The Senate unexpectedly approved food safety legislation by unanimous consent Sunday evening, rescuing a bill that floated in limbo for weeks because of a clerical error.
The Senate passed the Food Safety and Modernization Act on Nov. 30 by a vote of 73-25. But the bill was later invalidated by a technical objection because it was a revenue-raising measure that did not originate in the House — Senate staff had failed to substitute the food safety language into a House-originated bill. …
Reid announced he would send the legislation — this time properly attached to a House-originated measure — back to the lower chamber for final approval.
So, the GOP went 60-to-0 in 10 seconds flat on this debate. Why did the Republicans go from having this bill all but blocked to acquiescing to Harry Reid and the Democrats and voting unanimously with them on this? Ed Morrissey explains that they may have done this in order to get the Democrats to agree to a clean, simple continuing budget resolution that'll last until next session of Congress:
From that sequence, it appears the GOP may have given up the food-safety bill for a clean CR. They didn’t want the CR to become a “minibus,” a concern that had arisen when Congress passed a three-day CR on Friday night to fund the government through Tuesday. Rumor had it that the Democrats wanted a blend of CR and omnibus that would set funding for the rest of the year on some key agencies, and the GOP want to go through a normal budget process instead. It shouldn’t take three days to write a CR anyway, and the fact that they gave themselves that kind of breathing space indicated that Democrats intended to treat the CR like a Christmas tree.
If that’s the deal, then at least the unanimous consent on the food-safety bill would be explicable. If the Senate produces a minibus anyway, then this gift to Reid is a strange collapse by the Senate GOP.
If this is the case, then, this would be a good compromise. I just hope that Senator Reid and the rest of the Democrats hold up their end of the deal. If not, they just tapped out for nothing.