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  • Issue Brief posted April 7, 2014 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield The “Heat and Eat” Food Stamp Loophole and the Outdated Cost Projections for Farm Programs

    In February, Congress passed a new farm bill that lacked meaningful and necessary reform. Making matters worse, Congress made critical mistakes that will have a major impact on both food stamps and farm programs. The most significant attempt at food stamp reform was to close the “heat and eat” loophole, which allows states to artificially boost the amount of food stamps…

  • Issue Brief posted February 28, 2014 by Daren Bakst Is the FDA Getting Out of Control?

    Acting on its own volition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is using the regulatory process to gain unprecedented control of food policy and remove dietary choices from Americans. Similar to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the FDA is pushing extreme policies to regulate in areas that have never been federally regulated. Recent examples highlight this…

  • Commentary posted January 30, 2014 by Daren Bakst The Farm Bill Would Make a Soviet Central Planner Blush

    Every five years, Congress takes a holiday from the principles that made this country great and turn to central planning policies that were in vogue in 1933. This nightmare holiday is the farm bill. Right on cue, the current House passed a nearly $1 trillion farm bill Wednesday that puts faith in Washington, DC and disrespects the farmers and ranchers who actually make…

  • Issue Brief posted January 27, 2014 by Nicolas Loris, Daren Bakst West Virginia Chemical Spill: Learn Lessons and Let States Lead

    On January 9, a leak in an above-ground storage facility spilled chemicals into the Elk River near Charleston, West Virginia, contaminating potable water affecting nine counties. But environmental pressure groups and big-government proponents are using the spill to serve their own agendas. While the incident warrants investigation and thoughtful examination of the…

  • Issue Brief posted January 8, 2014 by Daren Bakst EPA and the Corps Ignoring Sound Science on Critical Clean Water Act Regulations

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers have drafted regulations that would clarify what kinds of bodies of water are covered under the Clean Water Act (CWA).[1] This new definition would serve as the foundation of the CWA, determining the reach of the federal government’s jurisdiction under this law. The EPA is developing a scientific…

  • Issue Brief posted December 4, 2013 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield Eight Things to Watch for in the Farm Bill

    The House and Senate are working out differences between their farm bills.[1] Since both bills are seriously flawed, any bill that the negotiators produce is also likely to have major problems. The following is a list of major questions to consider if the negotiators do come up with a farm bill. 1. Will Congress Continue to Play Politics with the Farm Bill by Combining…

  • Commentary posted November 18, 2013 by Daren Bakst FDA’s proposed trans fat ban is a power grab to control lives

    The Food and Drug Administration has taken the first step to ban trans fat. In so doing, it also took the first step to drastically undermine the integrity of the agency. Instead of protecting Americans from unreasonable risks, the agency has effectively decided to change its mission to nutrition activist. In its own announcements regarding the proposed ban, the…

  • Commentary posted November 4, 2013 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield The 'farm bill' is costing Americans billions

    The "farm bill"? Hardly. What the House and Senate are working on now, as they iron out the differences between their respective versions of this legislation, has little to do with agriculture. And it's proving very costly for every American. Based on projected costs, these massive bills are about $150 billion more expensive than the Obama stimulus bill. And about 80…

  • Issue Brief posted October 8, 2013 by Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield A Comparison of the House and Senate Farm Bills

    Congress continues to treat agriculture as if it were 1933 instead of 2013. Agriculture is a cutting-edge sector of the economy that continues to innovate and produce more food with fewer resources. Yet, every five years when the farm bill is up for renewal, many legislators, including those who claim to be pro–free market and limited government, push a farm bill that is…

  • Issue Brief posted September 9, 2013 by Daren Bakst An Extension Is the Only Way to Properly Reform the Farm Bill

    In September, there will be only nine legislative days in the House before some farm bill programs expire at the end of the month. Even during a relatively quiet legislative period, this small window to develop real reform would be insufficient. As the debt ceiling looms and the nation could become militarily engaged in Syria, developing real reform becomes impossible.…

  • Issue Brief posted September 3, 2013 by Daren Bakst Government Control of Your Diet: Threats to “Freedom to Eat”

    Many politicians and self-appointed nutrition czars see Americans as incapable of making decisions about a basic necessity of life: eating. Therefore, they feel that government at all levels must try to control their diets. This control means trying to direct people to eat a certain way or expressly prohibiting or banning the consumption of certain foods. Government…

  • Commentary posted August 21, 2013 by Daren Bakst ObamaCare and the Food Police

    Chain restaurants and their customers will soon feel the pinch of an expensive ObamaCare requirement that has been flying under the radar until now.  ObamaCare mandates that "restaurants and similar retail food establishments" print nutritional information on their menus. The restaurant industry is extremely competitive. If consumers demand menu labeling, restaurants…

  • Issue Brief posted August 20, 2013 by Daren Bakst Food Safety Rules: Rushed Deadlines Will Lead to Disaster

    In 2011, President Barack Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law,[1] giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unprecedented power to regulate the country’s food supply.[2]   This new power includes the first time that the FDA has the authority to establish standards for the production and harvesting of produce and to identify preventive…

  • Issue Brief posted August 6, 2013 by Daren Bakst Obamacare’s Menu Labeling Law: The Food Police Are Coming

    Obamacare requires restaurant chains to provide caloric and other nutritional information to customers on standard menu items.[1] The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is implementing this provision, could finalize its menu labeling rule this fall or even sooner. The FDA estimates that first-year compliance costs could be as high as $537 million for all regulated…

  • Backgrounder posted July 2, 2013 by Daren Bakst, Romina Boccia Congress Could Cut Five USDA Programs and Save $2.8 Billion a Year

    On June 13, 2013, the House Appropriations Committee approved its $19.5 billion Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2014.[1] The full House is expected to take up the bill soon. With nearly $17 trillion in federal debt and chronic deficits on the budget horizon, the House should pursue…