Fact Check

Critics of Section 753 of the budget bill claimed that it "requires the USDA to approve the harvest and sale of crops from genetically modified seed even if a court has ruled against the crop as being dangerous to public safety or the environment." The law is a provision relating to the regulation of genetically engineered crops. The text of the law says: "In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation..."

The words - "shall immediately grant" - are alarming activists who are already suspicious of genetically modified products dominating the food supply. "It goes a step beyond by forcing the agency to approve those permits or partial deregulation," said Colin O'Neil, director of government affairs at the Center for Food Safety. "There's an urgency written into the law that is going to stifle sound science and science-based regulation." Politifact learned from experts that the USDA issuing temporary permits for products in litigation is not new with this law. That was already the agency's practice.

Language in the law saying the USDA "shall" issue permits escalates that policy, with one expert telling us it "compels" the agency to allow the use of disputed products while litigation proceeds. "(Agriculture) Secretary (Tom) Vilsack has asked the Office of General Counsel to review this provision as it appears to pre-empt judicial review of a deregulatory action, which may make the provision unenforceable."

More on Obamacare. Report from former Senator Fred Thompson: Obamacare could raise insurance premiums by 200 percent. It's the "A-Ford-able Care Act" - your insurance costs as much as a new Explorer.

The health care law is so complex that it's difficult to predict its ultimate impact on premiums. Some parts of the law should reduce premiums (subsidies for lower-income Americans and rebates from insurers that charge too much for overhead) while other parts should increase premiums (a longer list of mandatory benefits). The overall impact will likely vary depending on your income and what type of insurance you buy.

The Republican report looks only at the non-group market, which, as Politifact noted, accounts for just 17 percent of the private-insurance market. The report says nothing about the large-group and small-group markets. Premiums for certain Americans could go up by 200 percent - but only for a very specific type of person, namely young, healthy people who have already bought insurance on the non-group market and will continue to do so. People seeing the largest increase would end up paying $2,200 in premiums after the law, far less than the $30,000 an actual new Explorer costs.

Thompson's tweet illustrates what can happen when eye-catching statistics are cherry-picked and repeated without the proper context.

"DID YOU KNOW?" Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington wrote "U.S. GHG emissions are at 20-year lows while global emissions are rising." This statement depends on a comparison of energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions - not all greenhouse gases - over three unusually warm winter months in 2012 to such emissions in the same months of 1992. Taking all the greenhouse gases into account, overall emissions were 11 percent higher in 2010 than 1990 - and also up 3 percent from 2009, when total emissions dipped considerably during the national recession.

www.politifact.com.