Thanks to Senator Reid for continuing to try to bring the Food Safety Modernization Act (S 510) to the Senate floor for a vote. Yesterday, he filed "cloture" on the bill. I confess to googling the term to get a better idea of the procedure that Reid’s action will invoke. Wikipedia says:
In parliamentary procedure, cloture (pronounced /ˈkloʊtʃər/ KLOH-chər) is a motion or process aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. It is also called closure or, informally, a guillotine. The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for "ending" or "conclusion". It was introduced into the Parliament of the United Kingdom by William Ewart Gladstone to overcome the obstruction of the Irish nationalist party and was made permanent in 1887. It was subsequently adopted by the United States Senate and other legislatures.
In any event, the hope is that Reid can circumvent Senator Coburn’s objections to the food safety bill and bring it to the floor for a vote, where it will almost certainly pass with bipartisan support. Helena Bottemiller at Food Safety News reported last night as follows:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed cloture on the food safety bill late yesterday, a move that will ready the measure for a vote after the midterm election, an aide told Food Safety News.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act has stalled in recent weeks despite heightened concerns about food safety following a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella linked to eggs. The bill, which has had bipartisan support, would, among other things, give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration greater authority to test food, enhance its ability to trace outbreaks and empower it to order recalls of contaminated food.
Now the languishing measure may be one of the first bills up for consideration in November when Congress reconvenes after the election, although it will compete with a variety of high profile issues, including a defense authorization bill and whether to extend the Bush tax cuts.
Majority leadership tried twice last week asked for unanimous consent to bring the bill to the floor for consideration. Both times Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) objected, citing the bill’s price tag and a number of other concerns.
Filing cloture begins the process of moving the bill to the floor under restricted debate, removing the possibility of a filibuster and circumventing Coburn’s objection to bringing the bill to the floor. The procedure requires 60 votes.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) recently told reporters he believes he has over 90 votes for the bill. It is likely that the amendments allowed to be offered will remain the same.