Monday, September 23, 2013

Stop Monsanto Protection Act

 In my inbox today, this from the OCA:

URGENT: House Passes Monsanto Protection Act. Ask Your Senators to Stop It!

On Friday, September 20, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the Continuing Resolution (H.J.RES.59), a bill to keep the government running through December 15. The bill will force a showdown with the Senate because it includes a provision to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

But the Continuing Resolution is controversial for another reason. It extends the Monsanto Protection Act, officially referred to as the Farmers Assurance Provision, a law that gives biotech firms immunity from federal prosecution for illegally growing GMO crops.
Please call your Senators today and ask them to pass a clean version of the Continuing Resolution, one that doesn’t extend the Monsanto Protection Act.
You can call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected with your Senator. Or find individual senators’ phone numbers here.
You can say:
“I’m calling to ask the Senator to oppose the Farmers Assurance Provision, sometimes referred to as the Monsanto Protection Act, and to vote no on any bill, including the Continuing Resolution, which includes the provision.”
The Monsanto Protection Act was first passed in March, when it was quietly and without debate slipped into the earlier version of the Continuing Resolution, a bill to fund the government through September 30. As Politico reporter David Rogers explained in his Monsanto Protection Act exposé, “Big Agriculture Flexes its Muscle,” the Monsanto-friendly rider was never voted on. Rogers, a seasoned political reporter, described how the Monsanto Protection Act became law “with little or no floor debate and in a period of turmoil.”

The backroom deal that made the Monsanto Protection Act law generated a public backlash. It was the subject of a Daily Show episode. And it helped spawn a worldwide March against Monsanto, reported on by the New York Times.

Because the Senate never voted on the Monsanto Protection Act, we don’t know where all of the senators stand on the issue. But here’s what we do know:
•    Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) conspired with Monsanto lobbyists to write the law.
•    Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), chair of the full Senate Appropriations Committee, publicly apologized for letting the Monsanto Protection Act slip through. But, she said, she had a responsibility to avoid a government shutdown.
•    Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), tried for a vote to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act during the Senate Farm Bill debate.
•    Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) blocked Merkley’s amendment.
•    Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D- Mich.) promised Merkley that the amendment wouldn’t be renewed without a vote.
Please call your senators today. Ask them to reject extending the Monsanto Protection Act and vote no on the Continuing Resolution unless this blatant giveaway to the biotech industry is removed.  Thank you!
-- Alexis and the team at OCA