Great News! We have successfully blocked the Roberts Bill/DARK Act in the Senate on 16 March. This doesn’t mean its over, but this was an important victory. Both Washington Senators, Murray and Cantwell supported our cause by voting NAY! U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote
Details below from OTA’s General Counsel Marni Karlin. Our calls and efforts were successful. Thank you all!
From: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 9:34 AM
Subject: [usgovernmentaffairs] Senate declines to move Roberts GMO labeling bill to a vote on the merits
To: US Government Affairs <email@example.com>
Today, the Senate did not reach cloture on Chairman Pat Roberts’ GMO labeling bill – a bill that would create inconsistencies with the USDA certified organic seal, and does not meet the requirements for meaningful disclosure that would be necessary to preempt the states. Sixty votes are needed to attain cloture, and the bill received only 48 votes. 49 Senators opposed cloture; and 3 Senators were not present. This means Chairman Roberts’ bill will not proceed to a vote on the merits.
In debate on the floor of the Senate, Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow noted the importance of meaningfully responding to consumer demands for choice in their foods, and her desire to pass a bill that does not infringe on that choice in areas such as organic. She noted that organic is a bright light in American agriculture, and one of the fastest growing sectors of American agriculture. Ranking Member Stabenow also indicated her desire to continue to work with Chairman Roberts toward a meaningful solution.
Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) also spoke against cloture on the Roberts bill.
Procedurally, this means that Chairman Roberts’ bill does not have the requisite number of votes to proceed to a vote on the merits – and discussions are likely to continue to work toward a meaningful bipartisan solution. The Senate remains in session for the rest of this week, and then goes on its Easter recess until April 4.
OTA has advocated for and continues to advocate for a federal mandatory GMO labeling solution that ensures consistency with the organic laws and regulations. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.
Vice President of Government Affairs / General Counsel
Organic Trade Association (OTA) | www.ota.com
Direct: (202) 403-8511