Today's committee debate over the FY2013 Agriculture-FDA spending bill has shown once again how out of touch House Republicans are with the realities American families deal with on a daily basis. Whether it was failing to protect our daughters from the dangers of tanning beds, or letting oil speculators and Wall Street run wild, it was more of the same from the House GOP.
An amendment offered by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) that would have required the FDA to reclassify tanning beds failed by a 21-25 vote, despite garnering bipartisan support. Currently these carcinogenic devices are in the same medical category as innocuous devices like tongue depressors and bandages. The FDA has failed to act on multiple congressional calls to action and sitting on recommendations made two years ago by their own advisory committee that tanning beds should be reclassified.
"Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, is responsible for 75,000 cases and 9,000 American deaths every year," DeLauro said. "The World Health Organization has found that the risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent when people start using tanning beds before age 30. Yet the FDA is dragging their feet on this issue, failing to act upon recommendations from its own advisors and clear evidence tanning devices pose a considerable health threat. I was heartened to see members of both parties come together on this issue and will continue fighting to make sure women and families can make informed choices about this health threat."
Another DeLauro amendment, which would have bolstered funding for food safety, fell on a voice vote. Foodborne illnesses account for 3,000 deaths annually and the current budget is simply too low for the FDA to successfully implement reforms signed into law last year.
"A single preventable death is one too many," DeLauro said. "Whether it is Listeria in cantaloupes or E. coli in Germany, outbreaks of foodborne illnesses have become frighteningly normal. Protecting our food supply is not just a health issue; it is a security and moral issue as well. As this bill moves through Congress I will continue to press for this critical funding that it is our responsibility to provide."
DeLauro also spoke in favor of an amendment offered by Congressman Sam Farr to increase funding for the CFTC, the agency tasked with cracking down on oil speculation and overseeing the derivatives market. DeLauro fought for additional funding during the subcommittee debate on the bill and has been a leader on the issue.
"Both Republican and Democratic experts agree current funding levels set the CFTC up for failure," she said. "They have been very clear that the CFTC cannot provide adequate oversight with their current budget. And we know what the result of that will be--just take a look at the risky behavior in the derivatives market that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis. If we cut this funding we starve the agency of the resources it needs and sets it up for failure. This only hurts US taxpayers. I will continue to fight for more funding for the CFTC as this bill moves to the floor."
A DeLauro amendment requiring funds for the Reagan-Udall Foundation come from the Office of the Commissioner was accepted. An amendment providing additional funding for the international food program Food for Peace program was defeated.