Michigan, despite previously stating that kombucha was not covered by its bottle bill laws, has now determined that kombucha is a non-alcoholic, carbonated beverage and is subject to the bottle bill laws. Pursuant to a press release issued by the Michigan Dept. of Treasury, companies have until May 1, 2020, to get in compliance. After that, retailers must collect deposits and kombucha containers not marked with deposit information would be considered non-compliant.

The Department is cognizant that retailers and manufacturers may have relied upon its previous informal guidance that kombucha products were not subject to the bottle deposit law. Accordingly, retailers and manufacturers must begin complying with the Department’s determination no later than May 1, 2020. After that date, all parties in the distribution chain must begin collecting and refunding deposits on kombucha containers, as they do for other nonalcoholic carbonated beverages, and kombucha containers that are not marked with the required deposit information may not validly be sold in the state.

You can read the full notice here.

FAQ’s

Where can I find information about proper labeling of beverage containers?”

‘MCL Section 445.572(7) states: “Each beverage container sold or offered for sale by a dealer within this state shall clearly indicate by embossing or by a stamp, a label, or other method securely affixed to the beverage container, the refund value of the container and the name of this state.” For more information, contact Mr. Kenneth Wozniak, Michigan Liquor Control Commission, at 517-322-5900 or 517-322-1140.’

MICHIGAN BOTTLE DEPOSIT LAW FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

By Dave Ransom of McDermott, Will & Emery

Late in December, right before the holidays, the U.S. Congress did what it often does: At the literal 11th hour, Congress passed legislation that will fund the operations of the federal government through September 30, 2020.

Had Congress failed to pass these appropriations bills (or had President Trump refused or declined to sign them into law), the federal government (or big parts of it) would have shut down due to a lack of funding.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans wanted that this year. Instead, the leaders in each party, and the President, cooperated and negotiated on these bills. And now, the federal government will continue to operate.

Everyone in Washington, D.C., knows that these so-called “omnibus” appropriations bills (where several funding bills are packaged into one or two bills) are really nothing less than an opportunity to tuck extraneous measures that are unrelated to the underlying appropriations bills into those bills.

Predictably, that’s exactly what happened this year. That is, deep in the nearly 2,000-page “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act,” (H.R. 1865) – a bill that funds, among others, the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture – is “Division Q – Revenue Provisions.”

Division Q is where the Kombucha Brewers International (KBI) and our allies on Capitol Hill had hoped to place the “KOMBUCHA Act” (S. 926/H.R. 1961) to ensure its enactment into law.

Recall that our bipartisan bill, the KOMBUCHA Act, is non-controversial and would do one thing: It would raise the alcohol by volume (ABV) threshold for Kombucha to 1.25% ABV from the current threshold of 0.5% ABV. Today, as you know, if your Kombucha leaves the brewery at, say, 0.4% ABV but increases to above 0.5% ABV after leaving the brewery, you are subject to federal excise taxes intended for beer.

That is a patently unfair and outdated result. The Congress never intended to make Kombucha subject to federal excise taxes intended for beer. So today, KBI and our friends in Congress are trying to change the law by increasing the threshold for Kombucha to 1.25% ABV. Only Kombucha above that level (1.25%) would be subject to federal excise taxes if the KOMBUCHA Act became law.

Unfortunately, however, Congressional leaders chose to strictly limit the tax provisions included in “Division Q” to already expired or expiring tax provisions. For example, the “mine rescue team training [tax] credit” expired on December 31, 2017, nearly two full years ago. In Division Q, it was extended by simply striking the date December 31, 2017, and inserting “December 31, 2020.”

Similarly, American small craft beer brewers have enjoyed a lower federal tax rate on the beer they produce since January 1, 2018. However, that lower rate was set to expire on December 31, 2019. In Division Q of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, the 2019 date was struck and in its place was inserted, “December 31, 2020.”

Small, craft beer brewers – who have been arguing to make the lower tax rate permanent – will enjoy the lower rate for at least one more year. Something (a one-year extension of lower rates) is better than nothing.

