Revisiting S510- The Food Safety Bill
Our government is operating way out of bounds concerning The Food Safety Bill and its passage. In December of 2010, I witnessed Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) explaining The Food safety Bill on C-Span 2. Mr Durbin had a huge chart with him that showed that the next ten years of implementing the Food safety Bill, (as it was known then) would not increase the national Debt. He had it laid out with all zeroes under the cost section of each year.
How can creating thousands of additional government positions along with the equipment to operate costs the taxpayer zero dollars? Then it hit me. It will be paid for by new higher food taxes and/or prices passed down to the consumer! So at it’s roots, The Food Safety Bill is another stealth tax that our Congress failed once again to inform the citizens about. (Unless you think the thousands of people who will have to be hired to enforce this plan will work for free?) Meanwhile, decent Americans were caught up in the argument that this bill would make their home gardens illegal and other propaganda to distract them.
I also found myself wondering why this bill was being rammed through during the Lame Duck session of Congress in late December. Yes, it did have prior limited debate in both houses of congress.. Yet true to the Democratic party’s method of operation during the last two years, the final process was rushed and fraught with partisanship. Then it was passed illegally in the Senate, due to Article 1 section 7 of the US Constitution, which states the following: “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives”; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills. Section 107 of the Food Safety Bill is titled: Authority to collect fees. (making S510 null and void) So many Americans applauded this as meaning the Bill was dead on arrival in 2010, and would have to be completely redone. Not with the 111th Congress being controlled by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, (along with Republicans who seemed to forget what being a conservative is supposed to mean) No sir.
Keep in mind here, that the American public was being bombarded with the Tax Cut/Increase debate at the same time. When I wonder why Republicans seemingly let this Food Safety Bill get passed during a recession, I come to the conclusion that the Tax debate had to be relevant. Was there some kind of a deal made? Who, in their right mind would increase the price of food drastically during a recession when unemployment is darn near 10% ? When the Food safety Bill (S510 at the time) was passed contrary to the Constitution, I thought like everyone else did, that it was dead. Then I turn on C-Span during the lame duck session, and there is Dick Durbin and his chart, telling us that this bill will not increase the debt again.
I put in calls to my Senators demanding an explanation. I received exactly zero answers or explanations. Two days later I received my answers in the form of HR 2751, “A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the safety of the food supply”. Say what? From govtrack.us ( accessed on 01/08/2011)**, I just what had happened to the original S510 Food Safety Bill:
“This bill [S. 510] was superseded by H.R. 2751. On Sunday, December 19, the text of S. 510 replaced the original text of H.R. 2751, and the bill passed by voice vote. H.R. 2751, originally the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act, passed the House in June 2009 and was a “vehicle” for the passage of S. 510 in a House-originating bill because S. 510 was a revenue-raising bill. All revenue-raising bills must originate in the House.”
“This bill [S. 510] never became law. This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven’t passed are cleared from the books. Members often reintroduce bills that did not come up for debate under a new number in the next session. “
The following is a short summary of this whole process, again accessed from govtrack.us on 01/08/2011***
Dec 29, 2010: Presented to President.
See the Related Legislation page for other bills related to this one and a list of subject terms that have been applied to this bill. Sometimes the text of one bill or resolution is incorporated into another, and in those cases the original bill or resolution, as it would appear here, would seem to be abandoned.
Jun 9, 2009: This bill passed in the House of Representatives by roll call vote. The vote was held under a suspension of the rules to cut debate short and pass the bill, needing a two-thirds majority. This usually occurs for non-controversial legislation. The totals were 298 Ayes, 119 Nays, 17 Present/Not Voting
Dec 19, 2010: This bill passed in the Senate with changes by Voice Vote. A record of each senator’s position was not kept. (Therefore, NO Senators up for reelection in 2012 can be held accountable for passing higher food prices onto us during a bad economy)
Dec 21, 2010: A vote in the House of Representatives to agree with the other chamber’s changes passed by roll call vote. The totals were 215 Ayes, 144 Nays, 74 Present/Not Voting. ( not doing what we pay them to do)”
In conclusion, we must look at the complete picture here to understand just what has happened and how it was done. First, this bill was titled The Food Safety Act. America has had the safest record in Food safety in the world for over 100 years. To put this into perspective, the fake baby formula episode in China resulted in more deaths, then food poisoning has in America in the last 10 years. So this has nothing to do with actual food safety and everything to do with increasing the size and scope of our government by adding thousands new positions and regulations. There were no “massive epidemics” as some people in our Congress were spewing during debate on it.
Secondly is the “reported costs” to the taxpayer. The CBO has hedged on producing a firm estimate, yet once again projections have risen from 1.4B to 4.2 B yearly. Those billions are in new tax dollars, by the way, as there wasn’t even an attempt to cut waste, fraud or redundant positions within the incompetent FDA, when passing this bill. Spend, Spend ,Spend.
Last but certainly not least, are the people who were behind this power grab/stealth tax debacle. Over 200 big company lobbyists spent millions pushing this through. Once again the little man is left out and not allowed a voice in this discussion. Small farmers will be driven out of business, and our food prices will rise drastically. There is no solid information that gaurantees our food supply will be made safer, and we will pay higher food prices. This bill should be repealed, and an honest debate be opened up which includes all Americans, not just the ones who will enrich themselves through bribing corrupt politicians through Lobbyist dollars. Enough is enough.
** – http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-510 – S510 Ref.
*** – http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-2751 – HR 2751 Ref.