In its short-term government-funding bill, the US Senate will propose an end to a budget provision that protects genetically-modified seeds from litigation despite possible health risks.
Called “The Monsanto Protection Act” by opponents, the budget rider shields biotech behemoths like Monsanto, Cargill and others from the threat of lawsuits and bars federal courts from intervening to force an end to the sale of a GMO (genetically-modified organism) even if the genetically-engineered product causes damaging health effects.
The US House of Representatives approved a three-month extension to the rider in their own short-term FY14 Continuing Resolution spending bill, which was approved last week by the lower chamber.
The Senate version of the legislation will make clear the provision expires on September 30th 2013 Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year.
“That provision will be gone,” Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) told Politico.
Pryor chairs the Senate subcommittee on agriculture appropriations.
The Center for Food Safety said the Senate’s eradication of the rider was “a major victory for the food movement” and a “sea change in a political climate that all too often allows corporate earmarks to slide through must-pass legislation.”
“Short-term appropriations bills are not an excuse for Congress to grandfather in bad policy,” said Colin O’Neil, the Center for Food Safety’s director of government affairs.
The biotech rider first made news in March when it was a last-minute addition to the successfully-passed House Agriculture Appropriations Bill for 2013, a short-term funding bill that was approved to avoid a federal government shutdown.