Background

Food Labeling. The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry approved March 1 the chairman’s mark of S. 2609, which would require the Department of Agriculture to establish a national voluntary labeling standard for bioengineered foods. Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said the House of Representatives passed legislation on this topic last July by a vote of 275-150.

The Biotechnology Food Labeling Uniformity Act (S. 2621, introduced March 2 by Sen. Merkley, D-Ore.) would require food manufacturers to disclose the presence of genetically modified ingredients on the “Nutrition Facts” panel in one of four ways. A press release from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., one of the bill’s sponsors, said the bill also represents a uniform federal GM labeling standard with sufficient flexibility to suit manufacturing operations of various sizes and markets while also giving national manufacturers in compliance with the federal standard safe harbor from the potential patchwork of state laws.

Taxation. S. 2666 (introduced March 10 by Sen. Schumer, D-N.Y.) would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to prevent earnings stripping of domestic corporations that are members of a worldwide group of corporations that includes an inverted corporation and to require agreements with respect to certain related party transactions with those members.

Iran. The Sanctioned Iranian Entities Oversight Act (H.R. 4633, introduced Feb. 26 by Rep. Meng, D-N.Y.) would extend through 2019 the annual report the president must submit to Congress regarding the use of certain Iranian seaports by foreign vessels and the use of foreign airports by sanctioned Iranian air carriers.

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