Senate Votes to Close Debate on GMO Compromise Bill & Keep You in the DARK
– Vote on Passage As Soon as Tomorrow
July 6, 2016 5:00 pm
After three months of closed door negotiations, Senators Pat Roberts (R) and Debbie Stabenow (D) the Chair and Ranking Minority Member of the Agriculture Committee made public their solution to the GMO Labeling legislation that had failed in March. Sen. Stabenow has repeatedly stated she feels GMOs are safe, but wants Americans to truthful information on the label as requested. She insisted that any bill would have to mandate labeling. Senator Roberts promoted that Congress MUST act to pre-empt state’s rights to develop their own laws (something that is typically contradictory to Republican philosophy) to prevent a ‘patchwork’ of labeling laws across the country that would make it hard for food manufacturers to comply.
It is truly a strange time in Washington when the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation opposes a bill that liberal Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer also oppose, but this GMO Labeling bill is just one occasion; albeit for differing reasons.
The POP Campaign has worked aggressively to get our message out that truth in labeling matters; that the bill as presented is a boon to industry and a bust to consumers. We joined for 9 out of 10 Americans and asked for simple, back of label, all ingredients included, GMO labeling. We gave the detailed analysis and plain language talking points to many legislative staffers for their Senators and got a lot of appreciation.
Minority leader, Senator Harry Reid asked his democrats and republicans to join him in voting no – he urged that the debate on this bill needed to continue, that it should have gone through Committee and that amendments should be allowed.
Senator Stabenow lobbying a handful of her democratic colleagues to side with her, and was successful in getting the 60 votes needed for cloture (suspension of debate). Democratic Senators Feinstein, McCaskill, Manchin, Kaine, Baldwin, Casey, Franken, Heitkamp, Peters, Shaheen and Warner voted with Senator Stabenow while Sen. Sherrod Brown abstained.
Republican Senators Paul, Collins, Sasse, and Independent Senator King joined with Senator Sanders to vote no on cloture.
Senator Merkley took to the Senate floor after the vote to explain problems with the bill – the first of which he explained that the definition of ‘bioengineered food’ will exempt 3 major GMO products in US produced by Monsanto– corn when it becomes high fructose corn syrup, soy beans when it becomes soy bean oil, and sugar beets when it becomes sugar. He also pointed out that there are no enforcement provisions in the Bill and concerns about health and environmental concerns of the ‘weed-killer’ glyphosate that are used at higher levels in GMO crops.
The Cloture Vote began and was interrupted with private citizens protesting in the galley throwing dollars onto the Senate floor in protest to all the money that Monsanto and other agribusiness interests have spread around Washington to achieve their goals and keep consumers in the DARK.
What Is Next: The next step will be a floor vote, as soon as tomorrow night. We need everyone to call their senators and urge a NO vote on passage. Take to social media as well! Sometimes those who vote yes cloture will vote NO on passage. We need to make sure that happens and that this bill does not become law.
Roll Call Vote on Cloture: 65-32.
|Not Voting – 3|
|Brown (D-OH)||Graham (R-SC)||Lee (R-UT)|