maritime Law, to define the introduction of any food into commerce – including direct food sales between private individuals – as smuggling. It would also impose Codex Alimentarius on the United States. Codex Alimentarius is one of the major bodies behind the effort to limit access to nutritional products and information.