Despite support from food-industry allies such as Rep Jim Costa, (D-Calif.), and Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 failed to reach the supermajority needed for passage in the House of Representatives earlier today.
The yeas were 280 and the nays were 150, but the two-thirds supermajority (287) was not reached to pass the bill under a suspension of the rules that limited debate to 40 minutes.
Opposition from the American Farm Bureau Federation and other agriculture organizations that were wary of Food and Drug Administration encroachment may have cost the bill some votes, though House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson, (D-Minn.), worked with House Energy and Commerce leaders to smooth over worries that the FDA would seek to regulate grain and livestock producers.
While the bill drew some opposition from Republicans in House debate, members of both parties praised the bill as a bipartisan product.
Putnam praised the effort of Costa in helping to put together a bill that brings together America’s farmers, ranchers and consumers. However, Putnam said a number of features of the bill — particularly language relating to the FDA’s power to quarantine food and mandate traceability — need further work.
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, said that he objected to the fact the House Agriculture Committee was not involved in putting together the bill and stated his opposition to it.