Federal Government Relations Update
(November 5, 2015) It’s been an extremely busy past week in DC, ranging from rare bipartisan deal making to new House leadership.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the new developments:
- House Selects New Speaker: A new era of leadership in the House began last Thursday as Paul Ryan (R-WI) was elected by his colleagues, earning 236 votes from the Republican caucus on his way to becoming the new Speaker of the House. With his new role, Speaker Ryan resigned as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the powerful committee in charge of tax policy. Ohio’s own Congressman Pat Tiberi has actively expressed his interest in the chairmanship and is thought to be one of the main contenders for the role.
- Budget Deal Passes: As we reported in last week’s Weekly Checkout, before former Speaker Boehner departed office, a budget deal was reached between the House, Senate and the White House. The bipartisan budget deal (H.R. 1314) gives some clarity to the government budget over the next two years and will suspend the debt limit until March 2017. Both the House and the Senate passed the bill late last week and President Obama expressed that he would sign the bill shortly.
- Menu Labeling Legislation Reported: Just yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health approved a substitute version of the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (H.R. 2017), legislation OGA has joined with NGA, FMI, and NACS in supporting that fixes FDA’s final menu labeling regulations. The modified language does not exempt supermarkets or any other retailers, but provides much needed flexibility to make the regulations workable in a grocery store setting, which go into effect December of 2016. Companion legislation, S. 2217, was recently introduced in the Senate as well. We encourage OGA members to take a few minutes and contact your Senators and ask for their support of S. 2217. Courtesy of NACS, you can send Senator Portman and Senator Brown a pre-drafted letter urging their support!
Substitute Bill Summary
- The legislation would apply the FDA menu labeling regulations only to foods that are standardized across 20 or more locations, allow for use of a menu board in a prepared foods area instead of individually labeling each item, provide more flexibility in determining a “reasonable basis” for documenting nutritional info, allow for corrective actions prior to enforcement, provide some liability protections, and allow items that are normally ordered off-premises (pizza delivery and potentially catering) to have nutritional information posted online (Courtesy of FMI).