Recently in Washington
On Tuesday, the House passed H.Res.5, Adopting rules for the One Hundred Fifteenth Congress, by a vote of 234-193. On Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 21, the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017, by a vote of 238-184. This legislation amends the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow joint resolutions disapproving en bloc regulations submitted to Congress for review within 60 legislative days of the end of a presidential term. Under current law, Congress can only use the CRA to disapprove one regulation at a time. The House also passed H.Res.11, a resolution objecting to the United Nations Resolution 2334 as an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace, by a vote of 342-80. The U.N. resolution states that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity.” Further, it demanded Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The United States has opposed, and at times vetoed, United Nations Security Council resolutions dictating additional binding parameters on the peace process. H.Res. 11 calls for the repeal of the U.N. resolution and makes clear that the Obama Administration's failure to veto it violated longstanding U.S. policy to protect Israel from such a one-sided resolutions. Finally, the House passed H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017, by a vote of 237-187. This legislation amends the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to require congressional approval of major agency regulations costing more than $100 million in economic impact, before those regulations can go into effect. Congressman Simpson supported all four pieces of legislation.
Simpson Votes to Reform the Federal Regulatory Process
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson voted for two pieces of regulatory reform legislation to prevent regulatory overreach by the Obama administration during its final days and to return accountability and transparency to the federal regulatory process. The total cost of regulations imposed by federal agencies is estimated at $1.88 trillion annually.
“Each year, federal agencies issue regulations without considering both their cost and benefits,” said Simpson. “Congress needs to reestablish its authority to oversee these rules in order to reduce the burden on all businesses and stimulate real economic growth.”
As a first step, on Wednesday, Simpson voted in favor of H.R. 21, the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 238-184.
“Throughout his term in office, President Obama has disregarded the economic impact of his regulatory actions on the American people,” said Simpson. “We do not intend to allow this administration to continue imposing its onerous regulations without the consent of Congress in its final days. This legislation would provide Congress the flexibility to swiftly disapprove of any attempt to push forward these burdensome rules.”
The Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017 amends the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow for joint resolutions to disapprove of more than one regulation at a time if they are submitted to Congress during the last 60 legislative days of a presidential term.
On Thursday, Simpson voted in favor of the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017, H.R. 26, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives today by a vote of 237-187. Simpson was also a cosponsor of the REINS Act.
“Congress has a critical oversight role to play to ensure that federal agencies are not overreaching their authority and impeding job growth,” said Simpson. “I have heard from countless Idahoans who are frustrated with the impact of costly regulations on their ability to do business.”
The REINS Act amends the CRA to require Congress to approve every new major regulation proposed by federal agencies, including any regulation that has an impact of over $100 million per year. By returning to Congress its constitutional charge, the REINS Act further holds Congress accountable to the American people for laws imposed upon them.
Both H.R. 21 and H.R. 26 now move to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
MONDAY, JANUARY 9TH
1) H.R. 309 - National Clinical Care Commission Act (Sponsored by Rep. Pete Olson / Energy and Commerce Committee)
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10TH
1) H.R. 306 - Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (Sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo / Energy and Commerce Committee)
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11TH AND THE BALANCE OF THE WEEK
In the News
Idaho Representative Disputes names of alternate forms of milk
By Jeffrey Dahdah, KMVT/KSVT, December 28, 2016
Any grocery store has a milk isle, and on those shelves are cartons claiming to be milk from a variety of sources. Almond, soy, rice and many others. Then there is just the label of "milk."
"There is an absolute legal definition of milk," said Eric Bastian, the Vice President of industry with the United Dairymen of Idaho. "It's defined as a lacteal secretion from the milking of one or more healthy cows that is practically free from colostrum."
That is in the code of federal regulations, title 21, part 131.110. Alternative forms of milk don't fit that description. Because of that opponents of those products say they shouldn't be labeled as milk.
In December Idaho Representative Mike Simpson took that stance. He and 24 other members of congress signed a letter to the FDA asking them to take action on companies that sell products claiming to be milk.
In the letter they argue that "While consumers are entitled to choose imitation products, it is mileading and illegal for manufacturers of these items to profit from the 'milk' name."
"It's not new, but it is time that the issue is addressed," said Bob Naerebout with the Idaho Dairymen's Association.
He says that calling these products milk is false advertising.
"So it is a little bit deceptive to call any of those vegetable products as milk," Naerebout said.
That's something that alternative milk companies deny. The Soyfoods Association of North America cites a 2006 consumer study in its defense. The study says that there is "No confusion between soymilk and cow's milk."
The Soyfoods Association says the term "soymilk" has been around for more than 100 years. In 1997 they petitioned the FDA to recognize the name "soymilk" as a common or usual name. The FDA never made a decision on that request.
For dairymen the concept is simple.
"If those products do not have milk in them, they should not have milk on the label," Naerebout said.
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