Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Hypocrisy, Thy Name is John Doolittle

The Republican led House is attempting to push through HR 4167, the Orwellian titled: National Uniformity for Food Act, without hearings but not without some notice by media and health advocates. Doolittle was one of the first co-sponsors. The purpose of this Act is to eliminate individual states' labeling requirements -- especially California's. From the Sac Bee:
California's food safety labels could be peeled off under legislation on Capitol Hill next week.

The House of Representatives is all but certain to approve the bill mandating national uniform standards for food safety labels. The legislation would pre-empt some individual state label laws, including some of California's groundbreaking safety requirements.

Although many of California's Republican House Reps are on board with this due to their obvious allegiance to the money they receive from agri-business interests, Doolittle is also a co-sponsor (one of the first again) of H. Con. Res. 210 - Supporting the goal of eliminating suffering and death due to cancer by the year 2015. Unlike the Act currently being pushed through congress that aims to strip warnings about carinogens from our drinking water and food, this resolution is languishing in committee.

Whereas cancer strikes one out of every two men

and one out of every three women;

A powerful statement to be sure, however, with the way in which Doolittle and his cronies behave as elected representatives it comes down to this: Do these cancer stricken men, women and children have powerful lobbyists?

Apparently they do not, but opponents of protective food labeling do. From the AP:
Lawmakers seeking to curtail food warning labels have personal ties to food industry lobbyists, critics said Monday.

House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and several other lawmakers support a bill that would keep states from adding warnings that go beyond federal rules.

The lawmakers have family, friends and former staff among the lobbyists for the bill.

"This helps explain why the food industry has blocked any efforts to have hearings," said Ben Cohen, attorney for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a watchdog group.

"They think they've got it greased by using well-connected lobbyists to slip this thing through the full House without following the normal procedures," Cohen said.


"It's a perfect storm of insider access, big money and bad policy," said Andy Igrejas of the Washington-based National Environmental Trust, which did the lobbying research. "They're sweeping away 200 state laws without a hearing, all because very wealthy interests want them to."

Is passage of HR 4167 a done deal - probably. People like Doris Matsui are doing what they can to fight it. There is still time to contact our Representatives, at the very least, to let them know we see what they're doing. In John Doolittle's case, we need to shout loudly about his hypocrisy because he has, after all, asked us to focus on his voting record. It's the least we can do - that, and vote this reprehensible and sorry excuse of an elected representative out of office in the June primary or on Nov. 7th.

Added: Alliance for a Better CA's reporting Arnold as MIA on the issue of protecting our state's food labeling.

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