Another year. Another federal budget deal. And In typical fashion, Congress can’t get its act together.
The latest word from PoliticoPro is that the House on Friday will vote on a short-term funding measure to keep the government open until December 16. After that? More continuing resolutions are possible.
Will the continuing resolutions and/or the final budget deal include a last-minute rider to end the GMO labeling debate for good, by preempting state or federal mandatory labeling laws?
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, promised earlier in the year to work with Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) to pass a Senate version of the DARK Act (H.R 1599) in order to prevent a so-called “patchwork of 50 state laws.” When time ran out for shepherding such a bill through the proper democratic process—including introduction of a Senate bill, hearings, a Senate vote—Stabenow hinted at attaching a rider to the year-end budget bill.
The latest word is that if Stabenow can muster up enough support, GMO labeling law preemption could be attached to the Child Nutrition Act, which would be attached to the budget deal, in order to ram it through Congress. From PoliticoPro:
While Senate Democrats have been vocal in their opposition to the food industry's efforts to add a rider that would preempt state GMO-labeling laws, one source close to the effort said "there is still a pulse" on the possibility of landing a short-term moratorium on state laws in the omnibus. The Grocery Manufacturers Association is pushing an amendment to the omnibus that would stall state labeling laws for two years to buy more time for Congress to pass federal labeling legislation, which would block Vermont's law from going into effect in July, the source said.
Three things to keep in mind while we wait for Congress to stop dithering.
- It’s a huge success to have kept this bill from passing so far, given the deep pockets and relentless pressure from Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
- The battle isn’t over yet. We have to keep up the pressure, keep doing the work that brought us this far.
- No matter what happens next, we have sent the profits of Big Food plunging. Companies like General Mills and Kellogg’s are in trouble. They will eventually either start producing the food consumers want--healthy and organic—or—they will disappear.
Meanwhile, our work is not finished. It will take all of us to win this battle for good.