Senate passes sweeping food safety bill

Washington Post

 

The Senate on Tuesday approved the biggest overhaul to the nation’s food safety laws since the 1930s. The 73-to-25 vote gives vast new authorities to the Food and Drug Administration, places new responsibilities on farmers and food companies to prevent contamination, and — for the first time – sets safety standards for imported foods, a growing part of the American diet.

The legislation follows a spate of national outbreaks of food poisoning involving products as varied as eggs, peanuts and spinach in which thousands of people were sickened and more than a dozen died.

The measure passed with support from Democrats and Republicans, one of the few pieces of legislation to bridge differences in an otherwise sharply divided body. The House approved a more stringent version of the bill more than a year ago.

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Obama WH gives Congress green light on pork

Hot Air

The President weighed in over the weekend on the controversy over earmarks, using his weekly address to tell Americans that earmarks are “a bad Washington habit,” and that reforming them will “take a step towards restoring public trust.”  Will Barack Obama find the courage to confront his own party’s lame-duck session to stop it from porking up an omnibus spending bill that they have to pass to avoid allowing John Boehner to dictate spending habits for the remainder of FY2011?  Not exactly:

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Nancy Pelosi wants DREAM Act vote

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to push for a vote during the lame-duck session on a bill that would legalize young, undocumented immigrants if they attend college or serve in the military, according to Democratic sources familiar with a leadership conference call Wednesday.

A vote on the bill, known as the DREAM Act, could come as early as next week, the sources said. Pelosi asked Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) to assess the mood of the caucus, according to one source.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had previously announced that he plans to bring up the DREAM Act during the lame duck session. His spokesman said Wednesday that Reid still hopes to call a vote.

The move by Democratic leaders to put immigration back on the legislative calendar will win support from Latinos, whose strong turnout numbers in the West last week were credited with helping the party hold on to control of the Senate. Immigration advocates have pressed Democrats to move on the DREAM Act as a “down-payment” on their promise to push for a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the future.

But Democrats also risk appearing out of sync with voters, who sent a message during the midterm election that they want lawmakers to focus on job creation.

The DREAM Act provides a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants if they were in the United States before age 16, and if they have been residents for five years before enactment of the law. They would need to attend college for two years or join the military.

The bill has attracted Republican support in the past. But partisan lines have hardened in recent years, and Republicans, including some who were co-sponsors at one point, haven’t been willing to go to bat for the bill.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44959.html#ixzz14yuRNn84

Beware the Lame Duck Bearing Gifts

Pajamas Media

The lame-duck session is now a reality, with both the House and Senate set to return November 15 for a one-week session, followed by a one-week break for Thanksgiving, and at least one more week at the beginning of December. It is possible Congress could stay in session throughout December in a replay of last year’s Christmas Eve health care vote.

Harry Reid’s surprise re-election and the Democratic retention of the Senate greatly increase the threat. Reid will now falsely claim a mandate to proceed with a far-left agenda, despite the huge national tidal wave he survived. His retained power along with the last opportunity for a long time to push legislation through the House will combine to create a dangerous environment.

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