The eight-member Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth created by PROMESA (the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act) has been appointed and includes Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who has deep experience with dietary supplement issues. The task force is charged with examining economic growth in Puerto Rico, including existing federal laws and an administrative order (#346) issued by the Puerto Rico Department of Health earlier this year that would create a new registration, inspection and fee system for dietary supplement manufacturers, distributors and retailers on the island.
PROMESA was signed into law on July 1, 2016 and created both an Oversight Board and Congressional Task Force.
The task force is separate from the Oversight Board, which is charged with development, approval and enforcement of budgetary and financial policies. The task force is required to generate a report on its findings, including any recommendations on changes to laws such as administrative order #346. The report is due by Dec. 31, 2016, and a status update to Congress is expected in the first half of September 2016.
The inclusion of Administrative Order #346 in the task force’s work resulted from an amendment initiated by Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Montana) during House Natural Resources committee markup of the bill in late May.
“This [administrative order] is arbitrary, unnecessary and potentially damaging to consumers and economic growth in Puerto Rico," said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., CEO and executive director of the Natural Products Association (NPA), which worked closely with the committee and Zinke to advance the amendment, including grassroots efforts through its SaveOurSupplements website. “NPA looks forward to working with the task force. NPA is optimistic that the report will encourage the federal government to remove economic impediments that keep Puerto Ricans from enjoying the extensive health benefits of dietary supplements and other natural products."
Other members of the board include Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Florida), Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), as well as Reps. Sean Duffy (R-Wisconsin), Tom MacArthur (R-New Jersey), Nydia Velazquez (D-New York) and Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico).