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The Monsanto Protection Act: How Progressives Have Been Betrayed by Obama

Updated on April 15, 2013
Non-GMO vegetables
Non-GMO vegetables

When it comes to the issue of labeling and regulating foods made with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), Obama has betrayed progressives and libertarians alike at every turn. So much for "change." President Obama reversed the anti-GMO campaign promises he made in 2007, and to add insult to injury, he knowingly signed H.R. 933, which has been dubbed the Monsanto Protection Act, into law in April of 2013. He did so over the urgent pleas of more than 250,000 Americans who asked that he use his executive authority to veto it. Obama has a history of selling out on the issue of GMOs.


According to polls taken over the past few years, a large majority of Americans want GMO food labeled. Over 60 other countries require labeling of GMO foods, but the United States does not. When Obama campaigned for president in 2007, he promised to move towards labeling genetically engineered food immediately if he was elected. As of April 2013, this has not happened at the federal level. More recently, the Obama administration's response to the issue is:

"Genetically modified crops hold out the promise of benefits like increased production and reduced reliance on pesticides. At the same time, some Americans want more information to help them choose their food. President Obama understands these concerns and is considering additional steps in this area."


Many people object to GMOs because the health and environmental effects of GMO food crops are not fully understood. Several academic studies, including a prominent Russian study from 2012, suggest that GMOs cause cancer in mammals. Monsanto and Cargil are some of the corporations most responsible for the introduction of GMO products into the environment and food supply. Monsanto corporation has produced toxic products including Agent Orange, PCBs, rBGH, and Roundup. Monsanto also has a history of suing small farmers who's conventional crops have accidentally become contaminated with Monsanto seeds from nearby fields. Monsanto are also responsible for creating "terminator,' seeds, which cannot be saved and planted again the following year. Farmers have been saving seeds for thousands of years. The stated long term goals of companies like Monsanto and Cargil are to eventually monopolize the seed market by owning patents for every crop on earth.


Regardless of the whether GMO foods present a health or environmental threat, there is no denying that Obama has clearly reversed his position. Once Obama was elected president in 2008, he appointed Michael Taylor as Food Czar. Taylor was Monsanto`s chief attorney and lobbyist. The appointment of a Monsanto company man to the position of Food Czar is an egregious example of the revolving door phenomena. The revolving door phenomena is when former lobbyists and company executives are appointed to a key position within government which is responsible for regulating the same industry or companies which the regulators previously worked in. Appointing someone with strong corporate ties presents a conflict of interest. Appointees often go back to working at the corporation, or are still on the corporate payroll, once they resign from their positions within government.


To add insult to injury, Obama signed the so-called Monsanto protection act in April 2013. Both liberals and tea party members are up in arms about this unfortunate piece of legislation. A provision snuck into the biotech rider on the recent budget bill basically exempts biotech companies like Monsanto from judicial review. President Obama has signed the law, which means that Monsanto may be able to plant genetically modified seeds even if a court of law orders them to stop. While it remains to be seen whether this provision will be challenged and overturned, there is no denying that biotech corporations have enjoyed regulatory protection for years, thanks to the revolving door between government and biotech firms. Obama has done nothing to change the situation. In fact he has exacerbated it by signing the Monsanto Protection Act.

No matter that Michelle Obama planted an organic garden on the Whitehouse lawn. Her husband and his administration have no backbone, and have continually sold progressives out on issues of GMO labeling and regulation since the president was elected in 2008. There is no way to deny this fact. I am tired of progressives making excuses for Obama's betrayal of his stated principles.

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    • Leah Gold profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Gold 

      5 years ago

      Yes, I agree he is no saint. I've never been a supporter of his, so I'm not surprised. But there are people who fail to accept the reality of what you just said. They voted for him twice, even after he sold out on issues of major importance, like this one.

    • Alberic O profile image

      Alberic O 

      5 years ago from Any Clime, Any Place

      Yeah but the last thing he needed was a gov't shutdown, which he doesn't want to happen and will sacrifice his promises to keep it that way. Personally, I would have just let the shut down happen (because a President can't line item veto by law-they should change this) but that's just me. Obama was no saint from the beginning- he's just like any other politician.

    • Leah Gold profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Gold 

      5 years ago

      Yes, I agree that it was snuck into a larger piece of legislation. I hate it when the powers that be sneak controversial special interest provisions into bills - its dirty politics. But my point is that Obama knew about it in advance, because hundreds of thousands petitioned to try to get him to veto the bill. And, this is just one in a series of actions in which Obama has sold out on the issue of GMOs.

    • Alberic O profile image

      Alberic O 

      5 years ago from Any Clime, Any Place

      The part that is controversial is section 735 of the bill. It is the vagueness and the fact that there was never a hearing about this provision of this part of the bill (and the language) that concerns me.

      Now what's the reason why he signed it into law? Obama was so desperate to avoid a government shut down, he'll sign anything. He'll rather avoid cuts and let this part of the provision pass than veto the whole bill and have a gov't shut down (personally it's not bad). This 'Monsanto Protection Act' is a small portion of the bill that generally address funding for various Federal Agencies. It took me half and hour to read through the law and find this provision.

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