Consideration of the GMO Labeling Bill Compromise Expected This Week as House Rules Committee Sends House Resolution 822 to Full HouseWed, 13 Jul 2016 02:02:38 CDT
The House Rules Committee has approved House Resolution 822, which will allow for consideration of the Pat Roberts- Debbie Stabenow GMO Labeling Bill Compromise on the House Floor before the House adjourns for the summer. In Tuesday afternoon action, the Committee set a closed rule, allowing no amendments to be considered on the floor of the House. They rejected an amendment by Congressman Polis of Colorado that would have prohibited the use of QR codes as a way to disclose information about GMO ingredients in a food product.
The Rules Committee approved the following for the resolution:
1. Provides for the consideration of the Senate amendment to the House amendment to S. 764.
2. Makes in order a motion offered by the chair of the Committee on Agriculture or his designee that the House concur in the Senate amendment to the House Amendment to S. 764.
3. Waives all points of order against consideration of the motion.
4. Provides that the Senate amendment and the motion shall be considered as read.
5. Provides one hour of debate on the motion equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Agriculture.
The final consideration could play out on the floor of the House on Thursday or Friday.
The Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Mike Conaway of Texas, has announced his intention to support the bill on the House floor, despite his concerns about the bill being "riddled with ambiguity." Click here to read his full statement regarding his decision to support final passage of this Senate proposal.
Over 1,100 groups have signed onto a letter sent by the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food. “It is vitally important for the House to call up and pass S. 764, the Senate-passed legislation on biotech disclosure, in order to avoid the economic costs of a patchwork of state laws that will directly impact consumers, farmers, and the entire food value chain,” says the letter to House GOP and Democratic leaders.
Click here to read that letter of support and a complete listing of the groups and companies that signed onto the letter.
Opponents are not giving up. Critics say the bill is a big loss for consumers. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) released a statement that said “…instead of rejecting a misguided effort to limit the public’s right to know, the Senate approved a measure that is fundamentally anti-consumer.” (Connecticut has a GMO labeling law that would have gone into effect when nearby states passed their own GMO labeling laws.) A spokesperson for the senator said that the GMO labeling measure could have been improved, but amendments like the one the senator filed to preserve state laws like Connecticut's were not allowed into consideration.
“Consumers want on-package labeling and we are already seeing foods and drinks with labels clearly marked ‘produced with genetic engineering’ in supermarkets, not just in Vermont, but across the country with no increase in prices and no confusion,” says Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports. “This bill is deeply flawed and contains language that the Food and Drug Administration says could leave most GMO products exempt from any labeling requirements at all.” Click here for the latest news release from the Consumers Union on their opposition to the Labeling proposal. (Photo above from the Consumers Union website)
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