And so it went in “Division Q – Revenue Provisions.” KBI and our allies had hoped that Congressional leaders would be open to including additional, non-controversial provisions in that section of the bill. They did that in 2015 when Congress passed the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act.” For example, in the PATH Act, Congress tweaked several provisions related to hard cider.

This year, though, Congress took a much more limited approach.

Despite all this, KBI, the Kombucha industry, and our allies have real opportunities in 2020 to try to enact the KOMBUCHA Act.

Many tax provisions were left on the cutting room floor in December 2019. Chief among those is a tax change that would benefit retailers who make improvements to their property. The retailers will likely pull out the stops to try to secure passage of their provision. Likewise, there are an array of so-called “technical corrections” that were mostly just drafting errors in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Republicans, in particular, want to clean up those technical corrections.

Any effort to address a tax provision in Congress in 2020 is an opportunity for KBI to try to include the KOMBUCHA Act and secure passage of it.

In the meantime, we will be covering Capitol Hill to educate lawmakers and staff about the need for the KOMBUCHA Act and to seek their support for including it in any tax legislation considered by Congress.

We hope you will consider joining this effort in 2020 to spread the word about the growing and vibrant Kombucha industry, and the need to enact the KOMBUCHA Act.

 

NEXT HILL CLIMB – MAY 13th, 2020 – Washington, DC

Stay tuned for more details on how you can engage the civic process to benefit your business and industry. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to admin@kombuchabrewers.org – ALL KOMBUCHA BREWERS ARE INVITED TO ATTEND!

Marian Flaxman, current LGO coordinator, will be reaching out to brands in various states as part of our continued effort to educate and inform our Congresspeople & Senators about how the KOMBUCHA Act will benefit their constituents and our growing industry.

Dave Ransom will be joining us at KombuchaKon ’20 to present the latest update at the Brewery Members Meeting. Register today!

 


David Ransom

McDermott Will & Emery LLP

image of the capitol bldg in washington dc

Our next Capitol Hill Climb to support the KOMBUCHA Act is NEXT WEEK. This is a unique networking opportunity for ANY USA based Kombucha brewers to not only exercise their rights as US citizens but also to share quality time with fellow brewers. Here are all of the great things we do on our biannual Hill Climbs!

  • Network with fellow brewers and save money by sharing accommodations in the KBI Airbnb
  • Learn the ropes of lobbying with experienced brewers
  • Advocate for your industry
  • Create valuable relationship building skills with lawmakers
  • Join us in Washington DC on 9/25
  • Airbnb House 9/24-9/26 (leave morning of 9/26)
  • Dinner 9/24 & post lobbying meetup at The Dubliner 9/25, leave the morning of 9/26
  • Specifically looking for companies from Maine, Indiana, Montana, South Carolina, Florida and anyone who is close enough to drive in from New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Vermont, New Hampshire, or any other eastern seaboard state to join us –
  • ** NON KBI MEMBERS also welcome to join us – We fight for your rights too!

More information about the KOMBUCHA Act and our lobbying efforts can be found on our website.  

 If you are available to join us, please contact KBI at info@kombuchabrewers.org to receive updated information as it becomes available. 

We are booking an Airbnb that will be located near the Congressional offices, so please let us asap then if you would like to stay with us. The final cost is a LOT less expensive than renting a hotel room and allows all of us to share space, break bread and have fun!

***UPDATE***

We had a productive Hill Climb in DC! We had nine brands from six different states gathered in Washington DC to exercise their rights and educate lawmakers about the KOMBUCHA Act. We attended a total of 19 meetings with members of the Senate Finance Committee, House Ways & Means Committee as well as with Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Stay tuned to your email box as we will be asking Kombucha brewers across the nation to sign letters exhorting their Congresspeople & Senators to support our legislation. If you’d like to volunteer to be the lead member in your state or district, please email info@kombuchabrewers.org for more details.

