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Would Your Congress Member Vote to Wipe Out States’ Rights to Label GMOs?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Millions Against Monsanto page and our Politics and Democracy page.

The Vermont House has passed a state law requiring mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms. Maine just passed a similar law out of the House Agricultural Committee. Washington State’s I-522, a citizens’ initiative to label GMOs, seems certain to pass in November. Almost equally certain, the big junk food manufacturers aren’t likely to spend millions to defeat I-522, as they did last year to defeat California’s GMO labeling initiative, Prop 37.

So what’s Monsanto to do? The buzz around Washington D.C. is that the biotech bully will try to slip a rider or amendment into the 2013 Farm Bill that would preempt or nullify any state GMO labeling law. The first such amendment, the King Amendment, has already been inserted into the House version of the Farm Bill. Surely Congress won't let corporations wipe out our 225-year old right to enact state laws. Right?

Don’t count on it. After all, in March, Congress passed, and Obama signed into law, the “Monsanto Protection Act.” This outrageous rider, tucked into the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, gave Monsanto immunity from federal courts and paved the way for the biotech giant to plant potentially dangerous, illegally approved genetically engineered crops. Given the ease with which the rider sailed through Congress, and the fact that last year, 73 members of Congress opposed an amendment by Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) that would have guaranteed states’ rights to label GMOs, it’s not a stretch to think that Congress might cave to a demand by Monsanto to stomp on states’ rights to label GMOs.

So, we’re launching a petition to preempt any move by Monsanto to slip another preemptive rider into the 2013 Farm Bill. The petition is directed to every member of Congress along with this warning: If you support any amendment or rider in the 2013 Farm Bill that would wipe out states’ rights to label GMOs, prepare to pack your bags. If you live in one of the 11 states that allow citizens to recall their federal elected officials, we’ll start collecting signatures for your recall. If not, we’ll launch a massive campaign to support your next opponent.

To be on the safe side, we’re asking all consumers to sign the petition, which will go to each consumer’s respective member of Congress. But for background on how likely your Congress member is to vote for Monsanto, and against you, we’ve provided lists of the Senators who voted for or against the Sanders amendment, and a list of Congress members who recently supported the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, bipartisan piece of legislation introduced on April 24, 2013, by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clearly label GE foods.

The Good Guys: Supported the Sanders Amendment in 2012 to uphold states’ rights to label GMOS

Sen. *Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Sen. *Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Sen. *John Kerry (D-MA)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Sen. *Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)
Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT)
Sen. John Tester (D-MT)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

More Good Guys: Opposed the King Amendment which would wipe out states' rights to label GMOs

Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI)
Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA)
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA)
Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA)
Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN)
Rep. Kurt Schrader(D-OR)
Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA)

The Bad Guys: Opposed the Sanders Amendment in 2012 to uphold states’ rights to label GMOS

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
Sen. *Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)
Sen. *Scott Brown (R-MA)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE)
Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA)
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Sen. Daniel Coats (R-IN)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
Sen. *Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE)
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Sen. *Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)
Sen. *Kay Hutchison (R-TX)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sen. *Herbert Kohl (D-WI)
Sen. *Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI)
Sen. *Richard Lugar (R-IN)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Sen. *Ben Nelson (D-NE)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)
Sen. James Risch (R-ID)
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Sen. *Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Sen. John Thune (D-SD)
Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA)
Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO)
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
Sen. *Jim Webb (D-VA)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

More Bad Guys: Voted against an amendment (failed) by Rep. Denaham (R-CA) that would have protected the estimated 150 state laws that would have been affected by the King Amendment

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL)
Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY)
Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX)
Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR)
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
Rep. Scott Desjarlais (R-TN)
Rep. William Enyart (D-IL)
Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN)
Rep. Pete Gallego (D-TX)
Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH)
Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)
Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH)
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)
Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-MN)
Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI)
Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL)
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA)
Rep. David Scott D-GA)
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO)
Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX)
Rep. Timothy J. Walz (D-MN)
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)

More Good Guys: Sponsored the Boxer-DeFazio Bill to require the FDA to label GE Foods

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
Rep. Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)
Rep. James Moran (D-VA)
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY)
Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA)
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA)
Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI)
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH)

*No longer in Congress

Katherine Paul is Director of Communications and Development at the Organic Consumers Association.