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Organic Consumers Association

Will Those Sneaky GMO Amendments Pass Because Of An Underhanded Maneuver?

***IMPORTANT UPDATE: Late Tuesday, the House pulled their one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill in favor of a stand alone drought assistance package for livestock producers. Read more here...***

Not if we stop them!

As we reported a few weeks ago, these amendments represent a sneaky, behind-closed-doors attempt to make GMO foods immune from court review. Now we have learned of an even sneakier, even more questionable legislative maneuver that might get them passed.

The usual procedure for passing bills in Congress is for the House to pass its version and the Senate to pass its version. The two bills are reconciled by a joint conference committee, and then both chambers pass the final bill.

The Senate has already passed its version of the Farm Bill, the comprehensive omnibus bill that is the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government for the next four or five years. The House version, which includes the sneaky pro-GMO amendments, has run into trouble. We have learned that the House Rules Committee has scheduled a hearing today (Tuesday, July 31) on a one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill-a Continuing Resolution, or CR. If passed in the House (it will very likely fail in the Senate), this will trigger a conference committee.

But here's the dirty trick: the conference committee won't be reconciling the Senate bill with the House's CR. Instead, it will reconcile the Senate bill that passed, with the House bill (including the bad amendments) that was never brought before the full House, much less passed by the House! If this illegitimate procedure is followed, the terrible GMO amendments could get into the final bill. Once this bill is final, it will be too late to strip out the amendments. The bill will pass.    

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