While many state legislatures have adjourned for the year, the federal government is plugging away. Congress is racing to finish several legislative priorities before the August district work period and federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are diligently working on key child nutrition and tobacco control measures.
In short, a lot is happening in Washington D.C. so we thought it was time to provide an update on some of our federal priorities. As usual, this is by no means a comprehensive list of all we are working on at the federal level so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].
• Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival: Better known as CARES. This registry tracks out of hospital cardiac arrests and outcomes to give public health officials the information they need to save more lives. This information is proven to work and we are asking the federal government to fully fund the registry so all Americans, regardless of where they live can lead longer, healthier lives. YTC advocates have sent thousands of messages in support of CARES and met with key Representatives and Senators from across the country in May and June. These meetings have set us up well as Congress begins their appropriations process. Committee hearings and markups are under way so we will need to watch for any new developments and ways to support.
• Keep Kids Fed Act Passes!!!: In late June, the President signed the Keep Kids Fed Act (KKFA) into law. YTC advocates sent thousands of messages and made thousands of calls to U.S. representatives and senators and thanks to you, we got a win! Because of KKFA, millions of children avoided falling off a summer nutrition security cliff. KKFA extends USDA waiver authority that allows programs to feed all kids through the summer and increases the reimbursement rate for the breakfast and lunch programs to schools for next school year. This will allow schools to focus on feeding kids nutritious foods, mitigating the effects of the supply chain disruptions, higher costs of food, and labor shortage.
• Child Nutrition Reauthorization: The United States House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee are voting on a child nutrition reauthorization TODAY. Congress has an opportunity to improve and strengthen the child nutrition and school meal programs in our country, and implement innovative new strategies learned from the pandemic response. After the committee vote today on the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act, the bill will need to pass the full House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate will need to produce a bill of their own. While the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act is a strong bill that the AHA endorsed, we will need to remain vigilant for any attempt to weaken nutrition standards and ensure that we make accessing school meals easier, not more difficult. The science is clear, nutrition plays a huge role in whether our kids can reach their full potential and we need to do all we can to support that. You can help by sending a quick note to your members of Congress by texting “lunch” to 46839 or clicking this link to take action.
• FDA Proposed Rules to Remove Menthol Cigarettes and All Flavored Cigars from the Market: In late April, the FDA proposed two rules that would have a monumental effect on public health and tobacco control efforts. This is some of the biggest news for tobacco control advocates since the Tobacco Control Act became law in 2009!
The science is clear, menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars have a negative effect on public health and should be removed from the market. The FDA has the authority and responsibility to remove these deadly products, so we were ecstatic when the proposed rules were released. But, the proposed rules are just that, proposed…There are several more steps the FDA must take and go through to officially remove these deadly products from the market. This was a great first step, in what may be a lengthy effort in the face of significant opposition from BIG Tobacco as tobacco companies fight to protect their profits.
You can help ensure that the FDA does not cave to BIG Tobacco by submitting your own comments in support of the proposed rules. We’ve provided you talking points to get you started but the most important thing to say is that you want the FDA to move forward and finalize the rules to remove menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars from the market. To take action click the links or send the texts below before the FDA’s comment portal closes on August 2nd.
Menthol: Text “menthol” to 46839 or click this link
Flavored Cigars: Text “cigars” to 46839 or click this link