A food safety bill that has burned up precious days of the Senate’s lame-duck session appears headed back to the chamber because Democrats violated a constitutional provision requiring that tax provisions originate in the House.
By pre-empting the House’s tax-writing authority, Senate Democrats appear to have touched off a power struggle with members of their own party in the House. The Senate passed the bill Tuesday, sending it to the House, but House Democrats are expected to use a procedure known as “blue slipping” to block the bill, according to House and Senate GOP aides.
The debacle could prove to be a major embarrassment for Senate Democrats, who sought Tuesday to make the relatively unknown bill a major political issue by sending out numerous news releases trumpeting its passage.
Section 107 of the bill includes a set of fees that are classified as revenue raisers, which are technically taxes under the Constitution. According to a House GOP leadership aide, that section has ruffled the feathers of Ways and Means Committee Democrats, who are expected to use the blue slip process to block completion of the bill.
So, all of that precious time that was devoted to this bill was all for naught. There is very little time in the lame-duck session, and Reid wasted it by overreaching his authority.
So, either the bill will be dropped entirely, or the House will pass their own version. If the House does pass another version, then, the Senate will have to debate the bill and vote AGAIN to be able to send it to the White House for Obama's signature.
I love Ed Morrissey's line regarding this: "Yesterday, Senate Democrats were crowing about this bill.Â Today, they’ll be eating crow."