Check out our lobbying resources here. KBI Members can view lobbying training videos and learn more about the Act here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks again to:

BABA’s Brew, Olga Sorzano, PA

Craft Kombucha, Tanya Mangiyo, DC

Friend of Kombucha, Marian Flaxman, DC

GT’s Kombucha, Rick Martin, CA

Health-Ade, Amelia Winslow, CA

Hex Ferments, Shane Carpenter, MD

High Country, Shane Dickman, CO

Katboocha, Kat Schwartz, NY

Pilot Kombucha, Alex Ingalls, NY

 

Based on the rules put forth by the FDA effective July 26, 2016, commercial Kombucha producers in the United States are required to indicate the sugar they add to the fermentation process as “Added Sugars.” However, the amount required to put on the label is AFTER fermentation has occurred.

To be in compliance with this rule, it is advised that Kombucha producers in the United States submit their products to a third party lab for sugar testing.

Clear records and scientific documentation that demonstrate the accurate amount of sugar grams in the final products along with a narrative of why the amount is different than the starting sugar are required to be kept on file.

Any Kombucha producer that adds juice concentrate, sugar or sugar substitutes to their final product would need to also include that information as part of the “Added Sugars” amount on the label.

RECAP:

  • The amount of sugars present must be declared as both TOTAL and ADDED sugars (21 CFR 101.9(c)(6)(iii)).
  • Added sugars may not exceed the Total sugars amount listed on the label.
  • Added sugars = the amount of sugar remaining in the product AFTER fermentation.
  • Clear documentation and narrative are kept on file and provided upon request.
  • Any other sugars added in the flavoring stage are also to be included as ADDED SUGAR 
    • sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides) (this would included fructose, sucrose, and glucose)
    • sugars from syrups and honey
    • sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type

EXAMPLE:

  • 15g of sugar are measured in the sweet tea substrate before fermentation
  • The product is tested after fermentation and has reduced to 12g of sugar
  • The label now reads:
    • Total Sugar 12g
    • Added Sugar 12g

The new rules put forth by the FDA regarding added sugars are listed here for reference (important details bolded by KBI):

  • Requiring the declaration of the gram amount of “added sugars” in a serving of a product, establishing a Daily Reference Value (DRV), and requiring the percent Daily Value (DV) declaration for added sugars;
  • Changing “Sugars” to “Total Sugars” and requiring that “Includes `X’ g Added Sugars” be indented and declared directly below “Total Sugars” on the label;
  • The rule requires a manufacturer with sugars added before and during the fermentation process to make and keep records of added sugars necessary to determine the amount of added sugars present in the finished food. The rule requires manufacturers of such foods to make and keep records of all relevant scientific data and information relied upon by the manufacturer that demonstrates the amount of added sugars in the food after fermentation and a narrative explaining why the data and information are sufficient to demonstrate the amount of added sugars declared in the finished food, provided the data and information used is specific to the type of fermented food manufactured.
  • Establishing a compliance date of 2 years after the final rule’s effective date (7/26/16), except that manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have a compliance date of 3 years after the final rule’s effective date. (For more details, see part III.)

ALL BRANDS WILL NEED TO BE IN COMPLIANCE WITH THIS LABEL CHANGE

January 1, 2020, for Manufacturers with $10 Million in sales and January 1, 2021, for Manufacturers with less than $10 Million in sales.

Example of where Added Sugars to be noted on label:

RECOMMENDED NARRATIVE TO KEEP WITH SCIENTIFIC RECORDS

Kombucha is a traditionally fermented beverage made of tea, sugar and SCOBY. Throughout the fermentation process, the sugar added at the beginning is consumed by the microorganisms in the SCOBY and is reduced over time in two ways. Cane sugar is sucrose, a disaccharide. Initially, the yeast split the sugar molecule into its monosaccharide components, fructose and glucose. Primarily, this results in a lower glycemic impact to the consumer because the complex carbohydrates are broken down into simpler sugars. Secondarily, the amount of sugar remaining is also reduced the longer the fermentation continues. The byproducts of this process are converted into organic acids giving Kombucha is unique flavor and properties.

