Hope and change strikes again. A provision many are dubbing the “Monsanto Protection Act” was covertly inserted into the Agricultural Appropriations Bill that President Obama signed Tuesday. The provision protects genetically modified food interests from litigation.

The provision protects genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks and has thus been dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act” by activists who oppose the biotech giant. President Barack Obama signed the spending bill, including the provision, into law on Tuesday

Since the act’s passing, more than 250,000 people have signed a petition opposing the provision and a rally, consisting largely of farmers organized by the Food Democracy Now network, protested outside the White House Wednesday. Not only has anger been directed at the Monsanto Protection Act’s content, but the way in which the provision was passed through Congress without appropriate review by the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees. The biotech rider instead was introduced anonymously as the larger bill progressed — little wonder food activists are accusing lobbyists and Congress members of backroom dealings.

Pretty awful even by Washington standards. America is one of the few developed countries that does not even label its foods to tell consumers if they have been genetically modified. Now the GM companies get litigation protection from health risks? Not to mention this provision was passed in secret by the most transparent administration in history ™.

“In this hidden backroom deal, Sen. Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement, according to IBT. “This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Sen. Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate.”

Many members of Congress were unaware that the “Monsanto Protection Act” even existed. They voted for HR933 to avoid a shutdown not exempt Monsanto and the GM companies from the rule of law. Maybe Monsanto was jealous of Wall Street.