Unanswered question in bill: Funding

November 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Unanswered question in bill: Funding

November 30, 2010

The food safety bill that passed the U.S. Senate Tuesday is welcome news to food safety advocates and the food industry alike. Now, if they can just find the money to pay for it.

The House’s version of the bill includes a fee on companies to at least partially fund the added inspections and other expenses expected to be created by the new legislation. But the Senate bill has no such fee, leaving funding almost completely up to a Congress increasingly hostile to new spending.

With time running short before Congress goes home, the Senate’s food safety bill seems most likely to land on President Obama’s desk for signing, food safety analysts say. “We could have a bill that’s passed and not funded,” said Michael Doyle, a food safety expert at the University of Georgia and supporter of the legislation.

The House passed the food safety bill in July 2009 and included an annual fee on companies covered by the legislation. That fee would have raised about $250 million over five years, about 18 percent of the $1.4 billion tab over five years for food safety enhancements.

Symptomatic of breakdown and inability to be serious.

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