Overnight Regulation: GMO labeling bill heads to markup

Welcome to OVERNIGHT REGULATION, your daily rundown of news from Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Monday evening here in Washington and we're a little sad Shark Week on the Discovery Channel is over. Maybe the feds are too. http://bit.ly/1RuIQYD

Here's the latest.



A bill to keep the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, voluntary is headed to the House Agriculture Committee for a markup on Tuesday.

The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, offered by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) in March, would create a federal standard for voluntary labeling, while pre-empting states from passing their own mandatory GMO labeling laws and preventing local governments from regulating the production of GMO crops.

Though the bill has bipartisan support with Rep. G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldBlack Caucus members lobby Biden to tap Shalanda Young for OMB head Bickering Democrats return with divisions Congress must protect kidney disease patients during the COVID-19 pandemic MORE (D-N.C.) a co-sponsor, consumer groups have called on lawmakers to kill the measure they say is backed by big business.


The Center for Food Safety said it opposes the bill because it would overturn mandatory labeling laws that have already passed in Vermont, Connecticut and Maine.

Groups are calling Pompeo's bill the Denying Americans the Right-to-Know (DARK) Act because they say it will keep consumers in the dark about what foods contain GMOs even as polls show that 92 percent of Americans favor mandatory labeling laws.

Opponents instead are pushing Congress to pass the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act that was offered in the upper chamber by Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerTrump administration halting imports of cotton, tomatoes from Uighur region of China Biden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status Questions and answers about the Electoral College challenges MORE (D-Calif.) and in the House by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).

The Right to Know Act would require labels for all foods produced using genetically engineering ingredients and prohibit manufacturers from labeling genetically modified foods as natural. 

The full House Agriculture Committee will meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday to discuss and mark up Pompeo's bill.

The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, which is a proponent of the bill, said the legislation's momentum is a testament to the science-based, consumer-friendly labeling framework it will create and the understanding among members of Congress that a state patchwork of mandatory labeling laws will be harmful to consumers - raising food costs and reducing choices in the marketplace. 



The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will have a hearing on unlocking the cures for America's most deadly diseases. http://1.usa.gov/1K2BNlM

The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee will hold a hearing on challenges and opportunities for small businesses engaged in energy development and energy intensive manufacturing. http://1.usa.gov/1GhWr9H

The House Financial Services' Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Federal Reserve and what Republicans worry is a "lack of transparency and accountability." http://1.usa.gov/1M2jM6J

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a full committee hearing on criminal justice reform. http://1.usa.gov/1dWOyzT

The House Energy and Commerce Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing on oversight on pipeline safety and related issues. http://1.usa.gov/1MlafFN



The Obama administration will publish 289 new regulations, proposed rules, notices, and other administrative actions in Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register.

Here's what to watch for:

--The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will propose listing angel sharks as an endangered species.

The sawback angel shark, smoothback angel shark, and common angel shark would all be protected under the agency's proposal, which comes in response to a petition from WildEarth Guardians.

But the NMFS is not proposing to establish a critical habitat for these angel sharks, because their geographical range falls outside the United States.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1HDKKLE

--The Department of Transportation (DOT) will establish new national inspection standards for highway tunnels.

The Transportation Department's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will require tunnel owners to "establish a program for the inspection of highway tunnels, to maintain a tunnel inventory, to report the inspection findings to FHWA, and to correct any critical findings found during these inspections."

The new rules go into effect in 30 days. http://bit.ly/1HqEeLi

--The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will propose new swap trading requirements under the Dodd-Frank financial reform laws.

The CFTC is developing margin requirements for cross-border swap transactions.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1DcKsKN

--The Department of Energy (DOE) will consider new energy conservation standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to hammer out new efficiency rules for air conditioners and heat pumps.

The group will hold a public meeting on Aug. 26. http://bit.ly/1K4rnzg



Labor: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) a "national disgrace," after the Republican entered the race for president. http://bit.ly/1HYn2jH

LGBT: The majority of small business owners say they are in favor of more protections to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. http://bit.ly/1RuBOD7

Water: The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) controversial water rule is facing a new legal challenge from business groups. http://bit.ly/1DcoE1C

Pot: Airplane passengers flying in Oregon will be allowed to carry marijuana on their flights, according to a Portland television station. http://bit.ly/1O18ez8

Food: Lawmakers will consider legislation for voluntarily labeling genetically modified organisms when they appear in foods. http://bit.ly/1HYo1QG

Nursing homes: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is developing legislation to improve the conditions of nursing homes. http://bit.ly/1O7GKbN



59 percent: Number of small businesses owners who said they oppose laws that allow individuals, associations or businesses to legally refuse service to anyone based on religious beliefs. 

55 percent: Number of Republican small business owners who oppose denying goods or services based on an owner's religious beliefs.

62 percent: Number of Christian small business owners who oppose denying goods or services based on an owner's religious beliefs.

(Source: A poll commissioned by Small Business Majority)



"Scott Walker is a national disgrace," AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said in the statement. Walker may be the GOP presidential contender labor groups dislike the most after he weakened public sector unions in his home state.


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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