High Plain Journal
Things are relatively quiet here in Washington. The Senate is on a two-week recess, but the House is in session. After a wild week for agriculture in the Senate recently, this break from legislating is well deserved.
Recently, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who also serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, brought forth legislation regarding agriculture biotechnology labeling to the Senate floor for a vote. The legislation, which averted the impending disaster that Vermont will have on the entire American food supply chain, was introduced by Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican.
A more conservative version passed the committee on a bipartisan vote. However, the version that was brought to the Senate floor was a more moderate compromise proposal that would allow more Democrats to vote for the legislation. You know, a bipartisan compromise where both sides of the aisle can get some of—but not everything—they want.
A 60-vote threshold was required for the legislation to pass the Senate. However, the yea votes never even reached 50. Even though the legislation may be voted on again, it is unlikely.
The Agriculture Committee’s second-in-command, Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, voted against the bill—as did the majority of her democratic colleagues. Stabenow is vocal about working together with Chairman Roberts, but the Vermont law goes into effect in July, and the time left for negotiating has run out. There are no other options. This was as far left as Republicans could go.
Consequently, food companies and consumers are in a financial world of hurt. If Democrats do not bend, food companies will be forced to label products containing biotech products. The big businesses will survive, because they can adapt. But smaller businesses? They may not be so lucky.
Imagine if you sell a product in five states that have five different labeling requirements. Are you going to have five different labels covering up all the packaging? What about 10 states? You can see where things can get out of control quickly, and they will. Consumers will also be paying higher prices due to labeling at the grocery store.
We are a broad-based coalition representing the entire American agriculture food supply chain – from farm to fork. We are committed to increasing the public’s understanding about the science and safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and advocating for science-based policies that keep food affordable for every American.