“Lots of people were discouraged because Sen. Rand Paul’s proposed amendment to reign in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was overwhelmingly defeated last week. It would have prohibited FDA agents from carrying weapons and making arrests as well as liberalized the rule on advertising of various foods’ health benefits. (The amendment’s text and the vote of individual senators is shown here.)
I have a different take. I find it encouraging, first, that a senator even made this sort of proposal and, second, that 15 per cent of the senators supported it.
You have to remember the context in which Sen. Paul made his proposal. The FDA has long been a sacred cow in the Congress, much like the Federal Reserve Bank has long been a sacred cow. Both these agencies-organizations have for many years obtained whatever they want from Congress, with little in the way of pushback. Over the last year, we’ve been seeing some pushback involving the Fed. And now we are seeing pushback against the FDA. (I know, there are some who will argue that the FDA’s budget has remained level in recent years, but on the important matters–those of power and authority–the FDA has been doing pretty much what it wants.)
It’s not just that there’s pushback, but there’s the cause of the pushback. Senators have now been alerted that at least some of their constituents are upset that the FDA has created its own police force that bullies small farmers and producers of nutritional supplements….”