Two for One - The Bill from Hell

SUBHEAD: A current omnibus bill, HR 3082, would reward Superferry builder Austal and penalize small farmers.
By George Altman on 9 December 2010 for Press-Register -
Image above: House narrowly passes bill letting military deliver GMO corn chips via Hawaiian Superferry. Mashup by Juan Wilson.
[Editor's note - Same omnibus bill in the U.S. House included new authorization for the LCS to finally benefit Superferry maker Austal-USA & House approval of S. 510 to be sent back to the Senate for another vote.]
By a razor-thin margin, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget bill Wednesday night that approves a Navy plan to bring an estimated $5 billion contract to a Mobile shipyard. But the Navy’s Dec. 14 deadline for Congress to endorse changes to littoral combat ship, or LCS, contracts still looms, as the bill must be approved by the Senate and signed by the president to take effect.
The budget measure passed very close votes without the support of a single Republican, and Rep. Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, was the only member of the Alabama delegation to vote for it. Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile, said in a statement that he voted against the bill because it also contained "misplaced spending" and an expansion of federal food industry oversight. Bonner added that he thinks the LCS approval can pass Congress via another bill before the clock runs out. Congress previously authorized a winner-take-all competition to build LCS ships. But in November, the Navy said the contracts should be split between two builders: Austal USA, which would build in Mobile, and a team led by Lockheed Martin Corp., which would build in Wisconsin. Each group would manufacture 10 ships under the new plan, and Austal estimates that it would double the company’s 1,800-person Mobile workforce. As the House considered the budget bill approving the change on Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office gave a mixed review of the Navy’s new LCS plan, while noting a few advantages. Both the existing and new approaches face design and construction risks, according to the report, but buying from two different sources could reduce the potential for problems. "Much work and demonstration remains for LCS, and other shipbuilding programs have had difficulty at this stage," the report said. "On the other hand, a second ship design and source provided under the dual-award strategy could provide the Navy an additional hedge against risk, should one design prove problematic." If Congress fails to approve the new strategy by Dec. 14, the Navy may have to return to the winner-take-all approach. The final House vote on the budget bill, called a continuing resolution or CR, passed by just six votes: 212-206. An earlier procedural vote on the bill came down to a single vote: 207-206. While no Republicans supported the bill in either vote, about three dozen Democrats joined the Republican opposition both times. The bill would continue funding for government agencies largely at current levels until September, with changes to the funding of some agencies. It also would expand the regulatory powers of the Food and Drug Administration. "As a co-sponsor of legislation authorizing the Navy to purchase 20 LCS ships, I believe the LCS dual-buy can be passed this Congress without our having to compromise on a CR that breaks faith with the public’s desire for responsible spending," Bonner said in a written statement. He also called the FDA provisions an "unwarranted government intrusion in the food industry which will drive up food costs without assurances of improved safety."
S-510 Action Alert SUBHEAD: S-510 is now HR 3082. Tell your Senators to Vote "NO" on Cloture and oppose FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. By Staff on 9 December 2010 for Farm to Consumer LDF - ( Send FAX through petition to Reject S.510 now H.R. 3082 By a 212-206 vote on December 8, the House passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (formerly S.510) as an amendment to >H.R. 3082 (the "Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011" to fund the government through September 2011). A food safety act should not be part of a spending bill.

House Democrats attached what was S.510 (as passed by the Senate on November 30) to H.R. 3082 because they were worried about Republican opposition to it as a stand alone bill. The next step for H.R. 3082 is to go to the Senate for a vote.

As this is the Senate, the first vote on H.R. 3082 will be on a cloture motion to limit debate before there is a vote on the bill itself.

TAKE ACTION People need to contact their Senators now to tell them to Vote "NO" on Cloture for H.R. 3082 and Oppose the "FDA Food Safety Modernization Act" (Division D of H.R. 3082). STEP 1 - Send a live fax message to your Senators through the online petition at even if you've already used the petition this week. STEP 2 - Call your Senators and be sure to give your zip code. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121; ask to be connected to your Senator's office. OR Go to; enter your zip code on the right side under "Get Involved" and click "Go". Click on your Senators' names then click the "Contact" tab to get office phone number(s). If you get voicemail, leave a brief message with your zip code. If the line is busy, keep calling until you get through.TALKING POINTS The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is fundamentally flawed and is not in the best interest of small farmers, especially those who produce raw milk. 1. FDA does not respect individuals' rights to obtain healthy, quality foods of their choice. The agency has stated, as a matter of public record, that:

"There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food."
"Plaintiffs' assertion of a 'fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families' is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish."
FDA has even participated in armed raids on small-scale co-ops and membership organizations. This agency should not be given any additional power. 2. FDA has adequate powers under existing law to ensure food safety and effectively deal with foodborne illness outbreaks. FDA has power to inspect, power to detain product and can readily obtain court orders to seize adulterated or misbranded food products or enjoin them from being sold. The problem isn't that FDA needs more power; it's that FDA does not effectively use the power it currently has. The agency has power to inspect imported food yet inspects only 1% of food coming into this country from outside our borders. 3. S.510 does nothing to address many significant food safety problems in this country, such as those resulting from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and various contaminants (e.g., BPA, pesticides, herbicides, etc.). 4. FDA has used its existing power to benefit the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries at the expense of public health (e.g., allowing the overuse of antibiotics in confined animal feeding operations and refusing to require labeling for genetically-modified foods). This bill does not address the fundamental problems at this agency in order to truly protect public health. 5. S.510 will expand FDA's involvement in regulating food in intra-state commerce, further interfering with local communities. State and local governments are more than capable of handling any problems related to food in intrastate commerce. All the major outbreaks of foodborne illness involve either imported food or food in inter-state commerce. 6. S.510 will hurt our ability as a nation to be self-sufficient in food production because it has more lenient inspection requirements for foreign than domestic producers creating an unfair advantage for food imports. Giving an advantage to foreign producers will only increase the amount of food imported into this country that does not meet our domestic standards. S.510 does not address food security--the ability of a country to produce enough food to meet its own needs. See also: Ea O Ka Aina: S-510 Stalled Out 12/2/10 .

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Fire, Fire, Fire!

Post a Comment