Wednesday, July 20, 2016

FEMA Urges the Midwest Region to Be Prepared for Extreme Heat

Urging Residents to Download FEMA Smartphone App Designed to Help Families Before, During, and After Disasters

Kansas City, MO – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VII office is urging residents across the region to take steps now to prepare their families and communities for extreme heat, by reviewing important safety information and downloading the FEMA smartphone app.
The National Weather Service The National Weather Service announced that “dangerously hot and humid conditions are expected this week across a large portion of the nation.” Additionally, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center’s latest outlook notes that most of the continental United States is facing elevated chances of well-above-average summer temperatures. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, heat kills more people than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods.
To help all residents stay safe during extreme heat, FEMA urges residents to consider taking the following actions in affected areas:  
Postpone outdoor games and activities and limit exposure to the sun.
Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine; limit alcoholic beverage intake.
Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing.
Spend the warmest part of the day in temperature-controlled buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, or community facilities.
Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
FEMA also urges residents across the region to download and use the free FEMA app, which provides valuable safety tips to help families prepare for and recover from more than 20 natural and man-made hazards. The FEMA app enables users to receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the nation, making it easy to follow severe weather that may be threatening family and friends.  The app also provides family communication plans, customizable checklist of emergency supplies, and maps of open shelters and disaster recovery centers. The app is available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Visit Missouri, Host Opioid Addiction Town Hall Featuring Senator McCaskill

ST. LOUIS, Mo., July 20, 2016 – This week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, chair of the White House Rural Council and leader of the Obama Administration’s national initiative on rural opioid addiction, will visit Missouri to discuss the urgent need for resources to address the epidemic. Vilsack is calling on Congress to quickly pass funds to provide resources to help turn the tide of the epidemic. This week, Congress passed legislation aimed at the crisis; however it did not provide any funding. The President’s budget proposes $1.1 billion in new funding to support states in expanding treatment options. Missouri would be eligible for up to $17 million dollars over two years to expand access to treatment for opioid use disorders.

On Friday, July 22, Vilsack will host a White House Rural Council Town Hall in Columbia where he will be joined by Senator Claire McCaskill and local leaders fighting the epidemic. The town hall is open to the media and invited guests. While in Missouri, Vilsack will also host a roundtable discussion in St. Louis on Thursday, July 21 with McCaskill to learn about the efforts of the St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and discuss the need for the Missouri legislature to pass a state PDMP. Missouri is the only state in the country without a monitoring program.

Addressing the opioid epidemic is a priority for the Administration and in January, President Obama appointed Vilsack to lead an interagency initiative focused on this specific challenge in rural America. This is the second in a series of town halls that Vilsack announced earlier this year to bring together local and state government partners, the health community, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to raise awareness of opioid addiction and discuss possible solutions. Prescription drug misuse and heroin have taken a heartbreaking toll on too many American families, while straining public resources. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows opioids were involved in 28,648 deaths in 2014, which means more Americans are dying from drug overdoses than in motor vehicle accidents each year.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Floor Statement by Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson S.764

--As Prepared for Delivery--

“I thank the gentleman. I yield myself such time as I may consume

“Mr. Speaker, the bill we are considering today, S.764, recognizes consumers’ demand to know more about their food by directing USDA to create a national, mandatory genetically engineered food labeling program.

“My colleagues may remember that almost a year ago this chamber passed legislation to establish a voluntary labeling program. I still believe a voluntary label is best but, frankly, if we are going to address this issue we need to work with the Senate and this is the compromise that was reached.

“Science tells us that foods and ingredients from GE crops are safe to eat. This technology allows farmers to protect natural resources and provide an abundant food supply. Unfortunately there is a lot of public confusion around these issues, but labeling products is really more about marketing than any safety concerns.

“This legislation is needed to avoid a situation where 50 states set up 50 different labels, which would only create confusion for consumers, farmers and food companies. News reports indicate that Vermont’s labeling law, which went into effect July 1, has already led to the loss of some 3,000 products from store shelves.

“This legislation would rectify this problem while also addressing the law’s shortcomings. For example, the Vermont law exempts processed food products containing meat from labeling. So cheese pizza would be labeled but pepperoni pizza would not. That doesn’t make sense. S. 764 closes this loophole, requiring an additional 25,000 processed food products to meet new labeling requirements.

“I am also pleased that USDA will be responsible for implementing and enforcing this program. They have the expertise to do this type of labeling as evidenced by the successful National Organic Program.

