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WASHINGTON - An attempt to accelerate the implementation date of country-of-origin labeling to Jan. 1, 2005, instead of the present Sept. 30, 2006, was scuttled in a party-line, 14-14 tie vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
As part of the 2002 Farm Bill, the controversial mandatory labeling law was originally supposed to begin at the end of this month, but was later pushed back by Congress to September 30, 2006.
The committee also approved by voice vote an $84 billion measure to fund agriculture programs in fiscal year 2005, which begins Oct. 1, inclusive of $16.8 billion in discretionary funding for most USDA operations and for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The funding amount is nearly equivalent to the figure approved by the full House of Representatives in July.
The FSIS would receive $824 million, a 6 percent increase over the current funding level, according to reports, while $792 million is earmarked for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which represents an overall 10 percent increase.