CHANGES TO THE NUTRITION FACTS LABEL

In an effort to provide additional time to comply with the new Nutrition Facts Panel and Supplement Facts Panel regulations, FDA has announced that, for the first six months following the January 1, 2020 compliance date, FDA plans to work cooperatively with manufacturers to meet the new requirements and will not focus on enforcement actions regarding these requirements. For more information, go to https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/industry-resources-changes-nutrition-facts-label#Compliance.

 

REFERENCES:

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/05/27/2016-11867/food-labeling-revision-of-the-nutrition-and-supplement-facts-labels

https://www.fda.gov/media/102614/download

https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/industry-resources-changes-nutrition-facts-label#AddedSugars

https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/changes-nutrition-facts-label

https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/industry-resources-changes-nutrition-facts-label#Compliance

Help Your Patients Use the Nutrition Facts Label to Cut Down on Added Sugars

REVISIONS:

Rev.120617 Approved KBI Board December 2017

Updated 022218 to clarify types of sugars that need to be classified as “Added Sugar”

Updated 080719 to list example and clarify Added Sugars may not exceed Total Sugars on label 

Update 102919 to add Nutrition Facts Panel and Supplement Facts Panel regulations

 

 

Municipalities are eager to find new ways to fund their operations and programs. Lately it has been popular to enact a “sugar tax” on non-alcoholic beverages that exceed whatever threshold the municipality has deemed as acceptable. There is a long history of enacting “sin taxes” on products that are perceived or proven to have a negative impact on the health of consumers in an attempt to limit their behavior.

Kombucha is a traditional fermented beverage made from tea and sugar. During the fermentation process, most of the sugars are consumed by the microorganisms present in the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) and converted into trace amounts of ethanol and organic acids. Each producer has their own fermentation process and method as well as their own flavor profile – some of which may skew sweeter in order to attract a certain type of consumer.

However, despite having some sugar present, the fermentation process materially changes the structure of the sugars – the disaccharide sucrose (table sugar) is broken into its monosaccharide components thus creating a lower glycemic impact. Also, the living organisms and nutrition in a living form (trace amounts of B vitamins, vitamin C, amino acids, etc) contribute a net positive effect to the consumer unlike comparable non-alcoholic beverages – i.e. sodas, energy drinks, juices, etc.

Moreover, many of these statutes include exemptions for products such as diet soda which, while their sugar content may be low, do contain known carcinogens. The unintended consequence is that products that are healthier end up taxed while less healthy options cost less and could influence consumer behavior in a negative way.

While KBI has been active in supporting its members who are dealing with these local statutes, ultimately, the decision whether or not to tax Kombucha falls to the cities themselves. Any taxes required are charged at the discretion of those locales and are not in any way under the purview of the Kombucha producer.

REFERENCES

  1. Jayabalan, Rasu, et al. “A review on kombucha tea—microbiology, composition, fermentation, beneficial effects, toxicity, and tea fungus.” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 13.4 (2014): 538-550.

Rev.090617 Adopted by KBI Board Oct 2017

Image may contain: 13 people, people smiling, people standing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(from L to R: Elixir, Funky Fresh, Golda, Humm, Craft, High Country, KBI, Health-Ade, Bootleg Bucha)

On Wednesday, March 22nd, KBI members from around the United States converged in Washington DC to educate lawmakers about our growing industry and regulatory needs. In total, 15 member brand attended 28 meetings with members of Congress and the Senate. After a long day on the Hill talking about the KOMBUCHA Act, everyone was invited to attend a Kombucha tasting reception on the Hill. We had a fantastic turn out as over 100 different Hill staffers came out to nosh and enjoy some booch (some were seen squirreling bottles away as they left!).

KBI hopes that this buzz will turn into additional bipartisan co-sponsor signatures for the bills in the House and the Senate. Since it deals specifically with updating the tax code, the goal is to include it in any bills that might be up for a vote on the issue of tax reform.

