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With more than 60 freshmen members of Congress on the way to Capitol Hill following the 2016 elections, CRN plots its legislative priorities for the 115th Congress.
In less than two months, the dietary supplements industry-and the rest of America-will be facing a new president, new members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, new state attorneys general, and more. The many new faces in high (and low) elected offices, as well as the shift toward a federal government broadly controlled by Republicans, may open up new opportunities to advance the priorities of the supplements industry, and the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, DC) is already plotting a path forward to work with the incoming, 115th Congress.
In a members-only webinar held on November 18, CRN’s legislative counsel examined what the new political landscape may mean for industry. To start with, the gains made by Republicans in the 2016 election could offer some advantages to businesses in general.
“We’re seeing a lot of red on the political map. As the Republican party now holds the majority of elected positions across the country, our industry can anticipate seeing a more pro-business environment,” said Mike Greene, vice president of government relations for CRN, in a press announcement. “However, our industry shouldn’t lose focus on self-regulatory efforts, nor should Democrats be ignored. When the pendulum swings in one direction, it invariably swings back-we are a bipartisan industry.”
As far as CRN’s top priorities for the industry under the new legislature, the trade association plans to strengthen its existing connections with members of the House and Senate, as well as set up meetings with each of the more than 60 new members of Congress. Greene also noted that each new Congress contains fewer members who were serving at the time the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) was passed, making it all the more important for CRN to build relationships with new members.
“Our job is to tell the industry’s story to members of Congress-a narrative that emphasizes how our members’ products contribute to healthier living and support jobs and economic growth,” Greene said. “At the same time, we have to address the negative, especially when faced with inaccurate claims that dietary supplements ‘aren’t regulated.’ It’s important for these new members to understand the comprehensive regulatory scheme that surrounds these products as well as the critical role supplements play in bettering the lives of their constituents.”
Some of the key legislative initiatives CRN plans to push on Capitol Hill will be including multivitamins in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program. Additionally, CRN plans to work toward legislation that allows consumers to use their pre-tax savings from healthcare savings accounts (HSA) and flexible spending accounts (FSA) for purchasing dietary supplements.
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