(December 16, 2015) This week, the Republican and Democratic leadership agreed on an omnibus spending bill, which must pass in order for the federal government to stay open for another year.
Buried in the thousands of pages are numerous provisions that go beyond the issue of funding the government and into the policies.
There is some good news:
1) The bill does NOT include the Monsanto rider that would prohibit states from labeling genetically engineered foods (a.k.a. the DARK act).
The fight isn’t over. Key Senators have pledged to work on legislation that would overturn state labeling laws when they return in January. The only way this would be acceptable is if the federal government legislation mirrors the state laws that have been passed in Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine, requiring on-package labels that clearly state if a product contains genetically engineered ingredients. Illusory voluntary labeling or QR codes are not a substitute.
2) The bill does include an amendment to require labeling of genetically engineered salmon, so that consumers will be able to make informed choices as to whether or not to buy this GMO animal to eat.
Read more about the DARK Act and GMO salmon here
Now the bad news: Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for beef and pork is being repealed, bowing to the pressure from the World Trade Organization. This decision shows, yet again, how international trade agreements undermine our democracy.
Because these deals were made behind closed doors and Congress didn’t follow the normal appropriations process, your members of Congress will only get a single up or down vote on the entire 2,000-page bill that includes these and many other provision that affect a whole range of issues.
We will need to be ready to hit the ground running in January, on GMOs, trade agreements, and more. Thank you for taking action!