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Monsanto Now Unstoppable Thanks to Congress

Monsanto Now Unstoppable Thanks to Congress

If genetically modified seeds and foods cause health problems, should biotech companies be held legally responsible? Don’t think too hard because Congress and President Barack Obama have already decided for you – and the answer is a frightening no.

Almost any industry that puts its consumers in harm’s way is subject to lawsuits, but the U.S. government has granted corporations that genetically alter food an exemption by sneaking it into the Agricultural Appropriations Bill. The bill, which was quickly signed into law, included this particular provision, HR 933, which activists are not so lovingly referring to as the Monsanto Protection Act.

Monsanto, of course, is the agricultural biotechnology giant constantly surrounded by controversy. Considering the company had the most to gain from this law’s passage, surely it played some role in lobbying. It begs the question: if Monsanto genuinely believes its approach to agriculture is not harmful, why would it go to such great, secretive lengths to grant itself immunity from litigation?

Perhaps it’d be less alarming if Monsanto had built a respectable reputation, but one word can continually be applied to the corporation’s business practices:

Similarly untrustworthy? Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat from Maryland and the chairperson for the Senate Apporpriations Committee who quietly added the amendment to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill. Usually such provisions are given a hearing and review, but this one was tacked on anonymously as the bill was rushed to a vote. The Center for Food Safety has been particularly critical of Mikulski, saying, “In this hidden backroom deal, Sen. Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto.”

Obama has also received criticism for signing the bill into law. To be fair, the President was in a sticky situation since not signing it would have left the United States without a federal budget and effectively shut down the government. That said, it wouldn’t be the first time Obama has approved a dubious provision because it is part of a larger bill that is supposedly essential (see the NDAA and indefinite detention).

Senator Mikulski is using a similar excuse. A press release from her office declared that she neither wrote nor supported the Monsanto Protection Act, adding, “[Her] first responsibility was to prevent a government shutdown. That meant she had to compromise on many of her own priorities to get a bill through the Senate that the House would pass.”

Meanwhile, other members of Congress are trying to avoid the blame altogether. According to Salon, the provision was so secretive that many Senators and Representatives claim they were unaware they were voting on that part of the bill. However, it seems pretty inexcusable for Congresspeople (and their staffs) to not read bills in full before voting on them, no matter the stakes. At some point, it doesn’t matter whether the politicians are corrupt or just incompetent: both yield terrible results.

If there is any good news about this whole debacle, it is that since the entire bill was passed on an emergency basis, the law is only in effect for six months. The real question will be now that the formerly “oblivious” members of Congress have been made aware by concerned Americans, will they put a stop to this dangerous precedent or renew it to continue to protect their negligent corporate friends?

 

Related Stories:

8 Reasons Not to Trust Monsanto with Your Food

Monsanto Gets $2.5 Million Penalty for Misleading Farmers

Did Monsanto Trick Voters?

 

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247 comments

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11:28AM PDT on Jun 5, 2013

SIGNED

2:43PM PDT on Jun 2, 2013

Ros G. _____ Thanks for the petition link !!!

WOW ... over 2 million signatures in less that 2 days !!!!!!!!!!

I'm signing it :-D

2:38PM PDT on Jun 2, 2013

Wonder if they are growing an AUDREY II plant like in the Little Shop of Horrors.

(quoting from wikipedia)

AUDREY II is "a vicious, raunchy plant that feeds on human blood"

I hope not ....

maybe someone should grow a crop (hint hint)

to feed on Monsanto execs & their supporting congress friends.

She ONLY needs their blood. awwwwwww

wow !!! I shouldn't have said such a spiteful thing.

notice that I didn't erase it.

har har

12:33PM PDT on May 12, 2013

Don H. So many on the right have simply decided to reject science, ignore common sense & deny, deny, deny, corporations, from whom they get so very much of their money, are capable of doing such wrongs. As I see it the rules de jure for the right is, to hell with the Earth, damn the Treehuggers and ignore the constituents; as long as they get their big bucks all’s good in the world & re-election is certain. I don’t find it strange that the legislators you cited are all Democrats their concerns mesh well with mine.
Being a Texan I have had several years more experience dealing with George W. Bush than most of the nation. That exposure did not serve to further his endearment to me. I often stated he & Cheney should be indicted for treason, tried & found guilty, sentenced to death and publicly hanged on the steps of the Capitol. I still believe that would be true justice or as close as mankind can get toward that aim. I have changed my opinion, not because my heart has softened but because I love my country. The precedent such procedures, once carried out, would doom the nation and every president afterward would be forced to endure the same or similar fates. If we think the country is divided today try to imagine what would happen if that fortune had befallen Bush & Cheney; no matter how much they deserve it.

6:38AM PDT on May 12, 2013

April W, it appears that no one is going to stop the corporate assault on the earth or the earth's inhabitants.

If fact, it looks like only a very few of our elected "representatives" even recognize or will acknowledge the problem.

We know their names. They are heroes - Alan Grayson, Pete Defazzio, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

President Obama's DOJ now admits that outright criminal acts by the massive banks can no longer be prosecuted because prosecuting them might damage the economy. I guess Obama felt the same about allowing the criminal Bush Administration to escape prosecution. WTF?

This should be alarming to all American and world citizens. But TPTB obfuscate the problems through an elaborate smoke screen.

6:57PM PDT on May 11, 2013

Monsanto needs to be stopped. Another corporation more interested in filling its pockets than doing what's right. Sickening.

7:50PM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

thanks so sad

1:40PM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

Wow, thanks for the info

5:58PM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

Thanks for posting!

7:58PM PDT on Apr 12, 2013

Frightening how Monsanto continues to jump through the hoops that governments keep on providing for them as they bully their way into people's lives. Nothing like making things so easy for Monsanto including the fact that many consumers in parts of the world have no labelling laws to inform them what is and what is not GMO unless buying organic. The average person walking into a retail grocery store and often has no idea of what is or is not GMO.

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