Two senators took to the floor Thursday to oppose the Monsanto Protection Act rider to the farm bill. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) have introduced an amendment to the farm bill that would repeal the provision. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) blocked the vote on the amendment and the Senate voted to end the debate on the Monsanto Protection Act.
Even though the Senate voted to end the debate, Stabenow’s declaration to oppose Monsanto Protection Act extension without full debate is significant.
Huffington Post notes:
When two senators have a pre-arranged public conversation on the Senate floor, it’s known as a colloquy and is typically the bow that ties up a deal struck beforehand. While Merkley was unable to get a repeal vote, the colloquy is a significant win for him, with Stabenow promising she will oppose any attempt to extend the Monsanto Protection Act in backroom negotiations.
Late night on March 26th, President Obama signed HR 933 into law with biotech rider Sec. 735 – dubbed the Monsanto Protection Act – still contained.
Simply put, the rider hidden in the text of the Farmer Assurance Provision – and has nothing to do with Continuing Resolution spending (HR 933) – protects Monsanto from the court system should they want to halt illegally planted or hazardous genetically modified crops. The USDA already gives biotech companies like Monsanto the thumbs up for the most part, trusting Monsanto’s own safety evaluations. Now the court system cannot intervene, which could prove detrimental to farmers who are sued by Monsanto for patent infringement when their GM seeds contaminate those farmers’ fields. Stabenow and Merkley were trying to change that with a repeal.
As you can see in the video above, it could be detrimental to human health and the environment to release more GM crops, untested and unheeded. With Asian countries rejecting our exports over safety fears, it poses more detriment to farmers and the economy. The debate above desires more transparency and debate and begs that the rider not be active after the appropriations expiration in September.
The rider was passed despite efforts of phone calls, emails, and forms asking for veto made by over a quarter-million concerned Americans given very little time to do so before the “must-pass” spending bill slipped through the House and Senate. That number comes just from Food Democracy Now!’s alert alone. That does not include the many contacts made by people who read alerts from many other websites and organizations. Merkley mentions getting over 2200 calls.
We wanted to show that there are Senators working hard to have open transparent debate for new laws and those that care about the farmers they represent. So it is still a form of activism to let your voice be heard either in disagreement to legislation or encouragement so that they know their work is not in vain. People are rising – the recent massive March Against Monsanto which spanned all walks of life and beliefs shows a tipping point.
Additionally, Madison Ruppert writes:
Surprisingly, Monsanto has had one recent setback. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that they ordered additional environmental impact statements for Monsanto’s new herbicide-resistant crops.
On the other hand, Monsanto and DuPont’s profits continue to grow even with the masses waking up to sneaky biotech protection and clogging Congress’ phone lines and emails. They continue to sue farmers for their mistakes. With corruption and collusion so deep where corporate giants don’t just influence the government but have become the government – it’s up to each person to decide what form of empowering activism to live. That could be growing your own, choosing local organic, joining a co-op, refusing to feed the beast and reaching out to farmers, friends, and family until critical mass is reached.
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