Government Relations

White House Announces Nutrition Conference

The White House announced the long-awaited White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, to be held in Washington this September, with the specific date yet to be announced. As the White House announcement said: “The Biden-Harris Administration has set a goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity in the U.S. by 2030 …

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Declaration of a National Emergency Extended; Important Beyond Protecting the Public from the Risks of COVID-19

On February 23, 2022, the Administration published in the Federal Register a Notice of “Continuation of the National Emergency Concerning Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic” to extend the national emergency declaration from  March 13, 2020.  The 2020 Declaration was due to expire on March 1, 2022 and, with this Administrative Order, the national emergency continues, …

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Farmers and Ranchers Can Now Access Online Reporting Portal to Report Potentially Unfair and Anticompetitive Practices

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched an online reporting portal, located at USDA’s Farmer Fairness website, to advance the goals of the “Biden-Harris Administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain” (the Action Plan).   By way of review, …

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FTC Proposes Rulemaking to Limit Impersonation Scams

On December 23th, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) targeting impersonation scams. Impersonation scams generally involve the scammer impersonating a trusted source to convince targets to send money or personal information. These scammers often pretend to be a part of government or well-known businesses.  To add legitimacy, …

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Israeli Minister for Agriculture Forer discusses Israeli-US Partnerships in U.S. Visit

On December 2, 2021, the Israeli Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Oded Forer concluded a three-day trip to Washington D.C. to strengthen Israel’s strategic partnership with the U.S. and other regional partners on agricultural issues. This trip included meetings with Senators, the USDA Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, and senior executives at the World …

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Federal Vaccine Mandates – Where Things Stand

Updated on December 7, 2021 All federal vaccine mandates stayed pending Court action   On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14042: Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors which mandated that employees of federal contractors be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, following recommendations of the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force. In early November 2021, …

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6th Circuit Selected in Lottery to Hear Lawsuits against OSHA ETS Vaccine and Testing Mandate

On November 16, 2021, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, through a lottery system, drew the 6th Circuit as the U.S. Court of Appeals that will hear the consolidated lawsuits against the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) published in the Federal Register on November 5, 2021. The OSHA ETS, which …

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USTR/USDA Holds Open Meeting to Discuss China Decrees 248 and 249

On Tuesday, November 16th, 2021, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) held an informal informational meeting on the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China’s (GACC) Decrees 248 and 249 affecting U.S. agricultural exports. The Decrees, which were published in 2019, set out new …

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Biden to Nominate Dr. Robert Califf as FDA Commissioner

On Friday November 12, 2021, President Biden nominated former United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf, a cardiologist by training, to again be FDA Commissioner, replacing acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock. Califf, 70, was the FDA Commissioner for a year at the end of the Obama Administration. He garnered broad support …

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UPDATE: Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate

Federal Contractors are being given additional time and flexibility to address the vaccination mandate – Employees must be fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022.   The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Contracting Officers Have Enormous Discretion To Add Vaccine Mandate Clause to Product Contracts.   …

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OSHA Releases ETS on Vaccine and Testing Mandate

On November 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) released the prepublished version of its expected new emergency temporary standard (ETS). The OSHA ETS (interim final rule; request for comments) was published in the Federal Register on November 5, 2021. The OSHA ETS requires employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that all their …

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FTC to Issue Final Rule to Combat “Made in USA” Fraud

On July 1st, the Federal Trade Commission voted 3-2 to publish the final Made in USA Labeling Rule in the Federal Register.  The rule is consistent with – and essentially codifies – its prior 1997 Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims, and provides the agency with enforcement tools to combat fraudulent claims.   The rule …

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Bob Dole and George McGovern: A Nutrition Legacy that Continues

For many years in the Senate, Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) teamed up with Senator George McGovern (D-SD) to create a legacy of bipartisan leadership on nutrition.  Working together in the 1970s, they completely reformed the Food Stamp Program (now SNAP); established the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations; with Senator Humphrey, created the Women’s Infants …

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Samantha Powers

What to Know Ahead of Samantha Power’s Committee Vote Tomorrow

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will finally be voting on the nomination of Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, for Administrator of the US Agency of International Development tomorrow. Power had her hearing on March 23 before the Senate Spring recess and her confirmation has been waiting to move forward. If confirmed, …

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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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