After more than one year of consideration, the United States Senate passed the Food Safety Modernization Act today by a vote of 73-25. The bill passed in the House of Representatives in July 2009, followed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in November 2009, but its progress was halted by Senate deliberations on healthcare and financial reform.

Ethanol subsidies are set to expire at the end of the year, and numerous organizations are asking Congress not to take action and allow the expiration to go forward. The proponents of the subsidies’ expiration contend that converting corn to ethanol fails to make any real environmental progress while the expensive costs of the subsidies continues to burden the taxpayer.

Embattled Harlem Democrat Charles Rangel wants his sentence for various deeds of misconduct reduced from censure to reprimand, holding that censures are only for corrupt politicians, and he’s not one of them. A reprimand is considered only a “slap-on-the-wrist” that wouldn’t require him even to be present for the House vote, whereas censure would force him to stand in the “Well” of the House and listen to the Speaker read off the list of charges against him in front of his colleagues.

Standas & SimilaritiesAccording to Alex Barker writing in a November 9 blog entry for Britain’s Financial Times, President George W. Bush once confided to several British officials, including then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown, “I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me.”

health regulationsBecause of President Barack Obama's veto power, it is very unlikely that Congress could successfully repeal ObamaCare for at least another two years. However, there are substantive things that can be done to prevent ObamaCare’s implementation, such as state nullification of the legislation and congressional defunding of its provisions. There are also symbolic things — things that might pass one or both houses of Congress but, if they do pass both houses, will almost certainly be vetoed by Obama. One of the symbolic measures being considered by Republicans is the use of a 1996 law that gives Congress the power to overrule regulations issued by executive branch agencies.