This morning the Senate passed the Food Safety Modernization Act in a 73 – 25 vote. The bill, which will now have to be reconciled with a version passed in the House last year, expands the FDA’s ability to regulate and allows the agency to recall food products.
“This bill will have a dramatic impact on the way the FDA operates — providing it with more resources for inspection, mandatory recall authority, and the technology to trace an outbreak back to its source,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Illinois) in a statement.
Opponents of the bill included Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Oklahoma), who argued against the bill’s $1.4 billion price tag, which is not offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. “Far from offering common-sense reforms, this bill doubles-down on the status quo — which failed to prevent the salmonella outbreak — with 250 pages of new bureaucracy and regulations,” wrote Coburn in a USA Today op-ed last week. “Expanding the Food and Drug Administration will harm small businesses and raise prices at the grocery store — all without having a meaningful impact on food safety.”
UPDATE: The White House has issued a statement congratulating the Senate and urging the House “to act quickly on this critical bill.”