12/08/2010 - Food safety legislation stalled by a constitutional snag could be revived as part of a giant year-end budget bill.
The bill to increase the Food and Drug Administration's powers to keep food safe stalled after the Senate overwhelmingly passed it last week. House Democrats said the bill contained fees that are considered tax provisions, and under the Constitution such legislation must originate in the House.
House Democrats are attempting to fix the problem by adding the bill to a catchall spending bill that could be voted on as soon as Wednesday. By tucking the food safety legislation in a larger spending bill that must be passed by the end of the year, Democrats may be able to circumvent Republican objections that delayed passage for months in the Senate.
Supporters say they are encouraged that almost three-quarters of the Senate supported the bill, despite the procedural hurdles.
"We're pretty cautiously optimistic that whatever the vehicle is there's pretty broad support for moving the bill," said food safety advocate Erik Olson, director of food and consumer product safety at the Pew Health Group.
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