Natural health foes may once again try this deceptive trick to enact legislation to benefit Big Pharma or Big Farma.
Negotiations between the House and the Senate are currently underway to pass a $1.1 trillion appropriations bill. It or something else must be passed by Thursday night if a government shutdown in January is to be avoided. The two chambers of Congress were nearing agreement on Sunday, but as we go to press, the negotiations have stalled.
Few pieces of legislation are considered “must-pass,” but they are almost always appropriations bills. In the push to get these enacted, riders (additional legislative provisions) are often tacked onto these usually unrelated bills in the hope they’ll be approved without even being noticed, since the main bill’s passage is essentially assured.
This is an especially popular tactic for bills that are unpopular or controversial, or that will benefit only the politician’s cronies rather than his or her constituents. It’s a sneaky, underhanded way to avoid the harsh light of public scrutiny.
We have seen this very behavior in the past from anti-supplement Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), and their allies in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. We might also see riders that benefit the American Medical Association (which often controls state medical boards) together with the many other arms of conventional medicine that are doing very well financially and do not want competition. ANH-USA is watching the budget bill very, very carefully.
We have discovered many sneak provisions attached to previous appropriations bills. Here are just a few:
- There was Sen. Durbin’s dangerous attempt to attach an anti-supplement rider to a spending bill—the infamous Durbin Amendment. His rider would have required, among other provisions, that the FDA, together with the Institute of Medicine (IOM), compile a list of dietary ingredients that might lead to adverse events, or are otherwise deemed risky in some way—based on completely arbitrary or nonexistent standards. This is a slippery slope to a preapproval process or a ban on high-dose supplements. (You may recall that the IOM suggests 4000 IU of vitamin D as the upper limit for dosage, and says anything greater is dangerous! By contrast, the Vitamin D Council believes 10,000 IU is a safe on a daily basis, with temporarily higher doses to correct imbalances.) Fortunately, grassroots activists like you sent 100,000 messages in less than twenty-four hours, and the amendment was quickly defeated. We took the opportunity to rebut some of the misinformation Durbin was spreading on the Senate floor.
- Rep. Henry Waxman slipped an anti-supplement provision into the Wall Street reform bill. Because of your messages to Congress, that provision was soundly rejected in an all night reconciliation meeting.
- There were sneak GMO provisions included in the farm bill. The final bill was flawed, but in the end we were able to get rid of three very dangerous provisions.
- The Monsanto Protection Act was attached as a rider to a budget bill in 2013. After it was discovered, Bloomberg, The New York Times, Politico—media of all political persuasions—ran searingly critical articles about the biotech rider despite messages pouring into Congress via our and others’ alerts. The Daily Show mocked Congress, which may have gotten more attention than all the articles. Facebook and Twitter were ablaze with people like you telling their friends and neighbors about the provision, and the outrage was even greater once the legislation was passed. We mounted a campaign to repeal the rider, and thanks to your activism, the controversial provision was removed from the next funding bill that was signed into law.
Please keep a watchful eye on your email inbox for the next few days. If we spot any riders, we will send out an emergency Action Alert and ask you to contact your legislators immediately.