Stories Of Government Working
After a minor stumble, the House today passed the Food Safety Enhancement Act, which would bolster the Food and Drug Administration's efforts to ensure food that's not contaminated and vomit-inducing. La Vida Locavore has more. Basically, the bill would properly fund the FDA to carry out their mission, paid for by the food producers, and would enact stringent performance standards for food producers, with mandatory trace-back systems and frequent inspections of facilities. And it would apply the standards for domestic food safety to imported food as well.
Given how pretty much almost everyone in America eats food, and given the high profile of food outbreaks during the age of e.coli conservatism, if this gets through the Senate I would hope that somebody would let the public know. It ain't health care reform, but it's an important measure with a tangible effect on people's lives. I'll give you a couple others. The stimulus package provided $100 million dollars for the nation's food banks to make sure the truly needy could find food this year during these economic struggles. Food assistance is up about 30% this year over last year, and so providing some stimulus funds to feed people has a real human benefit, in addition to allowing the hungry some breathing space to get back on their feet. And the House pumped in some more money for highway and unemployment funds, so that people who are jobless can continue to access benefits and construction projects in the states can continue.
We have a problem with the conservative demonization of government, mainly because too few people are out there telling the story of government when it works. It makes it easier to lift the heavy policy objects when you restore a little bit of trust that when government is properly organized and managed it can actually help people.
This is another failure that liberals would be wise to counteract.
UPDATE: The roll call. The food safety bill passed 283-142. A few House liberals voted against it, I'd be interested to hear their thoughts.
UPDATE: The President:
"Today the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, legislation that will raise food safety standards, allow the FDA to issue mandatory recalls of harmful products, and enhance our oversight of imported food.
This action represents a major step forward in modernizing our food safety system and protecting Americans from foodborne illness. Those are the goals of the Food Safety Working Group I convened in March and charged with making recommendations to improve our food safety system. And that is why we announced a new rule to control Salmonella contamination in eggs and are working to reduce the presence of harmful pathogens such as E. coli in meat and produce; strengthen our capacity to trace the source of outbreaks; and update our emergency operations procedures.
I commend the House of Representatives for its action today and look forward to working with the Senate to enact critical food safety legislation."
This stuff matters too.