Citing GOP opposition, Senate Majority Leader Reid said Thursday the chamber is unlikely to consider food safety legislation before it leaves for the midterm elections.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is the lone opponent to a bipartisan bill that would overhaul how the FDA monitors the nation’s food supply.
“We spent a whole Congress on this, and at the last minute, he comes in, and likely we’re not going to be able to get this done before we go home,” said Reid on the Senate floor.
Reid used the example of the food safety bill to lament the backlog of House-passed legislation that is unlikely to get Senate consideration due to Republican opposition, and he urged members to focus on the “person that’s holding this up.”
“We have almost 400 matters that have passed the House of Representatives, and we can’t deal with them because the Republicans say no. That’s not the way to do business. In years past, these things would have gone through really very easily,” Reid said.
Coburn countered by calling for a floor debate on the legislation’s merits.
“If the majority leader wants the bill to advance, he should pay for it,” Coburn said in a statement. “If he doesn’t want to pay for it, he should then bring it to the floor and explain to the American people why he can’t cut a penny of wasteful Washington spending to pay for a bill he says is a matter of life and death.”
Food safety groups expressed dismay at the Senate’s delay and said they will start to discuss strategy on how to proceed with lobbying.
“We’re discouraged by the announcement, and we’ve got to take it seriously,” said Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for United Fresh, a group that represents produce growers.
“We’re going to be looking for ways to get the bill passed, but it looks like it’s going to be hard before they leave,” he added.
A spokeswoman for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said HELP Chairman Tom Harkin would continue to work to pass the bill before the end of the year.
What We're Following See More »
As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."