Regulation

Week ahead: Rider fight awaits spending bill's release

The year-end government-spending bill is due out Monday, and special interest groups are jockeying to accomplish their policy goals by lobbying lawmakers to add or exclude certain provisions.

Democrats rejected an initial offer from Republicans last week because it contained dozens of so-called poison-pill riders, including language to undo or roll back certain environmental regulations and Wall Street reforms under Dodd-Frank.

Members of the tobacco industry are hoping the bill will include language that changes the grandfather date in the Food and Drug Administration's new rules for cigars and electronic cigarettes. Under the proposed rule, all products that hit stores after Feb. 15, 2007, would have to apply retroactively for approval, a process that companies say would put them out of business. Industry groups have asked for the grandfather date to be changed to the day the rule is finalized.

Meanwhile, consumer groups fear a provision could squeak through that blocks states from issuing their own mandatory labeling laws for foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, known as GMOs.

Also on Monday, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) will hold a conference on gun violence in Sacramento, Calif. Survivors of gun violence, gun owners and gun dealers are expected to join lawmakers, mental health experts, law enforcement officials and former gang members to discuss how best to reduce gun violence.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans could also come this week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have said the dietary recommendations will be out by year-end and, with the holidays approaching, advocates are hoping that means this week.

The guidelines drew controversy earlier this year when the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee - a federally appointed panel of nutritionists - decided for the first time to factor in environmental sustainability in its recommendations.

The USDA and HHS, however, threw out the recommendation following outcry from industry groups. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack assured lawmakers in October that the guidelines would be based on dietary information only.

Nonetheless, industry groups and many in Congress are anxiously awaiting the release of the final guidelines.

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