National Issue Update – May 22, 2013

Senate Gets Busy On Genetically Engineered Food

Legislation:  Congressman Peter DeFazio and Senator Barbara boxer introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act (H.R.1699 & S.809) in late April.  There are currently 29 Representatives and 11 Senators co-sponsors.

This week, Senator Stabenow, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee moved S.954, The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 (i.e. the Farm Bill) out of Committee and took  straight to the Senate floor for action  Her strategy is to get the bill pushed in the Senate before other Bills such as the Immigration Bill consume the legislative calendar.

Many Senators are still angry that Senate Amendment 74 to strike Section 735 the Plant Protection Act (the so-called Monsanto Rider) was not adopted in the ‘must pass’ Continuing Resolution legislation earlier this year.  Senator Mikulski, Chair of the Appropriations Committee kept Section 735 of the Continuing Resolution in the Senate Version of HR 933 – the bill that will keep the government funded through September 30th.  This authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to grant companies such as Monsanto and Bayer the ability to have their genetically modified (GMO) seeds planted, even when a judge has blocked the planting where safety has not been proven.

A national survey was conducted during in February and March in which 96.6% of Americans who responded voted to strike Section 735, to preserve the roll of the judiciary and protect our farms and food supply for the planting of seeds that have not been proven safe.

Senators Have Numerous Amendments Pending:   The action on the Farm Bill is very fluid.  There are more than 135 Amendments already offered on the Bill.  Four that need our support are below.

They May Vote This Week:  As stated above, Senator Stabenow is trying to wrap this up this week before they head home for Memorial Weekend.

What Can You Do?

  1. Calls to Senators Stabenow (202) 224-4822) and Senator Cochran (202) 224-5054 and most importantly to your own Senators are vital.

    The Senate Switchboard:  (202) 224-3121

    Message:  You are among the 90+ percent who want mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food and the 96.6% who want Section 735, the Patient Protection Act struck from the law. Furthermore, you support measures to prohibit the sale of genetically altered salmon.  At the very least, you want the following Amendments included in the Farm Bill: SA 978 SA 1025 SA 965 SA 934.

  2. Take the survey below so we can quickly build numbers to share with legislators:
    Click here to take survey

  3. Share this message with your community to get action by as many people as possible this week.

Information on Important Amendments:  Not all Amendments will be voted on so the more support for these Amendments to more likely they are to be included:

SA 978. Mr. MERKLEY (for himself, Mr. TESTER, Mr. BLUMENTHAL, Mr. BEGICH, Mr. HEINRICH, and Mrs. BOXER) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 954, which will strike Section 735, the Plant Protection Act.

SA 1025. Mrs. BOXER (for herself, Ms. MURKOWSKI, Mr. BLUMENTHAL, Mr. BEGICH, Mr. HEINRICH, and Mr. TESTER) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by her to the bill S. 954, with a SENSE OF THE SENATE CONCERNING THE LABELING OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS.”  Sense of the Senate.–It is the sense of the Senate that the United States should join the 64 other countries that have given consumers the right to know if the foods purchased to feed their families have been genetically engineered or contain genetically engineered ingredients.”

SA 1026. Mrs. BOXER submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by her to the bill S. 954, to require a USDA&FDA to prepare a Report to Congress on the methods of labeling genetically engineered food (also referred to as “GMO”) in nations that require such labeling and the probable impacts of having differing State labeling laws in the absence of a Federal labeling standard with respect to genetically engineered food.

SA 965. Mr. SANDERS (for himself and Mr. BEGICH) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 954, CONSUMERS RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD ACT to preserve states rights to require the labeling of foods produced through genetic engineering or derived from organisms that have been genetically engineered.

SA 934. Mr. BEGICH submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 954, PROHIBITION ON SALE OF GENETICALLY ALTERED SALMON.