COOL Rules Delayed Two Years

WASHINGTON - Bargainers working on a $390 billion spending bill have agreed to block country-of-origin labeling for the next two years, lawmakers and aides said Saturday, according to The Associated Press.

The agreement was reached as congressional leaders strive to finish spending work that has been overdue since Oct. 1, when the new budget year began.

The two-year delay on country-of-origin food labels, which were imposed by the 2002 farm bill, will apply to meats, produce and farm-raised fish.

The House had voted last summer to block the labeling requirements from taking effect, which they were to do by September 2004. But the Senate, led by some Western lawmakers, voted to keep the labels on track.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D, criticized the two-year delay, which would expire after the next election.

"The Bush administration wants to kill" the labeling law, Daschle said. "They just don't want to do it before the presidential election because they know the majority of people in our nation want labeling."
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