What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Agriculture : (H.R. 2112) On an amendment that would have increased funding by $1 million for the Microbiological Data Program, which tests fruits and vegetables for bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses
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(H.R. 2112) On an amendment that would have increased funding by $1 million for the Microbiological Data Program, which tests fruits and vegetables for bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses
house Roll Call 426     Jun 15, 2011
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI) that would have increased funding by $1 million for the Microbiological Data Program, which tests fruits and vegetables for bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses. The amendment would have cut, however, $1 million from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s “buildings and facilities” account. (The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is responsible for protecting U.S. agriculture from pests and diseases.) This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding Agriculture Department programs.

Clarke urged support for his amendment: “Now, this [the Microbiological Data Program] is a USDA program that collects and tests fruits and vegetables, domestic and imported fruits and vegetables for bacteria that could cause illness and even death. Recent tests have discovered salmonella and strains of E. coli similar to that found in the German food supply that resulted in the deaths of 24 people and which infected over 2,400. So this amendment is important in order to protect the public from food-borne pathogens that could make the public sick or that could put innocent lives at risk.”

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) opposed the amendment because the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s buildings and facilities account only had $3 million to begin with: “…The concern that I have…[is] we're taking $1 million out of a $3 million account and putting it into a $77 million account [the Microbiological Data Program], and it just seems disproportional…”

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) echoed Kingston’s concerns, saying: “I rise to oppose the amendment not because it is unworthy, but because I believe that there are funds elsewhere in the bill that could be used to cover the services and research that the gentleman requests.”

The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 142-282. Voting “yea” were 122 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 20 Republicans. 216 Republicans and 66 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have increased funding by $1 million for the Microbiological Data Program, which tests fruits and vegetables for bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses—but would have cut $1 million from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s “buildings and facilities” account.

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