Overnight Regulation: GMO fight headed to Senate

Welcome to OVERNIGHT REGULATION, your daily rundown of news from Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Monday evening here in Washington and pope-a-palooza officially starts tomorrow. We're preparing for the worst commute ever in welcoming Pope Francis to town.

Here's what else is happening.

 

THE BIG STORY

A fight over whether to label foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is heading to the Senate.

Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenHouse passes legislation to strengthen federal cybersecurity workforce The 19 GOP senators who voted for the T infrastructure bill The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands MORE (R-N.D.) is planning to introduce a House-backed bill to keep states from issuing mandatory labeling laws for foods that contain GMOs if he can get a Democratic co-sponsor and enough support in the Senate to move it through the upper chamber. 

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"It has to be bipartisan and it has to get enough votes to pass," his press secretary Don Canton told The Hill on Monday. "All those circumstances have to be there to introduce it." 

The legislation would be a companion bill to the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act that passed the House in July to create a federal standard for the voluntary labeling of foods with GMO ingredients. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who authored the bill, said he's more confident now than ever that it will get a Senate vote this year.

"The Agriculture Committee will be moving forward with a hearing before too long, and it'll get good bipartisan support and hopefully that will mean we'll get it to the floor," he said.

Opponents, however, hope Pompeo's optimism is unsubstantiated. 

"They've been trying to recruit a Democratic sponsor for quite some time," said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) "I'm not aware they have one yet."

DeFazio, who has come out strongly against the proposal, said the bill is poorly drafted and will keep states from protecting conventional and organic agriculture from being contaminated by neighboring GMO crops. 

"If they undo these reasonable state regulations to protect conventional and organic crops, they could really screw up the agriculture export industry in America, so I would hope the Senate isn't as stupid as the people in the House who wrote the bill," DeFazio said.  

Pompeo disagrees, saying his bill strikes a balance in the debate over whether or not to label.

"It protects the folks that want to avoid consuming GMOs, makes sure U.S. agriculture can continue to use the technology to feed the next billion people and avoids a nasty patchwork of laws," he said.

Read the full report: http://bit.ly/1gHtSx3

 

ON TAP FOR TUESDAY

Pope Francis arrives in Washington on Tuesday afternoon, but won't address Congress until later in the week.

Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), as well as environmental activist Tom Steyer, will speak about climate change ahead of the pope's visit, in a press call on Tuesday.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will discuss accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs during a hearing Tuesday morning. 

The House is in recess.

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

The Obama administration will publish 175 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register.

--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will propose changes to its firearms guidelines for nuclear facilities.

The new firearms guidelines are intended to cover security guards at nuclear facilities and would include provisions for "enhanced weapons authority" and mandatory background checks.

The NRC initially proposed updating the rules in 2011, and again in 2013.

The public has 75 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1V6lKEc

--The Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) will issue draft guidelines for the use of internal software.

The public has until Oct. 28 to comment. http://bit.ly/1We6veT

--The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will propose to continue monitoring the status of the bald eagle. 

The FWS removed the bald eagle from the list of endangered and threatened species in 2007, but continues to monitor the bird to make sure it flourishes in the wild.

"The purpose of this requirement is to detect any failure of a recovered species to sustain itself without the protections," the agency wrote.

The current information collection request expires at the end of the year, so the FWS is looking for an extension.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1KHC1hc

--The Office of Government Ethics will update its gift acceptance rule for federal government employees. 

The new rule goes into effect in 30 days. http://bit.ly/1j3uUFC

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

Animal rights: Animal rights activists are pressing the federal government to crack down on "abusive" dog breeders. http://bit.ly/1Ywh66V

Obesity: More than 20 percent of residents in every state are obese, a report released Monday found. http://bit.ly/1Ls6Mr7

Unions: Hispanic workers in labor unions make more money and have better health and retirement benefits than those who aren't members, according to a new reporthttp://bit.ly/1L1cj9s

Internet: Major tech companies and other supporters of the Federal Communications Commission's new Internet rules are expected to flood the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit on Monday with arguments in favor of the regulations.  http://bit.ly/1FYoqNd

Ebola: An Associated Press investigation has found that the World Health Organization and other responders faced avoidable obstacles in their efforts to stop the spiraling Ebola outbreak last summer in Sierra Leone, the AP reports. http://bit.ly/1NPytvX

Refugees: The Obama administration will increase the number of worldwide refugees the United States accepts annually to 100,000 by 2017, The New York Times reports. http://nyti.ms/1gHvuHe

Body cameras: The Department of Justice is doling out $20 million in federal grants to help 73 law enforcement agencies purchase and implement the use of body cameras, The Huffington Post reports. http://huff.to/1Ywk1wp

 

BY THE NUMBERS

24 pounds: How much more Americans weigh today on average than in 1960.

35.9 percent: The obesity rate in Arkansas, which is reported to have the highest percentage of obese residents of any state.

21.3 percent: The obesity rate in Colorado, which is reported to have the lowest rate.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Current regulations do not mandate even daily or weekly exercise, and many dogs are kept in their cages day in and day out, for years on end," animal rights activists write in a petition for stronger dog breeding regulations.

 

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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