Friday, August 27, 2010

Food Safety Bill Update

As you are probably aware, the recent coverage of the salmonella outbreak in eggs has raised the prominence of the pending FDA food safety bill (S. 510).  Two weeks ago, Sen. Harkin’s staff released a manager’s package, negotiated on a bipartisan basis, as a precursor to floor action.

While the manager’s package was negotiated on a bipartisan basis, there is not yet a time agreement or unanimous consent to bring the bill to the floor in September.  Those discussions will not take place until Members return from recess.  In addition, as previous news reports have discussed, there are outstanding issues on the Democratic side that need to be resolved – most notably Sen. Feinstein’s proposed ban on bisphenol-A (BPA), and Sen. Tester’s proposed amendment exempting small farmers from the bill’s requirements – prior to any time agreement being reached.  Recall also that, per Sen. Reid’s actions three weeks ago, the first order of business when we return will be the small business bill (H.R. 5297), with cloture votes on several amendments and the bill itself scheduled for the morning of Tuesday, September 14.