Thursday, March 02, 2006

House Delays Vote on HR 4167

Well, it looks like the pressure we're putting on our representatives is having some effect, as the final vote on the "National Uniformity for Food" act has been delayed until next week. From the National Environmental Trust:

The House is set to debate HR 4167 today but the vote on final passage has been postponed until next week. Opponents of the bill think this is because of the number of amendments that have been offered as a result of stepped-up public and press attention.

New: 37 state attorneys general oppose the bill.

New: The Congressional Budget Office estimates that HR 4167 will cost taxpayers more than $100 million, but notes that bill is so vaguely written that its costs and effects are difficult to predict:

"The scope of the state and local regulations that would be affected by the legislation is ambiguous. For example, it is unclear whether certain provisions of the legislation would preempt only state and local requirements dealing with food labeling or whether the preemption would apply more broadly to other food safety requirements. Moreover, it is unclear whether a state or local requirement would be preempted in the absence of a specific federal requirement."
An unclear law? In this Congress? You don't say! This law has brought out some great protest/awareness tactics -- NRDC, for instance, delivered "special, personalized bottles of Pepto Bismol to House members and their staff..." Thanks to Colin at NET and Laura at NRDC for the updates. Colin's correct, I think, in noting that even if this stinker passes the House, the Senate may have a tougher time with it... Don't stop writing though: both NRDC and NET have action alerts available.

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