U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today encouraging Majority Leader Reid to bring food safety legislation to the floor of the Senate for a full and open debate.
"If Majority Leader Reid believes this legislation is a matter of life and death he should bring it to the floor immediately for a full and open debate. As Majority Leader, he sets the schedule. I do not. His claim that I am blocking the Senate from considering the bill is false, and he knows it is false," Dr. Coburn said.
"The Majority Leader also knows that one of my concerns with the bill is that it is not paid for. Unfortunately, he has refused to even discuss ways to pay for the bill by reducing spending on lower priority items. With our national debt at $13.5 trillion we simply can't continue to borrow and spend without restraint. The American people should question the competence of any member of Congress who can't find $1.4 billion of waste in a $3.5 trillion budget that could be cut to pay for improved food safety.
"Finally, I don't question the Majority Leader's commitment to safe food even if he does not extend the same courtesy to me. However, as a practicing physician, I am not impressed with public health lectures from career politicians who have little real world experience in any field, much less health-related fields. If the Majority Leader wants the bill to advance he should pay for it. If he doesn't want to pay for it, he should then bring it to the floor and explain to the American people why he can't cut a penny of wasteful Washington spending to pay for a bill he says is a matter of life and death," Dr. Coburn said.