Just in case you were not there, which you probably were not unless you are a member of the U.S. Congress; the 30th Annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party took place on June 21. By all accounts, the "coolest" and most bipartisan summertime gala on the Hill went sweetly and smoothly, thanks to the help of some of Congress' best friends, the dairy food industry lobbyists.
According to the event's main sponsor and host, the International Dairy Foods Association, the annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party serves up about 2,000 gallons of ice cream and frozen yogurt, 6,000 root beer floats and 44 cases of sundae toppings to members of Congress, their families and staffs, and lucky special guests.
The Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party would not take place without the sponsorship of some organizations which, oh by the way, might ask Congress for some help from time-to-time.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is a PAC - Political Action Committee - comprised of the International Ice Cream Association, the Milk Industry Foundation and the National Cheese Institute. According to its mission statement, the IDFA, "Influences federal, state and international government policies with strong legislative, executive and regulatory advocacy focused on dairy policy and other key industry issues."
The IDFA contributes money to the campaigns of members of congress who support legislation favorable to the dairy and related industries, including laws intended to eliminate what the PAC considers unnecessary regulations affecting the dairy, cheese and ice cream industries.
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"Actions on Capitol Hill can make or break an industry," notes the IDFA in its Legislative Leadership statement. "Whether on milk pricing, environmental issues, food safety, labeling, international trade or any other issue that will impact the dairy and related companies, IDFA provides leadership and advocacy for the industry on Capitol Hill."
Without a doubt, much of the IDFA's success depends on its ability to establish "relationships with Members of Congress and their staffs." And what better way to establish relationships with Members of Congress than by throwing them a cool ice cream social on a hot Capitol Hill day?