With Elections on the Horizon, Who Are Congress’s Natural Health Champions?September 18, 2012
Part one of a two-part article looking at how senators and representatives fare on important health issues. Action Alert!
With campaigns in full swing and a critical election just around the corner (we’ve indicated with an asterisk those legislators who are up for reelection), it’s a good time to review who in Congress have been the real leaders on our issues. This week we assess our elected officials according to their activity in three important issue areas: your right to access natural health options; your right to choose a toxic-free environment; and your right to the healthy food of your choice.
Action Alert! If your senator or representative is listed below as a champion, click the link in their name to send them a quick thank-you message, and tell them how much their support of natural health issues means to you! (Don’t know who your representative is? Click here to find out!)
Your Right to Access Natural Health Options
For example, have they supported the Free Speech About Science Act, opposed the FDA’s Draft Guidance on New Dietary Ingredients (NDI), and opposed Sen. Durbin’s anti-supplement amendment?
Both Hatch and Harkin helped get FDA to withdraw its NDI draft guidance, and both stood up to Sen. Durbin’s amendment that would have drastically reduced your access to nutritional supplements through a litany of unnecessary new regulations.
Paul introduced an amendment that would curb FDA’s overreach and abuse of power, put an end to raids on natural food stores and Amish farmers, and stop FDA censorship of truthful claims of dietary supplements, while Enzi spoke out on the Senate floor against Sen. Durbin’s attempt to pass his supplement labeling act.
Chaffetz, Bishop, and Polis voiced serious concern over FDA’s NDI draft guidance, and all three are members of the Dietary Supplement Caucus. In addition, Chaffetz and Polis introduced the Free Speech About Science bill.
Kingston and Farr, as House Appropriations Committee chair and ranking member, respectively, were instrumental in inserting our language into an important congressional report that urged FDA to withdraw the July 2011 NDI draft guidance. While Kingston doesn’t support us on all of our issues, we very much appreciate his support on this one.
Your Right to Choose a Toxic-Free Environment
For example, did they oppose GMOs and GE salmon, support GMO labeling, try to limit our exposure to BPA, limit the use of antibiotics in animal feed, and support public disclosures on hydraulic fracking?
Senate Champions: Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein* (D-CA), and Bernie Sanders* (I-VT) have all been outspoken supporters of GMO labeling. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Don Young (R-AK) have been terrific on GMO issues, especially “Frankenfish.”
House Champions: Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO) and Sam Farr (D-CA) have been outstanding on all GMO, BPA, and fracking issues. Rep. Louise Slaughter* (D-NY) has led the fight to limit antibiotics in animal feed.
Your Right to the Healthy Food of Your Choice
For example, did they support a farmer’s market exemption from the Food Safety Modernization Act, support your access to raw milk, and fight the school lunch program from classifying frozen pizza as a vegetable?
Senate Champions: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) sponsored several raw milk amendments, while Sen. Jon Tester* (D-MT), a small farmer himself, fought to get farmer’s markets and small farms exempted from many of the controversial Food Safety Modernization Act requirements.
House Champions: Rep. Chellie Pingree* (D-ME) co-sponsored a raw milk bill, and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) sponsored the Slice Act, a bill that would remove frozen pizza from being classified as a vegetable for school lunches.