retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that just a day after the US Senate passed landmark food safety legislation, a procedural error has put the bill on hold at least temporarily, unable to be reconciled with the version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives.

According to the story, “Democrats are looking at several options to get the bill turned into law, aides said, but the House can't approve it ‘as is’ because the legislation contains provisions that allow the government to collect fees. Those fees are technically considered tax provisions because they raise revenue for the federal government, an aide said, and House rules say tax provisions must originate in the House version of any bill.”

The Journal explains: “The bill was first approved by the House in July 2009. The Senate passed its version with a provision excluding small farms and food processors with annual sales under $500,000 from new Food and Drug Administration regulations, if they sell their products directly to consumers or restaurants no more than 275 miles from the production site.”
KC's View:
You’d think that the US Congress - the best legislative body money can buy - would have enough cash to have someone on staff who would know these things. How does a bill years in the making get through the Senate with a provision that simply cannot be there?