OVERNIGHT REGULATION: Lawmakers skeptical of ObamaCare calorie counts

Welcome to OVERNIGHT REGULATION, your daily rundown of news from Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Thursday evening here in Washington and you can wish Lydia a happy birthday @wheelerlydia.

Here's the latest.

 

THE BIG STORY

A controversial ObamaCare rule that requires restaurants to list the number of calories in the food they sell misses the mark, lawmakers say.

The Food and Drug Administration's menu-labeling requirements are coming under attack on Capitol Hill as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle look to roll back the rules.

The calorie counting rules are supposed to help consumers improve their diets, but lawmakers questioned how effective they will be during a Thursday hearing. http://bit.ly/1HNqVSj

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"We still have a problem with obesity in our country," Rep. Gene GreenRaymond (Gene) Eugene GreenTexas New Members 2019 Two Democrats become first Texas Latinas to serve in Congress Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 MORE (D-Texas) said. "We're not going to stop people from eating what they want to. I'm going to go to Dominos or Dunkin' or get enchiladas in Texas at one of our convenience stores."

The lawmakers were debating the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, backed by Reps. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersSocial determinants of health — health care isn't just bugs and bacteria Lawmakers deride FTC settlement as weak on Facebook Overnight Energy: Fight over fuel standards intensifies | Democrats grill Trump officials over rule rollback | California official blasts EPA chief over broken talks | Former EPA official says Wheeler lied to Congress MORE (R-Wash.) and Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), which would curb the calorie-counting rules.

Restaurants would still be required to provide calorie counts for regular menu items under the legislation, but most grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations and movie theaters would be exempted.

McMorris criticized the requirements for being a "cookie cutter" one-size-fits-all approach. She suggested restaurants and grocery stores should be regulated differently.

Her legislation would also leave room for restaurants to provide their menu labels online as opposed to in the store.

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) called the calorie rules an example of a "nanny state."

"I don't think I've ever in my life read a menu label," Shimkus said. "I don't think I've ever looked for calorie numbers on anything that I've consumed. And I bet that I'm in the majority of Americans."

The FDA issued the controversial menu labeling requirements last November.

But the pressure is growing on Capitol Hill as Republicans and some Democrats have come out against the rules.

 

ON TAP FOR FRIDAY

Neither House nor Senate are in session tomorrow.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration will hold a hearing to discuss the current status of regulatory science initiatives for generic drugs and to provide an opportunity for public input on research priorities in this area. http://1.usa.gov/1Quf3tg

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

The Obama administration will publish 222 new regulations, proposed rules notices and other administrative actions in Thursday's edition of the Federal Register.

Here's what to watch for:

--The Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled will issue new rules for military commissary stores.

These stores buy groceries and other goods from nonprofit organizations and resell them to soldiers. The new rules would impact how the military tracks these groceries.

The new rules go into effect on June 5. http://bit.ly/1dhBXan

--The Department of Energy (DOE) will issue new energy conservation standards for ballasts, which regulate current, in fluorescent lamps.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy proposed the rules last December before moving to finalize them Friday.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days. http://bit.ly/1dPFbTq

--The Bureau of Prisons will issue new rules for screening inmates.

Prison officials will be allowed to use body imaging search devices for routine and random searches of inmates, the agency says.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days. http://bit.ly/1FWOaLH

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

Unfunded mandates: Regulators have cost states nearly $35 billion in unfunded mandates and 75 million hours in burdensome paperwork since President Obama took office, according to a new report from the conservative leaning American Action Forum (AAF). http://1.usa.gov/1FUftpY

Sexual assaults: House Democrats want to end sexual assault on college campuses by holding educational institutions accountable when they dodge their legal responsibilities to respond to these crimes. http://bit.ly/1EYpLl1

Menu labeling: A controversial ObamaCare rule that requires restaurants to list the number of calories in the food they sell misses the mark, lawmakers said Thursday. http://bit.ly/1HNqVSj

Fracking: Hydraulic fracturing has not caused any major harm to drinking water supplies, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded Thursday. http://bit.ly/1AQ1IJK

Car seats: Of 377 child car seats tested, nearly three-quarters were found to contain toxic flame retardant chemicals, according to new research from the Ecology Center released Thursday. http://bit.ly/1GnaNMB

Female Viagra: Proponents of a new drug to boost the female libido say the Food and Drug Administration is applying a double standard to its review of a drug some are calling the female Viagra, NPR reports. http://n.pr/1IgApZf

Smoking: California is considering raising the smoking age to 21, The Washington Post reports. http://wapo.st/1KP8UJu

Data for deals: Many Americans do not think trading their personal data for personalized services, giveaways or discounts is a fair deal, according to a new study, The New York Times reports. http://nyti.ms/1M8ovkR

 

BY THE NUMBERS

123: The number of sexual violence cases on college campuses now under investigation by the Department of Education.

113: The number of universities involved in those open sexual violence cases.

20 percent: The number of young women who are victims of sexual violence during their college years, a figure cited by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.).

6 percent: The number of young men who are victims of sexual violence during their college years, according to Speier.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"If what you do is sit in front of your TV and eat our food and that's all you do, you will get fat... Get off your butt, and move," -- Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) talking about the FDA's calorie counting rules.

 

We’ll work to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page (http://thehill.com/regulation) early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, tdevaney@thehill.com or lwheeler@thehill.com. And follow us at @timdevaney and@wheelerlydia.

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