Organic Consumers Association

Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead on GMO Labeling.

Update: Here’s a video of a July 1 livestream on Facebook from our director Ronnie Cummins and a DARK Act flyer.

Eager to do Monsanto’s bidding, the U.S. Senate yesterday voted 65-32 to limit debate on the Roberts-Stabenow bill, a federal GMO labeling bill that is unenforceable, full of loopholes and exemptions, and allows companies to hide information about GMOs behind QR codes that are inaccessible to at least a third of Americans who don’t own smartphones.

The Senate is expected to hold a final vote tonight to pass the bill, which would send it back to the House (which passed its own version last July), and ultimately to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators at 888-897-0174 to tell them what you think of their votes! Calls are the fastest, and most effective way to get your message through to Congress.

The Senate needed 60 votes yesterday in order to limit debate on the Senate version of DARK Act. But the bill now needs only 51 votes to pass the Senate and move on to the House.

Both the Senate and House versions are intended to overturn Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law which took effect July 1.

We’d be lying if we said the chances of stopping this bill are good—they aren’t. But that shouldn’t stop us from going full throttle to try to win over more Senators, and even call on Obama to veto this bill if it gets that far.

At the very least, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday in a speech on the Senate floor that the measure hasn't been fully vetted, the Roberts-Stabenow bill deserves a full debate:

"It's not fair to get on an important piece of legislation and not have the opportunity to" have hearings on the measure and offer amendments. We must not stand for the Republican leader jamming this bill through the Senate."

TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators at 888-897-0174 to tell them what you think of their votes! Calls are the fastest, and most effective way to get your message through to Congress.

Scroll down to see how your Senators voted. If they voted against this awful bill, please thank them! If they voted for it, please let them know that QR codes are not labels, and a bill that exempts most of the common GMO ingredients isn’t acceptable.

Yesterday, OCA and many of our allies in the movement worked up until the last minute to convince more Senators to reject this latest version of the DARK Act. We made calls, we visited Senate home district and Washington offices.

We even staged a protest on the Senate floor, dropping 2,000 $1 bills to show our anger over how Monsanto’s money has corrupted the democratic process.

Some of our efforts paid off. Maine Senators Collins and King, who voted for the bill in a “test” vote on June 29, voted against the bill this time, after hearing from hundreds of their constituents who don’t want Maine’s GMO labeling bill overturned. If you live in Maine, please call today to thank Sens. Collins and King and ask them to vote NO again on the final vote.

Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) also saw the light, and voted against the DARK Act yesterday—if you live in Florida or Nebraska, please show these Senators some love today!

But we also had some disappointing “flippers” yesterday, including Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine (Va.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.) who opposed the Roberts-Stabenow bill on June 29, but yesterday supported Monsanto, not consumers. If you live in Virginia or New Jersey, please call today and urge your Senators to support your right to know!

To reach any of these Senators, call 888-897-0174 and you will be connected to your Senator.

For everyone else, please scroll down for the vote count. There were 65 “yeas” and 32 “nays”. We’ve also included the amount of money each Senator has received from agribusiness over the course of their years in the Senate. The average agribusiness contribution for “yes” voters ($877,403) is more than twice as much as the average for "no" voters ($440,765).

TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators TODAY! Thank your Senators who voted “No”. “Spank” your Senators who voted “Yes”. Call 888-897-0174.

Here are some talking points you can use when you call:

I don’t want to have to pull out a phone and scan a QR code in order to know what I’m buying. The Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill would kill the Vermont law that labels GMO foods as “produced with genetic engineering.” Vermont's law is working. GMOs are being labeled. Food prices are staying the same. The labels are being used nationwide. It exempts nearly all GMOs from labeling. It would take at least two years to take effect. And, it’s essentially voluntary because there would be no enforcement for non-compliance. At the very least, this bill deserves a full debate.

