Congress has been adjourned this month for the annual August recess. Most members, and many staff, have been away from Washington. Seemingly little negotiation has occurred on big-ticket items which members must address once they return. Perhaps the most looming item is appropriations, which must be addressed before September 30 to prevent a government shutdown. September is expected to be a busy month on Capitol Hill – in addition to appropriations, Congress must vote on the Iran nuclear agreement, transportation funding, and child nutrition reauthorization.
The U.S. is a step closer to enacting a consistent, national approach to certifying and labeling genetically modified (GMO) foods. A bill passed by the U.S. House today would alleviate food manufacturers’ burden of complying with differing state GMO labeling laws. However, the bill also would lead to an FDA-mandated definition of “natural,” among other provisions.
This month, Congress is focused on clearing its agenda prior to the month-long August recess. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate continue to hold appropriations hearings, attempting progress towards passage of legislation to fund the government past September 30. In addition, Congress is attempting to address funding for transportation programs which expires at the end of July, as well as moving legislation to address the drought in the Western United States, particularly California.
The FDA recently released a menu labeling Small Entity Compliance Guide. The guidance provides answers to what may be burning questions from operators considered small entities - which means they are "independently owned and operated and not dominant in its field of operation."
On November 20, President Obama announced executive action to
allow millions of undocumented immigrants to remain in the United
States temporarily and apply for work authorization. This executive
action also includes improvements to employment-based immigration
procedures and policies. All of these measures will significantly
impact U.S. employers and their employees.