The so-called "Food Safety" Bill
UPDATE: Well, Americans may have lucked out.
A food safety bill that has burned up precious days of the Senate’s lame-duck session appears headed back to the chamber because Democrats violated a constitutional provision requiring that tax provisions originate in the House.
By pre-empting the House’s tax-writing authority, Senate Democrats appear to have touched off a power struggle with members of their own party in the House. The Senate passed the bill Tuesday, sending it to the House, but House Democrats are expected to use a procedure known as “blue slipping” to block the bill, according to House and Senate GOP aides.
The debacle could prove to be a major embarrassment for Senate Democrats, who sought Tuesday to make the relatively unknown bill a major political issue by sending out numerous news releases trumpeting its passage.
Section 107 of the bill includes a set of fees that are classified as revenue raisers, which are technically taxes under the Constitution. According to a House GOP leadership aide, that section has ruffled the feathers of Ways and Means Committee Democrats, who are expected to use the blue slip process to block completion of the bill. . . .
UPDATE 2: I love this claim about error here. If I suspect that Harkin would not be very sympathetic to others raising the same defense.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) remains optimistic that a procedural error wouldn’t derail the food-safety bill that cleared the Senate on Tuesday, saying “nothing is going to kill this bill.” . . .
“Human error happens sometimes. No one is trying to jam anybody – it’s just a human error, no one made a mistake,” Harkin said. “Nothing is lethal here, nothing is going to kill this bill.