The 110th Congress is now in session. I joined our Chairman Rich Rudolph in a visit up to Capitol Hill on January 7 to welcome some of the newly sworn in members of Congress and greet some of the veteran members who understand the Snack Food Association’s views on the issues affecting our industry.
With a new Democrat majority in both the Senate and House, the priorities of Congress have changed from last year. However, the SFA’s commitment to our members and their concerns with public policy have not changed.
Specifically, we came close to correcting a mistake made in the law during the last session of Congress that has the effect of removing an exemption from overtime pay for sales drivers of vehicles under 10,001 gross vehicle weight. Obviously, many of our snack companies with DSD drivers of vehicles in this weight range are affected. We are committed to getting this mistake, which was an admitted drafting error, corrected in this session of Congress.
Also of major concern in this new session is the reauthorization of legislation regarding agricultural and nutrition programs, known as the Farm Bill. The SFA has a great deal at stake in this debate and, specifically, will be working to ensure that snacks are not restricted from being able to be purchased under the Food Stamp program or other feeding programs where our industry is allowed to participate. To this end, the SFA is developing a coalition of trade associations and others to represent our interests on these matters before Congress. Of course, we also will be participating in discussions regarding specific commodity programs, including sugar, and urging Congress and the Administration to reconsider the inclusion of snack peanuts under the country of origin labeling requirements. Additionally, a major debate will be brewing over concerns regarding the use of corn and other commodities for biofuels and the strain this is causing the food and animal feed supplies.
In short, we have a full plate of issues before us on Capitol Hill this session and hope you will mark your calendar for our annual Day in D.C. Spring Summit, May 16-18, to help us deliver our message to our elected members of Congress.
SFA President & CEO
SFA President & CEO