What’s the best place to debate a biotech rider in a continuing budget resolution that would, rather than continue to fund the government, protect a financially and politically powerful industry from any judicial ruling?
Not on the Senate floor, according to Jon Stewart, which is exactly where Jon Tester (D-MT) made the case for cutting the so-called Monsanto Protection Act. “Perhaps if he had written it in the memo field of a Monsanto lobbyist check, people would have seen it,” said Stewart on The Daily Show last night. He also points out that other riders in the bill restrict the ways the government can deal with guns.
But what gets Stewart the most is the issue of who wrote the Monsanto Protection Act—or rather that there’s no way of knowing. The addition was anonymous (although it was likely Senator Roy Blunt [R-MO)]), which is perfectly legit in the laws of the Senate, putting it in rare company with the lower rungs of “public” discourse: “The laws of the most powerful nation on earth are written with the same level of accountability as Internet comments,” says Stewart.
But even that comparison is unfair because, as The Daily Show points out, Internet comments are tagged with an I.P. address, making them far more traceable than the origins of the Monsanto Protection Act.