Dems Hit Rehberg Over Food Safety Vote

Aaron Flint posted on December 22, 2010 08:15 :: 1080 Views

The Montana Democratic Party criticized Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) for voting against a “food safety” bill in the US House. 

The food safety bill also contained an amendment by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) that would exempt a small number of farmers who sell direct to consumers. 

Montana Democratic Party Chairman spokesman Mike Wessler had this:

“Thanks to Senator Tester, this bill makes America’s food safer while protecting Montana jobs, and it’ll be interesting to hear Congressman Rehberg’s excuse for once again voting against Montana. This measure passed with bipartisan support. It’s too bad Congressman Rehberg is still taking order from his party bosses in Washington D.C. rather than standing up for Montanans and Montana jobs.”

Interestingly enough, the Tester amendment reference by Wessler actually exempted some folks from the regulations, arguably weakening the overarching food safety bill, a move that prompted some organizations like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to drop their support for the legislation.  They argued that regulations that would apply to the vast majority of farmers and ranchers should apply to everyone. 

In a response to the MDP’s statement, Rehberg withheld criticism of the Tester amendment, but focused his attack squarely on the spending included in the food safety bill.

REHBERG: “Montanans want less federal government in their lives, not more.  Politicians will always be able to find reasons that justify a little more government in our daily lives, but every expansion costs us a little more liberty.  This legislation bloats the Food and Drug Administration by 17,800 employees at a minimum cost of an additional $1.4 billion.  And for all that, consumers will end up paying higher prices for the food that they feed their families.”

UPDATE:  The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association sent out this release just before 9 AM MST Wed. morning.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Executive Director of Legislative Affairs Kristina Butts issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. The legislation has been passed by the House and Senate, and President Obama is expected to sign it into law soon.

“We are extremely disappointed the House passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Food safety knows no size, and exempting some small producers and processors from the legislation, as the Tester/Hagan amendment will do, sets a dangerous precedent for the future our nation’s food safety system. Instead of including the Tester/Hagan language, Congress should have passed legislation to set appropriate standards for all products in the marketplace, no matter the size of the producing entity. Going forward, NCBA will continue supporting improvements to our nation’s food safety system that are based on sound science, focused on industry application and have a strong research foundation.”

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