Food safety legislation that came close to a vote in the Senate last week, before stalling over a political debate about earmarks, has another enemy: the Tea Party movement.
Tea Party Patriots, a major organizational component of the Tea Party movement, sent an action alert to its followers late last week asking them to call members of Congress to “melt their phones and tell them (yet again) why this is a bad bill and why we don’t want it.”
The alert credits Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) with giving activists time to stop the bill. Coburn tried to force a Senate vote on an unrelated amendment to ban legislative earmarks through 2013, a move that punted a vote on the food safety bill until after Thanksgiving recess, at the earliest.
Coburn has also expressed concern about the legislation, which moved forward in the Senate with 74 votes last week, for not systemically addressing the overlaps and gaps in the food safety system, and for the bill’s price tag of $1.4 billion over four years.
Last week, on his radio show, political commentator Glenn Beck also spoke up about the pending legislation, which he repeatedly calls the “farm bill.”
“I come to you to apologize that I did not pay attention enough to this farm bill and get this research done fast enough, and last night I had our researchers working through the night and got a briefing about, what, 6:30 this morning on it and because last night cloture happened in the Senate,” said Beck, to his audience of millions.
“This is an extraordinarily, extraordinarily innocuous thousand page bill,” Beck said sarcastically. (Note: the bill is 250 pages).
“It is all full of things that just have to happen just to keep your food safe,” he continued. “In order to keep you safe, we just have to have a few more regulations, but that’s it. Oh, this Death Star is fully operational.”
Beck goes on to compare the “rush” to pass the food safety bill in the 111th Congress to the “rush” to get the health care bill passed last Christmas. He also slams the Pew Charitable Trusts for their efforts in support of the bill, calling them an “uber left radical group.”
Beck even weighs in on the Tester-Hagan amendment, a provision added to the Senate legislation late last week that aims to exempt small farms from the bill under certain circumstances.
“Because small farmers just can’t handle all of this money. So don’t worry about that. They have written in there that, okay, small farms and houses aren’t going to be affected,” says Beck. “Oh, well, I feel so much better.”
“Show me the country that has a safer food supply than us, can you, please? Who has a safer food supply? Is it Sweden? You know what? When we reduce the population of America down to the size of Sweden, we’ll get a band of really hot blonds, call them Abba and we can emulate their food supply as well,” said Beck, adding that he believes the “farm bill” will make food more expensive.