After being showered with handful of paper money thrown over the gallery rail by a single protestor, the U.S. Senate invoked cloture on a GMO-labeling bill by a 65-32 vote Wednesday, meaning that the compromise proposal for a federal law on how grocery products will be labeled when they do and don’t contain genetically modified organisms is set for a final vote. GMO vs non-genetically modified broccoliCloture is the Senate procedure for breaking attempts to delay or filibuster action on a bill. It provides for up to 30 more hours of debate before the matter is brought to an up-or-down vote. In this case, it means that the Senate will vote, as early as this week, on S. 764, a compromise rolled out June 23 by U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts, R-KS, and Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, who are the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, respectively. The bill would require food companies to use either a USDA-created symbol or an electronic code to indicate whether genetically modified ingredients are included in a product. If it passes the Senate, S. 764 will then go to the House, which last year adopted a voluntary GMO labeling bill by a large bipartisan margin. The Senate compromise bill would also pre-empt state action, including Vermont’s GMO labeling law, which became effective July 1. The state does not plan to enforce the new law until 2017, but it would be banned from any enforcement if S. 764 becomes federal law. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, who voted against cloture, began the GMO labeling proceedings by chastising the Republican Senate leadership for moving ahead with S. 764 without amendments. Reid said when Republicans took over from him, they promised more open rules. After the Senate cloture vote, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR, took to an emptying Senate floor to express his opposition to the bill, mostly arguing that it has too many loopholes. Congressional action now could end a decade-long battle over GMO labeling. Defeated by voters in four Western states and by state legislators in a couple dozen other states, it was passage of a GMO labeling law in tiny Vermont that finally forced Washington, D.C., to act. Vermont’s law was allowed to stand by a federal court. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is currently reviewing the decision. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)