Government Relations

OFW Law Mourns the Loss of George Braley (1948-2021)

On Sunday, March 28, 2021, George Braley, passed away from congestive heart failure.   Braley spent his career working to feed the hungry. Braley worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as Deputy Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service and later became the Senior Vice President at Feeding America for Government Relations and Public Policy. …

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Health Groups Sue HHS in Response to Trump Administration’s “Sunset Rule”

On March 9, several health groups including the American Lung Association and the Center for Science in the Public Interest joined Santa Clara County, California and other advocacy groups in a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over the Trump administration’s “sunset rule” in the U.S. District Court for the Northern …

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President Biden Revokes Trump Administration’s Executive Orders

On February 26, President Biden issued Executive Order (EO) 14018, which revoked a number of EOs and Declarations issued during the Trump Administration.  The orders revoked include: Executive Order 13772—Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System.  This EO outlined the Trump Administration’s financial regulatory principles and required the Department of Treasury to review …

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What’s Next for Neera Tanden?

On November 30th, President Joe Biden nominated Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the largest office within the Executive Office of the President tasked with producing the President’s Budget Request, reviewing rules and regulations, and coordinating policy initiatives across multiple agencies.  Ms. Tanden currently leads the Center for American Progress …

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The UN FOOD SYSTEM SUMMIT: Upside and Downside for US Agriculture

The UN Food System Summit (FSS), to be hosted by Secretary-General António Guterres as a part of the UN General Assembly this September, is generating increased attention for several reasons:   It’s fast approaching. Hunger is on the rise. The new Biden/Harris Administration is committed to international engagement and hunger reduction. US agriculture has much …

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Food and Drug Administration building

FDA Funding in the Energy & Commerce Reconciliation Bill

House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) announced that the committee will hold a markup on Thursday at 11:00 AM ET to consider legislative recommendations for its budget reconciliation instructions.  Section 3004 of the bill provides $500 million to the Food and Drug Administration to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by: Supporting the review …

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How Does Buying American Benefit U.S. Food, Agriculture, and Medical Products?

President Biden recently issued an Executive Order (EO) to harness the federal government’s purchasing power to bolster domestic manufacturing. The “Strengthening Buy American Provisions, Ensuring Future of America is Made in America by All of America’s Workers” intends to support American industry and American workers. Overall, this EO looks to close loopholes in existing “Buy American” policies …

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Food drive called "Stamp Out Hunger"

Oh, SNAP! SNAP Retailers Need to Watch Out for New FNS Entrapment Techniques

For decades, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has attempted to combat fraud by retailers and beneficiaries in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) with varying success.  Fraud levels were dramatically reduced after FNS rolled out the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system and discontinued the use of paper food stamps more than fifteen years ago.  …

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United States Department of Agriculture building

UPDATE: ATTACK ON FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HALTED

You may recall that back in October we told you about Executive Order 13957, “Creating Schedule F in the Excepted Service” which would have removed certain civil service protections for thousands of federal employees involved in decision and policy making roles.   Today, as part of multiple Executive Orders, President Biden eliminates Schedule F.  Read more about this …

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NIAA: What to Expect for Animal Agriculture in a Biden Administration

The National Institute of Animal Agriculture invited Chelsea Good, Vice President of Government & Industry Affairs at Livestock Marketing Association and John Dillard, Principal Attorney in the USDA Practice Group at OFW Law to provide insight on the incoming Biden Administration and what it will mean for the animal agriculture industry. From the Barn to …

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USDA Jamie L Whitten Building

Acting Officers at the USDA

After Congress certified the 2020 election, the Trump administration asked all of its political appointees to submit resignation letters by Inauguration Day. That same day, Agriculture Secretary Perdue issued a memo designating the following individuals as acting officers in their respective positions:   Jason Hafemeister, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs …

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US Capitol Building in Washington DC