“I would also note that S.764 received strong bipartisan support in the Senate and more than 1,000 farm and food organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, Grocery Manufacturers Association and Organic Trade Association, have all called for its passage.

“In closing, Mr. Speaker, I believe this is a good compromise. It’s another example of what the Agriculture Committee has consistently done so well. No one gets everything they want but, at the end of the day, I believe this bill will provide the transparency consumers crave while, at the same time, allow continued innovation in food production.

“I urge my colleagues to vote yes and I reserve the balance of my time.”

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

OSHA delays effective date for enforcing employees’ rights to report workplace injuries, illnesses

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is delaying enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its new injury and illness tracking rule to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers. Originally scheduled to begin Aug. 10, 2016, enforcement will now begin Nov. 1, 2016.
Under the rule, employers are required to inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation; implement procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that are reasonable and do not deter workers from reporting; and incorporate the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against workers for reporting injuries and illnesses.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Breakfast All Day Leader Celebrates 58th Anniversary

WHAT:  IHOP® Restaurants, the breakfast industry leader is celebrating 58 years of breakfast innovation and are offering guests a short stack of its world-famous Original Buttermilk Pancakes for just 58 cents at participating restaurants.

WHY:   IHOP is celebrating 58 years of culinary innovations and made-to-order breakfast all day, every day. The promotional price of 58 cents is four cents less than what the short stack cost in 1958, when Al and Jerry Lapin and partners opened the first IHOP in Toluca Lake, California.

WHEN: TODAY, TUESDAY July 12, 2016, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

WHERE:  Participating IHOP restaurants in the United States. Visit or call your local IHOP.

B-roll footage, Images and ANR can easily be downloaded here.

58th Anniversary Fun Facts:
Original Buttermilk Pancakes continue to be one of the most popular IHOP menu items with more than 700 million sold each year.
IHOP serves up 314 million slices of hickory smoked bacon each year.
There are 93 million cups of coffee served from the Never Empty Coffee Pot each year.
IHOP fulfils 368 orders customized per minute
Since 2005, IHOP has raised more than $24 million for charities that focus on the well-being of families and children and address critical issues like health and hunger.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

DeLauro Calls on Congress to Reject a Lame Duck Vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Democratic Party platform rejects trade deals that do not meet a high standard

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today released the following statement regarding news that the Democratic Party platform includes progressive language on trade agreements, underscoring the need for strong worker and environmental protections.

"It is crystal clear that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a deeply flawed agreement that must be completely renegotiated so that American workers and the environment are protected. Today, the Democratic Party made a strong statement in favor of trade agreements that work for everyone in the economy, and the Party Platform rejects deals that are negotiated in secret with special investor courts that privilege corporations over taxpayers.

"The Democratic Party's nominee Hilary Clinton has made her opposition to the agreement clear, that this bad agreement should not be considered by Congress, before or after the election. Today's news underscores that we must reject the TPP as it is drafted by not bringing the agreement up in the Lame Duck."

Sunday, July 3, 2016

CSPI “Latest Study” on Butter Misleads Press, Public

Statement of CSPI Nutrition Director Bonnie Liebman
The recent Tufts study purporting to show that butter is not linked to a higher risk of heart disease misleads the public.  It comes as no surprise that a single food like butter is not linked to a higher risk of heart disease.  The highly respected Cochrane Collaboration’s meta-analysis of 15 randomized clinical trials concluded that replacing saturated fat (from all sources) with polyunsaturated fats lowers the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events. (That finding is consistent with clinical studies on blood cholesterol levels and well-designed analyses of observational studies). One would not expect any single food to matter, since people who eat butter don’t necessarily eat an overall diet that is high in saturated fat.
Furthermore, the new meta-analysis based its conclusion on cardiovascular disease on only four observational studies, and two of the four studies masked the impact of butter on the risk of cardiovascular disease by statistically “adjusting” for blood cholesterol levels.
The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, in partnership with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and other health authorities recommend replacing foods that are high in saturated fat (like red meat, cheese, and butter) with foods that are high in polyunsaturated fats (like nuts, fish, and salad dressings). The new study acknowledges that unsaturated oils and spreads are healthier than butter—the key takeaway message for consumers.  Yet most people will simply hear that butter is a harmless or healthy food, thanks to headlines with various permutations of the “butter is back” myth which is based on questionable evidence.