Tally for July 6, 2016 cloture vote

NO Votes (the "good guys"):

Blumenthal D-CT NO $43,033
Booker D-NJ


Boxer D-CA NO $517,498
Cantwell D-WA NO $273,246
Cardin D-MD NO $230,103
Collins R-ME NO $596,291
Durbin D-IL NO $951,130  
Gillibrand D-NY NO $627,514
Heinrich D-NM NO $128,927
Hirono D-HI NO $108,150
King I-ME NO  $74,515
Leahy D-VT NO $356,995
Markey D-MA NO $118,144
Merkley D-OR NO $222,442
Mikulski D-MD NO $255,439
Murkowski R-AK NO $463,144
Murphy D-CT NO $132,650
Murray D-WA NO $667,307
Nelson D-FL NO $873,540 
Paul R-KY NO $416,761
Reed D-RI NO $110,550
Reid D-NV NO $691,398
Sanders I-VT NO $750,242
Sasse R-NE NO  $329,935 
Schatz D-HI NO $88,750
Schumer D-NY NO $814,930
Sullivan R-AK NO $157,541
Tester D-MT NO $476,153
Udall D-NM NO $338,055
Warren D-MA NO $91,243
Whitehouse D-RI NO $98,408
Wyden D-OR NO


Total donations from agribusiness to Senators who voted NO: $12,212,251; Average donation: $440,765

YES Votes (the "bad guys"):

Alexander R-TN YES $980,283
Ayotte R-NH YES $235,956
Baldwin D-WI YES $160,709
Barrasso R-WY YES $207,250
Bennet D-CO YES $473,397
Blunt R-MO YES $2,069,365
Boozman R-AR YES  $646,471
Burr R-NC YES $1,933,705
Capito R-WV YES $456,720 
Carper D-DE YES  $203,662
Casey D-PA YES $405,550
Cassidy R-LA YES $504,933
Coats R-IN YES $527,927
Cochran R-MS YES $2,333,394
Coons D-DE YES  $86,858
Corker R-TN YES  $664,527 
Cornyn R-TX YES $1,688,149
Cotton R-AR YES $508,940
Crapo R-ID YES $1,170,466
Cruz R-TX YES $1,647,662
Daines R-MT YES $596,781
Donnelly D-IN YES  $363,199  
Enzi R-WY YES $350,502 
Ernst R-IA YES  $256,998 
Feinstein D-CA YES  $1,645,599 
Fischer R-NE YES $536,262
Flake R-AZ YES $535,102  
Franken D-MN YES  $286,547 
Gardner R-CO YES   $946,349 
Grassley R-IA YES $1,929,489 
Hatch R-UT YES $725,633
Heitkamp D-ND YES $236,975  
Heller R-NV YES  $258,140 
Hoeven R-ND YES $405,020
Inhofe R-OK YES $938,853
Isakson R-GA YES  $1,227,649
Johnson R-WI YES $489,435
Kaine D-VA YES $140,825
Kirk R-IL YES $718,270 
Klobuchar D-MN YES $720,592
Lankford R-OK YES $226,040
Manchin D-WV YES $196,850
McCain R-AZ   YES  $4,496,004 
McCaskill D-MO YES  $383,024  
McConnell R-KY YES $3,373,204
Menendez D-NJ YES $647,774
Moran R-KS YES $2,284,551   
Perdue R-GA YES  $489,830  
Peters D-MI  YES  $238,147 
Portman R-OH YES $1,011,940
Risch R-ID YES  $367,154  
Roberts R-KS YES $2,808,111
Rounds R-SD YES $258,600
Rubio R-FL YES $1,141,265   
Scott R-SC YES $403,300
Sessions R-AL YES $927,652
Shaheen D-NH YES $167,474
Shelby R-AL YES $843,957
Stabenow D-MI YES $1,565,978
Thune R-SD YES $1,900,160
Tillis R-NC YES $437,750
Toomey R-PA YES $682,904  
Vitter R-LA YES $657,365
Warner D-VA YES


Wicker R-MS YES $789,690  

Total donations from agribusiness to Senators who voted YES: $57,031,185;  Average donation: $877,403.

Not voting:

Brown D-OH NOT $379,952
Graham R-SC NOT $1,131,590   
Lee R-UT NOT $77,950 

(Senators and their votes, listed by state instead of alphabetically, here).

TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators at 888-897-0174 to tell them what you think of their votes! Ask them to vote NO on the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill!