It was a last-minute change for the legislation, which seemed all but dead Sunday afternoon. The measure had support from an eclectic array of groups - from the Chamber of Commerce to U.S. Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG) - and was pushed by a coalition of food-safety groups that lobbied for two years. It passed the House more than year ago with strong bipartisan support. It cleared the Senate three weeks ago by a vote of 73 to 25, overcoming a filibuster threat from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).
But the day after the Senate vote, House leaders flagged a problem - the Senate version appeared to violate a constitutional provision that requires new taxes to originate in the House rather than the Senate.
The section in question would have imposed fees on importers, farmers and food processors whose food is recalled because of contamination. The mistake essentially nullified the Senate vote.