Much of the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is schedule to go into effect in July, which means that between now and then, attempts by House Republicans to limit that authority are going to intensify. This week's episode of 90 Second Summaries examines some of those attempts.
Though these bills are unlikely to see real action on their own, look for a measure of this sort to be included as a rider on some must-pass piece of legislation.
This week, we look at H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and discuss how this proposal differs from the long-standing Hyde Amendment. Beyond the "forcible rape" controversy, which is expected to be resolved at the next opportunity to markup the bill, H.R. 3 represents the most aggressive attempt to expand upon the Hyde Amendment since it was first enacted in 1976. That is why we chose to summarize this bill as it compares to Hyde (if you need more info about the Hyde Amendment, you can find a link to learn more at the bottom of the page).
And this week's episode comes with a bonus video! David Waldman, the Editor in Chief of Congress Matters and our own Public Affairs Director, speaks in depth about the dangerous precedent that hides in H.R. 3. You can find that video below.
Lastly, in order to properly thank our sponsor without digging into the precious 90 seconds we have to summarize complicated pieces of legislation and other policy proposals, we have added a little bumper time. But we guarantee that every bit of summary fits into 90 seconds, and we introduced a countdown clock to prove it.
What's that you say? Get on with it? Sure thing...
We’re back with the Season 2 Premiere! This season will have double the suspense, double the hilarity, and it just might move you to tears… Okay, not really. Our 90 Second Summaries will be what they always were, a clean and simple set of legislative summaries designed to help folks on Main Street keep up.
To kick off the new season, we are going to roll out a couple summaries of the more interesting provisions of the new Adopting Rules Package of the 112th Congress (then we will take a couple weeks off to evaluate new legislation before us). This week, we are looking at the transparency provisions of the new rules. These provisions are important to understand, if only because it will require pressure to ensure that they are followed properly. Without further ado, we present Season 2, Episode 1:
As always, you'll find the one-pager below the fold...
We're nearing the end of our first season and to finish it off we are providing a couple summaries relating to changing the filibuster. Today we look at what is called the "Constitutional Option," which applies only to the first day of a new session of Congress. This is expected to come up at the beginning of the 112th session.
There are several reasons that we decided upon the Tester Amendment to the Food Safety Bill for episode 12 of 90 Second Summaries. First and foremost, the amendment is a significant one that is essential to understanding this piece of legislation (legislation we summarized in episode 7). Not only is it the most substantial difference between the Senate’s version of the bill and the House’s, but without it the future of the legislation itself would be unclear. Therefore, we think it is important that people understand how this amendment changes the bill.
Another significant influence in our decision was you. When we summarized the Food Safety Bill in episode 7 a number of viewers brought up the issue of protections for small farmers. It was clear to us that this amendment was worthy of a summary.
We expected this bill to get a cloture vote today, but they’re taking the week off and coming to it next Monday. Which makes sense, it’s not like they have a lot on their plate this lame duck session (other than this, DADT repeal, tax cut extensions, the DREAM Act and a new START Treaty, you know, minor stuff).
Status: The Tester Amendment has been included in the Manager’s Amendment to S. 510. A cloture vote is scheduled for November 29th. The Senate bill will then need to be merged with the H.R. 2749, the House version which does not include a similar provision to the Tester Amendment.
Purpose: S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, creates new regulations on the food industry intended to prevent food-borne illnesses. However, many believe it places undue burden on small farmers. Numerous national, state, and local organizations – repre
senting consumers, farmers and ranchers, local food producers and co-ops – quickly expressed their concerns regarding the proposed regulations.
In response, Senator Jon Tester proposed an amendment designed to protect those small and local farmers from burdensome safety regulations.
Summary: The Tester Amendment exempts small businesses from the regulations proposed in S. 510 and establishes some new guidelines for those businesses. Specifically, it:
• Exempts businesses that have annual sales of less than $500,000 and sell the majority of their products to consumers, or to restaurants and retailers within the State or within 275 miles. The Food and Drug Admini stration (FDA) will have the power to revoke an exemption if the facility has been associated with a foodborne illness outbreak.
• Exempts all “very small businesses,” to be defined by FDA.
• Defines farmer’s market sales as “direct-to-consumer” for FDA purposes
• Requires exempted businesses to submit to the FDA documentation that demonstrates that the facilities qualify for the exemption and are in compliance with state and local laws.
• Requires exempted businesses to put their business name and address on all product labels.
These businesses would not be exempt from any other existing or future regulations, only those established by this legislation
CBO Score: None provided.
Supporters: Small and local farm organizations,
• Supporters, argue that small farmers provide an important option for consumers and that the regulations proposed in S. 510 could push many of them out of business. The also point out that the recent, well-publicized incidents involving food-borne illnesses resulted from “industrial food supply chains” and not small farms.
Opposition: American Meat Institute, National Chicken Council, etc., and some food safety advocates
• Most opponents argue that federal food safety frameworks should apply to all segments of the food industry regardless of size, location, or type of operation.