The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is pushing legislation to expand the ability of food producers and distributors to sell their products to Republican candidates and other GOP groups.
The legislation, sponsored by Reps.
Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Kevin Cramer, R of North Dakota, is scheduled to be heard Tuesday at a hearing before the House Agriculture Committee.
The bill would allow food processors and manufacturers to apply for a waiver to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act that would allow them to sell directly to candidates and groups, but only if they have a clear business plan and a written statement of their plan to “target specific constituencies.”
The bill also includes a provision allowing companies to apply to the NRCC for a tax deduction for sales of their products through a “supplier of record.”
The NRCC said the bill would provide an important tool to help farmers and food processors, who have been hit hard by the recession and rising commodity prices.
“We need to do what we can to ensure the success of our farmers and our ranchers, but we also need to help grow the economy,” Barton said in a statement.
“This bill is designed to help make sure that farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to continue to sell food that meets the needs of the American people.”
The legislation has been described as a boon for producers.
It allows for an expanded exemption from a variety of Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.
The NRPC said it is also pushing for more stringent requirements for food processing facilities, including those that are owned by food companies.
Barton said the measure is “a critical first step to protecting the farmers and the American ranchers from a potential flood of federal regulation that could impact their livelihoods.”
“This legislation will allow us to protect our farmers, ranchers and American industry from future regulation that threatens to restrict our ability to grow our food and to make our products safer and more nutritious,” Barton wrote in a blog post on the NRPC website.
The new bill is in response to a 2016 proposal by the House of Representatives, House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, to exempt the sale of “nonfood” products from the FDA requirements.
It passed the House but failed to get through the Senate.
The measure, the NRDC said, would also allow food companies to set up an online “list of beneficiaries” and the NRRC would work with those beneficiaries to apply a tax credit to their product sales.