John Dingell came up six or seven votes short today, and failed to get food safety reform legislation passed through Congress.

Dingell, the once powerful Michigan Democrat who lost his chairmanship of the Energy & Commerce Committee before the start of the 111th Congress, fell just short of getting the necessary two-thirds majority vote to suspend the rules and adopt H.R. 2749 as amended.

The House voted 280 in favor and 150 against suspending the rules and passing H.R. 2749. Twenty-three Democrats voted with 127 Republicans to deny Dingell the two-thirds majority vote required under the rules.   Fifty Republicans voted for the bill that Dingell had carefully crafted with help with Texas GOP Rep. Joe Barton.

While the proponents of the food safety legislation dominated the floor debate that stretched into a second hour,  House Minority Leader John Boehner, R- Ohio, compared the late number of rewrites of the food safety legislation filed with the House Clerk as repeating the bad behavior on the part of the Majority that was used to get the stimulus bill passed.  "Did anyone read this bill?" Boehner asked.

"What our Minority Leader said is true," Barton said, " but it is not, as Paul Harvey use to say, the rest of the story. Those different bills have been introduced as a result of changes I’ve asked for."

Barton seemed to be pleading with his Republican colleagues by saying : "In this bill, in this case…we have had an open bipartisan process."

House Agriculture Committee members acknowledged Dingell had consulted them and make changes in the bill, such as exempting feed grains and livestock; but they complained it was outside the regular process.

  • Matt

    Thank goodness. My understanding is that this bill would have required the smallest of food sales operations, i.e., the pears my neighbor sells for a quarter a piece on his driveway, to a $500 annual fee and inspections. I mean please, I’m all for food safety bot we need to do it in a way that does not work to the extreme detriment of the small local opeartion.

  • P. Jones

    According to the Des Moines Register, it appears that there will be another vote tomorrow (Thursday), this time under rules for simple-majority approval.
    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20090729/BUSINESS/90729029/1029
    Roll Call vote:
    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll657.xml

  • john sanders

    Please read the bill, direct farm sales are exempt.
    ‘‘(A) DIRECT SALES BY FARMS.—Food is exempt from the requirements of this subsection if such food is—
    ‘‘(i) produced on a farm or fishery (in
    cluding an oyster bed, a wild fishery, an aquaculture facility, a fresh water fishery,
    and a saltwater fishery); and
    ‘‘(ii) sold by the owner, operator, or
    agent in charge of such farm or fishery directly to a consumer or to a restaurant or grocery store.
    You can find the bill at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/C?c111:./temp/~c1114qeU6J
    Please read the bill before you protest it or comment about it. I seen many blogs about the bill that are not true. Mr. Marler provides you an opportunity to know about these issues, please take the time to read his posts and follow up. Mr. Marler provide the best information on food safety that I have seen on the web.