In bad news for Monsanto, but good news for food safety advocates, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has vowed to oppose a provision that protects genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks. The provision, dubbed "the Monsanto Protection Act" by activists for the benefit it would provide biotech giants like Monsanto, was sneaked into a broad spending bill and passed through Congress without appropriate review by the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees.
The chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee, pledged to oppose the extension of the so-called the Monsanto Protection Act, a victory for advocates who have been pressing for its repeal.
Stabenow made her pledge in a conversation with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who has been pushing the Senate to vote on an amendment to the farm bill that would repeal the provision. That vote was blocked by [Republican Sen. Cochran] and on Thursday morning the Senate voted to end debate and move to final passage.
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.