By J. David Carlin, IDFA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs and Economic Policy
“Here in Washington, D.C., we have a front-row seat to the orderly and peaceful transfer of power when a new administration and a new Congress come to town in January. Since last Tuesday’s election, the wheels of change have begun moving, and IDFA sees both short-term and long-term policy opportunities for the dairy foods industry.
“Perhaps the most important challenge of a presidential transition is building the leadership teams that will staff all of the administrative agencies. It is a massive effort, but it is critical to the success of a new administration and its policy priorities.
“While all eyes are focused on what to expect in the new administration and new Congress, there is still quite a bit of unfinished business before the current Congress.
“The continuing resolution funding government operations will expire on Dec. 9, 2016, so congressional leaders will need to pass another continuing resolution or appropriations bill during this lame-duck session. IDFA will use this opportunity to try to include provisions that would allow low-fat flavored milk back into schools. There is bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for measures that could increase milk consumption among school-aged children.
“During the appropriations process, we are also working to delay any further reductions in sodium levels in the allowable school meal program, which are scheduled to go into effect in July 2017.
“Another challenge a new administration faces is how to move from fiery campaign rhetoric to thoughtful, effective policies to achieve its top priorities. Two of those priorities for President-elect Donald Trump are trade and immigration.
“While trade policy is stunted for the remainder of the year, IDFA will continue to advocate for trade agreements that will help to increase dairy export opportunities by supporting the reduction of trade barriers and by easing restrictions on the use of common food names.
“On immigration, IDFA will continue to advocate for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform that facilitates the employment of essential workers on the farm and in our manufacturing facilities. Our industry needs guest worker rules that recognize that cows need to be milked 365 days a year.
“It is clear from election results that President-elect Trump has strong support in the agricultural sector, so the Farm Bill is expected to become a priority for the new administration. IDFA will continue to collaborate with food industry and business organizations, as well as farm and consumer groups, to advance policies that acknowledge the value of the U.S. dairy industry and the jobs it creates. We will work collaboratively to support the growth of domestic and global dairy markets and promote milk and dairy products as part of a healthy diet for all Americans.
“IDFA congratulates President-elect Trump and looks forward to working with his administration as well as the re-elected and newly elected members of the 115th Congress.”
For more information, contact Carlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.