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Thursday
Sep232010

Senate Still Stuck in Food Safety Stalemate

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For 15 months now, a bill to boost the nation’s food safety has been languishing in the U.S. Senate.  The bill would help prevent massive outbreaks of tainted food by giving the Food & Drug Administration the authority to order mandatory recalls and require more frequent inspections of high-risk food processing plants.  But some, like Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, continue to block its passage.

At a hearing on the egg recall on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged lawmakers to advance the bill with a defined amendment process, saying, “There’s no excuse to wait any longer.  Let’s move this common-sense bill and pass it.”  To do so, Reid needed every lawmaker to agree to his request, including Coburn. But to no one’s surprise, Coburn objected.

“We now have a bill that’s going to cost the American public $1.5 billion over the next five years and it doesn’t fix the real problem – and the real problem is the lack of focus of the agencies to do their job,” Coburn said.

Coburn told Reid he would only agree to move forward with the bill if the $1.5 billion cost was eliminated by offsets written into the bill itself, rather than subjected to specific votes during the amendment process. Coburn also wanted to remove an amendment that would ban the chemical bisphenol A from children’s food and drink containers. Reid said he’d think about it.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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