Fowarded by Vicki Morrone
In this Week's Weekly Roundup...


Food Safety Update: Final Senate Action Set for Right After Thanksgiving (how ironic!)

Late Wednesday, November 17, a deal was reached on a revised version of the Tester-Hagan small farm amendment to S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act.  The revised amendment, which NSAC helped broker, was then placed into a revised version of the Managerís amendment to the bill.  On Thursday, the Senate approved a motion to proceed to consideration of the bill by a vote of 57-27.

However, action on the food safety bill remains stalled in Senate, in part because Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) want to offer non-germane amendments dealing with a ban on congressional earmarks until 2013 and repeal of a tax-related section of the health care act, respectively. A time agreement was reached by the Senate leadership late Thursday night.  It provides for two more cloture votes to take place on November 29, immediately following the Thanksgiving week congressional recess, one to shut down debate on the Managerís amendment and a second to shut down debate on the bill.

Senate Food Safety Bill Chugs Forward SB 510
On November 17, the Senate voted 74 to 25 to invoke cloture (bring debate to a quick end) on the Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510), bypassing Sen. Tom Coburnís (R-OK) threatened filibuster to bring the bill to the floor for limited debate. The Senate will continue debate on the bill's amendments on Monday, November 29, but the timing of the final vote remains unclear.

The food safety bill may be further slowed down in the politically-charged lame duck session by an amendment banning earmarks, introduced by Senators Coburn (R-OK), McCaskill (D-MT), McCain (R-AZ), and Udall (D-CO); the amendment will have to clear several procedural hurdles before consideration.

Also of interesting news for us Michiganders!

Specialty Crops Champion to Chair Senate Agriculture Committee

Today, November 19, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced that she will be taking the helm of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, following Sen. Kent Conradís (D-ND) decision to remain at the head of the Senate Budget Committee. Senator Stabenow, who represents the second-most diverse agricultural economy in the country Ė behind only California Ė has been a vocal proponent of specialty crops and biofuels.  As chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, she will oversee the development of the next Farm Bill, currently scheduled for reauthorization in 2012.

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