The IDFA legislative staff continues to work with congressional members and their staffs on three issues of specific importance to dairy: child nutrition reauthorization, truck weight reform and the labeling of foods containing ingredients made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Working with industry coalitions, IDFA encourages members to bring their voices to Washington, D.C., the week of October 5 to participate in a series of legislative fly-ins on truck weights and GMOs.
Although the Senate Agriculture Committee planned last week to mark up a replacement for the existing child nutrition bill – the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 – action was delayed so committee members could resolve outstanding issues needed to gain the support of Democrats.
IDFA believes Congress is actively working on a bill, and members of Congress need to hear from dairy companies now. If the bill is not approved before the current legislation expires on September 30, a short extension may be necessary.
Truck Weight Reform
October 5-9: IDFA is working with the Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP) to encourage members interested in increasing truck weights to make visits on Capitol Hill to push for passage of the Safe Trucking Act, (H.R. 3488). The Act, introduced by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI), would allow states to permit up to 91,000 pound six-axle trucks for Interstate highway use, an increase from the current standard of 80,000 pounds for five-axle trucks.
“We are asking all members to consider joining us and bring as many of your colleagues with you as possible,” said Ashley Burch, IDFA director of political programs. “Some coalition members are bringing themselves, some are bringing five to 10 colleagues and one company is bringing 22 employees for the effort. Please join them so that we can ensure the dairy industry is represented on this important issue.”
IDFA will schedule meetings for members, provide lobbying material and coordinate with others in the coalition to generate additional meetings that IDFA members can join. All participants will be invited to a dinner hosted by the Forest Resources Association on October 7 that will feature Rep. Ribble. Members planning to participate should contact Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
October 6-7: IDFA also is working with the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food (CFSAF), which supports the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, introduced by Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS). This bill would establish a federal labeling standard for foods with ingredients from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The coalition is scheduling meetings on Capitol Hill, primarily on October 7.
“There is no Senate companion bill yet, but we know that Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) has been working on one and is actively seeking bipartisan support,” said Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs. “We anticipate that it will be introduced sometime this fall, so there’s still time to speak to your senators about your views on GMO labeling.”
More than 20 states have been identified as key targets for the fly-in congressional meetings: Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Meetings also may be scheduled for members from other states who are interested in participating.
“As the fly-ins happen to overlap, this is an excellent opportunity for companies that are interested in either or both of these issues to actively contribute to the effort to support these two key pieces of legislation,” said Dave Carlin, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy. “The IDFA staff will be available to provide support.”
For more information, contact Burch at email@example.com.