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Friday, December 17, 2010

S510 Update: Dead for Now

           The Senate was taking up the House Omnibus Spending bill for 2011 (H.R.3082); but because the Republicans were insisting that the Senate clerks read the entire 1,924-page, $1.4 trillion spending bill paragraph by paragraph – which would have taken 50 hours to read out loud – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has just decided late today to yank the bill (including S.510 within it).  In its place, the Senate may actually adopt Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) idea of passing a one-page spending bill as a temporary, two-month stop-gap.
           However, it is too early to celebrate, so keep the pressure on to make sure that S.510, the so-called Food Safety bill, is not included in any substitute spending bill.  The Congressional leadership is working on a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the Federal government at this year's level.  However, even though S.510 is also dead as amendment to the Omnibus bill, it is not yet known whether it will be added to the to-be-completed CR.
           Keep in mind that this will have to be passed by the House of Representatives as well.  So, process wise, it could well be a round of "ping-pong" with the CR.  The clock is ticking as this “lame duck” session comes to an end and still has many matters yet to deal with.
           So, while we know that S.510 has been withdrawn along with the Omnibus bill, it is not clear if it is completely dead.  Our NHF lobbyist’s instinct says that it is dead for this Congress.  Let’s hope he is correct.
           Stay alert and stay tuned to new developments.  S.510 may yet stay dead in its fresh grave, a death it fully deserves.

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