12/19/2010 - The Senate on Sunday night cleared a food safety package, curbing earlier fears the popular bill would die by the end of this session as a result of a procedural error by upper chamber lawmakers.
Aides close to the bill expect it to return to the House this week and that the overhaul of a nearly-century-old regulatory system finally will find its way to the president's desk after a circuitous and frustrating go-around the Capitol.
The Senate first passed the food safety bill on an overwhelming bipartisan vote at the end of November, but the effort was voided after it was revealed the bill included several tax-related provisions that had to originate from the lower chamber. The House then included the language of the food safety legislation in its version of the continuing resolution to avoid government shutdown.
“It is a major step toward improving how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration protects people from preventable illnesses that sicken millions and kill thousands of Americans every year,” said Erik Olson, the Pew Health Group’s director of food and consumer product safety, when the legislation cleared the Senate last month. “It is our hope that this legislation is brought to the president’s desk as soon as possible.”
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