GMO Labeling Bill Vote Set

Senate Sets GMO Labeling Bill Vote for July 6

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent
Consumers would be able to access more information about food ingredients, including whether any were genetically modified, under a proposed Senate food labeling bill. (DTN file photo by Emily Unglesbee)

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- Following approval of a procedural motion Wednesday evening on the genetically modified food labeling bill developed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the Senate leadership has scheduled a vote next Wednesday on ending debate on the bill that day.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., filed cloture on motion to concur in the House amendment to S. 764 (the GMO legislative vehicle) with the Roberts substitute amendment #4935 that strikes and replaces the House amendment. He then filled the amendment tree.

The cloture vote is scheduled for July 6 around 3 p.m., according to the Senate Periodical Gallery. The vote to end debate requires 60 votes for approval.

On Wednesday evening, the Senate voted 68 to 29 to attach the Roberts substitute amendment to the House bill.

The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, the industry group that favors the bill, said in a statement, "This 68-29 vote is a strong demonstration of bipartisan Senate support behind this critical legislation that will provide consumers more information than ever before about their food while protecting America's farmers and small businesses from the harmful effects of a patchwork of state laws. This sets the stage for the Senate to pass this urgently needed legislation when they return next week. Tonight's vote gives us confidence and momentum for Senate passage next week."

Also Wednesday, 107 Nobel laureates called on Greenpeace to stop its campaign against genetically modified Golden Rice and biotechnology in general, and on the governments of the world to reject Greenpeace's campaign.

Meanwhile, the Vermont labeling law will go into effect on Friday, but will not be enforced until January. Vermont retailers say the law is still unclear, the Burlington Free Press reported Thursday.

Opponents of the Roberts-Stabenow bill are warning that it will preempt the Vermont law.

"The Senate should not vote to roll back the popularly enacted Vermont law and replace it with a giveaway to the agriculture industry. The majority of Americans support labeling for GMOs and will hold their elected officials accountable if they vote to strip away transparency about how their food is produced. We urge the Senate to reject this bill," Food and Water Watch said in a news release Thursday.


Jerry Hagstrom