Rand Paul among Senate members who voted against GMO labeling amendment
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
An amendment to the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240), also known as the 2012 Farm Bill, that would have "permitted" individual states to require that food, beverages, and other edible products containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) be labeled, has been struck down. And among the Senate members who voted against the amendment was Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who recently faced a gauntlet of criticism over his perceived endorsement of globalist presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The wording of the amendment, known as S. Amdt. 2310, states that it would "permit States to require that any food, beverage, or other edible product offered for sale have a label on indicating that the food, beverage, or other edible product contains a genetically engineered ingredient." Put forth by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), S. Amdt. 2310 was viewed by many as a viable way to help individual states pass GMO labeling laws without fear of retribution by the biotechnology industry and its lackeys in the federal government.
S. Amdt. 2310 is a product of Vermont's own failed attempt at passing GMO labeling laws recently, an endeavor that was allegedly squelched by Monsanto when the biotechnology giant threatened to sue the state of Vermont if it moved forward any further with the measure (http://www.naturalnews.com/035628_Monsanto_Vermont_GMO_labeling.html). The federal government's hardline stance in favor of GMOs also appears to have been an intimidating factor in the state's backing down as well.
But S. Amdt. 2310 ultimately failed to pass, with only a single Senate Republican, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, voting in favor it. The rest of the party, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, as well as many Senate Democrats, voted against the measure. And many in the natural health community are now claiming that Sen. Paul's action in the matter is yet another example of betrayal by this perceived champion of liberty to promote honesty in food labeling.
Federal government prohibition of GMO labeling does not, cannot legally exist
But has Sen. Paul really betrayed the American people by voting against S. Amdt. 2310, or are there inherent constitutional problems with the amendment that predicated his "Nay" vote? Upon further investigation, it appears as though the latter scenario is more accurate, as S. Amdt. 2310 falsely assumes that the federal government has the authority to grant states permission to label GMOs.
As others have already begun to point out in the days following the amendment's rejection, the legislation was essentially toothless from the start. The federal government does not, after all, have the constitutional authority to prohibit states from requiring GMO labeling, let alone permit it. The federal government has also never even tried, at this point, to legally stop individual states from mandating GMO labeling. This means S. Amdt. 2310 was a faulty attempt to address an issue that is not even an issue, and one that attempted to do so using an unconstitutional approach.
A key thing to remember in all this is that neither the federal government nor the U.S. Congress has any constitutional authority to grant states permission to label or not to label GMOs. Under the U.S. Constitution, individual states already possess their own inherent authority to determine how they wish to handle the GMO labeling issue, and the federal government does not legally possess any authority whatsoever in the matter.
Americans need to remember that our individual rights and the rights of our states, as outlined in the Constitution, are not at all contingent upon whether or not the federal government approves or disapproves of them. These rights are wholly independent of the federal government, regardless of how this increasingly tyrannical overlord system tries to interfere with them, or pretend as though it is some kind of omniscient gatekeeper that decides whether or not to grant these rights.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other federal agencies may still attempt to restrict states from labeling GMOs through loopholes and other crafty regulatory means. But in no scenario does a state require a federal amendment that "permits" states to label GMOs -- states are free to label, under the Constitution, at any time. And passing an amendment that "permits" something that is already legal and constitutional would only grants the federal government perceived power over a matter that it does not actually possess.
If the federal government is given the power to "permit" GMO labeling now, for instance, then it can "un-permit" GMO labeling later, despite the fact that it never possessed the power to permit in the first place. This is an important concept to be aware of when dealing with legislation and amendments, and one that Sen. Paul appears to have been fully aware of when voting against S. Amdt. 2310
You can view the roll-call voting results for S. Amdt. 2310 by visiting:
Also, be sure to support the GMO labeling ballot measure in California, which will be up for a public vote on November 6, 2012:
Sources for this article include: