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Activists angry with Mikulski

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Published on: Thursday, April 04, 2013

By Donna Broadway

WASHINGTON- Some political activists are calling for Senator Barbara Mikulski’s (D-MD) senate seat for the passage of a recent spending bill.

President Obama signed the spending bill or HR 933 into law. The Farmer Assurance Provision or the Monsanto Protection Act was buried in section 735 of the spending bill.

The act protects genetically modified foods or GMOs. Opponents say they cause organ failure, diseases, and the crops damage the environment. Center for Food Safety estimates 80-90 percent of corn and soybeans are GMOs.  The blame for the act’s passage is being directed at the Senate Appropriations Committee and its chairman, Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

The bill was attached to the Continuing Appropriations Act or the spending bill which was voted in to avert a looming government shutdown. Many protestors believe many members of Congress were apparently unaware the “Monsanto Protection Act” even existed within the spending bill.

"As Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski's 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. She will continue to fight for a regular and timely Appropriations process and other valuable priorities, including food safety," Mikulski spokesperson Rachel MacKnighti said.

Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, decried the passage of the act.

“In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto. This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Senator Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate,” said Kimbrell.

The Center for Food Safety has appeared to accept Mikulski’s apology.

“The American public has relied on Senate Democrats to be a backstop against dangerous policy riders like this. We call on Senator Mikulski to continue speaking out against this rider and call on her to work with the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee to ensure that it is excluded from any future appropriations bills,” said Colin O'Neil, Director of Government Affairs for the Center for Food Safety.

The Monsanto Protection Act will only remain in effect until September 30.

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