Here’s what happened:
The food safety measure passed in the Senate 73-25 in November, but a procedural snafu voided the vote. In order to send the bill to the president’s desk, House leaders decided to attach it to the emergency year-end spending legislation.
What was the procedural snafu? The phrase there makes it sound quaint and innocent, and it was, if you regard following the rules of the Constitution as that. (Basically: decisions on spending are supposed to originate in the House; the bill originated in the Senate, hence #fail. Generally the Senate gets around this by—and here’s some legislative metaphysics for you—taking a dead House bill that’s lying around and putting whatever spending bill they want on the inside. They didn’t do it, which is a major cock-up.)
Of all the missed opportunities of the past two years—most of which were institutionally rather than individually determined—this has to rank as the worst, because it was so easily avoidable. Don’t forget to cross those eyes, dot those tees.