According to Food Policy Action--a nonprofit group--Congress has fallen short in terms of food and farming policy as outlined in the group’s 2015 congressional Progress Report.
The U.S. Senate was graded by Food Policy Action based on five votes and 10 bills. The U.S. House of Representatives was graded based on 10 votes and 12 bills. The group concluded that:
- The average score for members of the House of Representatives was 42 percent--10 points lower than the full House average
- 116 Congress members earned perfect scores of 100 (87 House representatives and 20 Senators)
- 4 Congress members earned less than 10 percent
- Grades for newer members of the Senate were over 20 percent lower than that of the full Senate
- 126 House Representatives and nine Senators earned scores lower than those recorded last year
- 213 House Representatives and 78 Senators earned improved grades
"The National Food Policy Scorecard continues to shine a light on what Congress is doing and far too often, not doing to improve the nation's food system," says Tom Colicchio, Food Policy Action co-founder and chef. "Unfortunately, to date this Congress has failed to bring bills forward that would work to fix our broken food system, and ensure that all Americans have equal access to healthy, affordable food."
The good news is that, on average, Congress’s scores have increased by four points. However, Food Policy Action found that areas that could use improvement include major food policy reforms such as reauthorizing childhood nutrition programs, and addressing the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
"Despite a few bright spots, Congress has serious work ahead next year," said Ken Cook, Food Policy Action co-founder and board chairman. "Just like report cards in grade school, this year's progress report should act as a wake up call to many members that they need to get their act together when it comes to their positions on food and farm policy."
One of the most well-known pieces of legislation that Food Policy Action took into consideration was the Deny Americans the Right to Know, or the DARK Act. This house-adopted bill is aimed at prohibiting individual states from enacting laws that require food labeling, specifically for foods made with genetically modified ingredients. The legislation passed by a vote of 275-150.
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