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Cloture vote on spending bill fails

With 60 votes needed to end debate, only 48 senators voted in favor of cloture when Senate leaders attempted to bring the bill to the floor Tuesday. One of the chief stumbling blocks was a House-passed amendment that would delay implementation of the “country-of-origin labeling” provisions in the 2002 farm bill.

The National Farmers Union, which has mounted a major lobbying effort to force Congress to reconsider the delay, praised the vote on the omnibus appropriations bill, saying it will allow Senate leaders to clear the bill of a two-year delay on implementing COOL.

"The Senate's vote today is a victory for consumers, who want country-of-origin labeling as an informational tool as they make food purchasing decisions," said NFU President Dave Frederickson. "It is also a win for farmers and ranchers who have asked senators to keep COOL as a way to differentiate their products from foreign products in the marketplace."

Forty-five senators voted against the cloture motion.

"The U.S. Senate has, again, expressed its support of the mandatory country- of-origin labeling law," Frederickson said. "Every time this program has been up for a public vote, it has prevailed."

National Farmers Union led a group of 100 farmers, ranchers and consumers as they visited Senate offices prior to the vote asking them to oppose the cloture vote on the omnibus appropriations bill Tuesday.

The group also circulated the results of a new national poll that shows 82 percent of American consumers think food should be labeled with country of origin information; 85 percent would be more inclined to buy food produced in the United States and 81 percent said they would be willing to pay a few cents more for food products grown and/or raised in the United States. e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com

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