The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) squeaked by in the House with a 212-206 vote. But that’s enough to get it sent back to the Senate for another try.
The food safety bill passed the Senate before, but was held up by the House because the Senate had included provisions for collecting fees. According to the Constitution, revenue-raising provisions must originate in the House.
A Brief History of the Food Safety Modernization Act
The House had also voted for a food safety bill of their own, which gave the FDA more powers to recall foods and required more frequent inspections than the Senate bill. The House decided to go with the Senate version because the session of Congress is over in a week or two.
The House took the Senate bill back and rewrote some portions so that the provisions to raise revenue came from the House. Now the House has to send the bill back to the Senate, where it will be voted on again.
In order to hurry things along, the House attached S. 510 to another bill, H.R. 3082, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. H.R. 3082 provides spending for Veterans Affairs, mainly for construction and renovation of facilities for training and housing military personnel and also for health services.
What Happens Next?
If the Food Safety Modernization Act passes the Senate this time, it will go to the President. It seems likely that it will pass fairly easily. The food safety bill hasn’t changed much since the Senate passed it before and the Veterans Affairs bill usually goes through with no problem.
Still, you might consider letting your senators know what you think of the bill. You can find your senators here.
Image by Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden, used with Creative Commons license.