On Saturday the Senate approved the conference report for H.R. 2055, the final fiscal year 2012 spending measure that will fund the federal government through September 2012. The President is set to sign the bill any time before the expiration on December 23 of a six-day continuing resolution that both houses passed so that necessary steps could be taken to implement the $1 trillion omnibus.
One important provision in the spending measure that has been overlooked is language that prohibits the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children (IWG) from completing the draft report that proposed alarming guidelines for food marketing unless the IWG “complies with Executive Order 13563.” The executive order affirms the principles of sound regulations and reads:
Our regulatory system must protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation. It must be based on the best available science.
In its proposal for sweeping guidelines for food marketing, the IWG fails to provide evidence that their recommendations would reduce childhood obesity by any measure. Furthermore, the IWG does not account for the impact of the proposed guidelines, failing to address expected costs or benefits.
According to the President’s edict, the U.S. regulatory system “must take into account benefits and costs, both quantitative and qualitative.” Moreover, the proposed nutrition guidelines conflict with standards set by other federal food programs including USDA’s Women, Infants, and Children program. The President’s executive order explicitly promotes greater coordination across agencies.
The NAM is committed to ensuring the IWG complies with the letter and intent of the legislative language included in H.R. 2055.
The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States employs 14 million workers, generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year. The IWG’s proposal would hinder economic growth and cost jobs at a time when the economy can least afford it.
Manufacturers applaud the actions of Congress and urge the IWG to comply with the spirit of the law.
Erik Glavich is director of legal and regulatory policy, National Association of Manufacturers.