On November 30, with a vote of 73 to 25, the US Senate passed an amended version of S-510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. The action now moves to the House of Representatives in the final days of the First Session of the 11th Congress. It is possible, but not certain that the House will accept S-510 as passed by the Senate, but there are substantial differences between S-510 as passed by the Senate and the House's HR-2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act.

There is also a major “blue slip” problem in that S-510 contains “revenue raising” provisions that violate the constitutional provisions that all tax measures must originate in the House. Therefore this Bill will likely be “blue slipped” back to the Senate.

Readers are warned not to spend time dissecting the out-of-date versions of S-510 posted on media websites, such as the text posted on the New York Times website on November 30. When the GPO releases the final text of S-510 (in a few more days) it will be posted on our weblog.

Meanwhile our weblog provides (on our September 12 posting) the pre-amendment text of S-510 and the text of HR-2749 as passed by the House.

If a final reconciled version of the legislation moves to the President's desk in the coming days, our weblog will post a detailed analysis of the final text as well as any possible Presidential Signing Statement. Until then, readers should beware of the premature and often erroneous  analyses provided by media journalists who are anxious to tell their readers “more than they know.” Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal published articles that completely missed the “blue slip” problem. If the legislation is passed (again) in the Senate after the House approves revenue provisions, then there will also be numerous additional substantive and technical changes made to this legislation. Readers who are unfamiliar with the US legislative process should also be aware that the White House frequently makes what amount to substantive changes to legislation through the issuance of Signing Statements. Additionally, agencies of the Executive Branch subsequently make often quite significant additional modifications through the substantial discretion afforded agencies in the Rulemaking Process.