Who Might Chair Senate Committees With A Democratic Majority

It appears that Reverend Warnock (D) has unseated Senator Loeffler (R) in Georgia and John Ossoff (D) is currently leading Senator Perdue (R). While we await the final results in Georgia, we thought it would be of interest to look at who is likely to chair the various Senate Committees should Democrats take the Senate majority.   …

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Regulatory Roundup: USDA Secretary, Vaccines for Meat and Poultry Line Workers, and NPIS’s Line Speed Proposal

There have been several recent events of note that will impact meat and poultry producers and processors. The recent election of President-elect Biden means there will be new leadership at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). President-elect Biden will also have the opportunity to appoint new leadership for the USDA Office of Food Safety. In …

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HHS’s Last Ditch Policy Moves – What is the End Game?

Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a proposed rule that would require sunset dates for its regulations, including regulations under its agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The proposed rule, “Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely,” flew …

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Transition Update: “Ascertainment”

It’s official!!   At this writing, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy has now notified President-Elect Biden that she is making available to him the resources available under the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, including funding, office space, access to agency officials, and so on, so that the transition to a new administration can proceed in earnest.  In …

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Transition Update: Moving Forward

At this writing, the administrator of the General Services Administration still has not issued the “ascertainment” finding needed to trigger the resources available to incoming President-Elect Joe Biden and his team under the Presidential Transition Act of 1963.  As a result, formal Transition activities – initial contacts between Biden-Harris agency review teams and career staff, …

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Transition Update: Biden announces agency Review Teams

As anticipated in our most recent Transition “Next Steps” post from Monday, the Biden-Harris Transition team on Tuesday this week announced its Agency Review teams.  These are the groups assigned to interact with each Federal agency, take inventory of pending issues, such personnel and agency management, budget, and policy, and report back an assessment that …

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A Midnight Attack on Federal Employees?

Late last week, in the final days of a presidential election, President Donald Trump issued an innocuous-sounding Executive Order (EO) that immediately raised eyebrows.   While described as a step to increase accountability for top policymakers, many experts see it as a threat to long standing Civil Service principles. The EO, unless overturned, could put at …

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2020 Dietary Guidelines Near the End of Stage One

On Wednesday, June 16, 2020, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) hosted a public meeting to review their draft scientific report. A new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is published every 5-years and developed in three stages: (I) Reviewing the science; (II) developing the guidelines; (III) implementation. The most recent meeting marks the …

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2020 Food Labeling Seminar Hosted by OFW and The Food Institute

OFW and The Food Institute will be holding their annual Food Labeling Seminar on October 7, 8, and 9. The virtual training course will cover everything you need to know about food labeling in today’s marketplace. This seminar will review the basics of FDA’s and USDA’s food labeling requirements, including recent updates. It will review …

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Policy Solutions to Climate Change through Agriculture and Forestry

The coronavirus has dominated the news cycle over the last five months and has disrupted nearly every industry, particularly agriculture and forestry. Leaders, innovators, and policymakers in these fields are looking for solutions that will mitigate future supply chain disruptions like the ones experienced due to the coronavirus. Therefore, it is not surprising that climate …

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ITC To Investigate the Impact of Blueberry Imports on US Domestic Producers

At the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has initiated an investigation to determine whether increased imports of fresh, chilled, or frozen blueberries are causing or threatening to cause serious injury to domestic blueberry producers.  If the ITC determines that they are, the President is authorized to take action …

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The History and Value of School Lunches

The Beginning The National School Lunch Program operates in 100,000 schools and is available to approximately 50 million children. We have all grown up with lunch in school, and perhaps breakfast too. But it was not always this way. School meal programs have been developing in the United States since the 19th century. As states began …

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COVID-19 and the Need for International Food Aid – A Growing Body of Evidence

“So today, with COVID-19, I want to stress that we are not only facing a global health pandemic but also a global humanitarian catastrophe. Millions of civilians living in conflict-scarred nations, including many women and children, face being pushed to the brink of starvation, with the specter of famine a very real and dangerous possibility.” David …

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