BERKELEY, Calif. — Monsanto and other companies that support genetically modified agriculture have just won a major victory in Congress. A rider ( Sec. 735 ) included in the 2013 continuing resolution (H.R. 933), a bill that must be passed by Congress to prevent a government shutdown, stripped federal courts of their power to restrict the use of genetically modified crops that they find have not undergone a complete environmental impact assessment from the USDA. The rider essentially eliminated the only legal tool environmental advocates had for slowing down or stopping the use of new genetically modified crops. The bill passed the Senate yesterday by a vote of 73-26 and the House today by a vote of 318-109.
Sec. 735 was inserted in the bill when it was in the Senate Appropriations Committee, although so far no member of the Committee has publicly acknowledged putting it in. An amendment to remove the provision was proposed by Senator Jon Tester, but the amendment was not allowed a vote.
Data: According to a MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to members of the 113th Congress from the political action committees of several organizations supporting the use of genetically modified crops, since January 1, 2009 (data source: FEC):
* Current members of Congress have received $7,450,434 from the PACs of these organizations.
* Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee have received $371,925 from the PACs of these organizations.
* Senator Roy Blunt, a member of the Appropriations Committee, has received $70,592 from the PACs of these organizations, the most received by any member of the Appropriations Committee and the second-most received by any senator.
| Organization | 2010 cycle | 2012 cycle | 2014 cycle | Total |
| American Crystal Sugar | $1,306,500 | $1,861,000 | $175,000 | $3,342,500 |
| American Farm Bureau | $336,209 | $601,312 | - | $937,521 |
| National Cotton Council | $201,854 | $347,378 | - | $549,232 |
| Monsanto Company | $199,249 | $341,000 | - | $540,249 |
| Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative | $189,900 | $238,500 | $31,000 | $459,400 |
| Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative | $132,300 | $263,332 | - | $395,632 |
| Syngenta Corporation | $155,000 | $231,500 | - | $386,500 |
| Cargill, Inc. | $133,000 | $216,500 | - | $349,500 |
| Archer Daniels Midland | $128,000 | $215,500 | $2,000 | $345,500 |
| Scotts Miracle-Gro | $85,500 | $58,900 | - | $144,400 |
| Total: | $2,867,512 | $4,374,922 | $208,000 | $7,450,434 |
To download a spreadsheet of this data, click here.
Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to current members of the 113th Congress since January 1, 2009, based on latest available data from the FEC as of March 17, 2013. Figures for American Farm Bureau include contributions made by state Farm Bureau PACs.