Thank you to those who attended the Hill Climb:

Aqua ViTea Kombucha (VT)

BAO Food & Drink (NJ)

Blue Ridge Bucha (VA)

Bootleg Bucha (NY)

Craft Kombucha (DC)

Elixir Kombucha (KY)

Funky Fresh (PA)

Golda Kombucha (GA)

GT’s Kombucha (CA)

Health-Ade Kombucha (CA)

High Country Kombucha (CO)

Holy Kombucha (TX)

Humm Kombucha (OR)

Ninja Kombucha (VA)

Sole Kombucha (PA)

WANT TO GET INVOLVED? HERE’S HOW:

  • Send your Congressperson and Senator an email requesting their support.
  • Invite your Congressperson/Senator to visit your facility when they are next in-state.
  • Traveling to DC or your state capitol? Set up a meeting with your Rep or Senator. Email KBI to get a copy of the talking points.
  • Stay tuned to the KBI newsletter for updates on how else you can be involved!

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 16, 2017   Hannah Crum, President Kombucha Brewers International 424-245-5867 info@kombuchabrewers.org   KBI Applauds Senators Wyden and Gardner, Congressmen Polis and Tipton for Introducing Legislation to Assist Kombucha Makers   Los Angeles, CA – ​Hannah Crum, President of Kombucha Brewers International (KBI), released the following statement today after U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and Representatives Jared Polis (D-Colorado) and Scott Tipton (R-Colorado) introduced bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House, respectively, that would help kombucha brewers continue to grow, thrive and hire more workers by ensuring that kombucha products are not unfairly subject to the federal excise tax on beer under the Internal Revenue Code:   “On behalf of the more than 250 kombucha brewers of which 150 that are members of KBI across the United States, I am extremely pleased that we have such strong advocates for our industry in the United States Congress,” said Crum.  “Senators Wyden and Gardner and Representatives Polis and Tipton – and their staff members – are terrific champions for kombucha makers, and we are deeply appreciative of their efforts and work on this important legislation.  They recognize that the law, relative to kombucha brewers, is outdated and needs to be changed, and they seized this opportunity to do so.  We applaud them for focusing on this effort to help these small businesses.”   Among other things, the legislation – the “Keeping Our Manufacturing from Being Unfairly Taxed while Championing Health Act,” or KOMBUCHA Act – would do the following:   ·​         ​Create an exception in the Internal Revenue Code’s definition of “brewer” for kombucha makers. ·​         ​Provide an exemption to the federal excise tax imposed on beer for kombucha. ·​         ​Define “kombucha” as a beverage that is “(A) is fermented solely by a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, (B) contains not more than 1.25 percent of alcohol by volume, (C) is sold or offered for sale as kombucha, and (D) is derived from – (i) sugar, malt or malt substitute, tea, or coffee, and (ii) not more than 20 percent of other wholesome ingredients.”
Kombucha – a combination of tea, sugar, water, and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) – has trace amounts of alcohol that can trigger federal excise taxes under current law. The KOMBUCHA Act would increase the applicable alcohol-by-volume for kombucha from 0.5 percent to 1.25 percent.  Kombucha would still have to meet the health and safety requirements generally applicable to nonalcoholic beverages. “This is good common-sense, pro-business, pro-consumer legislation,” said Crum.  “We are looking forward to working with Senators Wyden and Gardner and Representatives Polis and Tipton to try to get this important bill enacted into law.”   —- Kombucha Brewers International (KBI) is the international, non-profit trade association for the kombucha brewing industry.  To learn more about the kombucha industry, or for more information on membership, please contact KBI President Hannah Crum at info@kombuchabrewers.org or visit kombuchabrewers.org

KOMBUCHA ACT – Join the Effort!

We are thrilled to announce that the KOMBUCHA Act, a bill that would raise allowable ABV for kombucha to 1.25%, has been introduced in Congress!

On Weds Feb 15th, H.R. 1089 was introduced by Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Greg Walden (R-OR) in the House. The companion Senate bill, S. 389, was introduced by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Cory Gardner (R-CO).

The Congress Members above, who sponsored this bill and are advocating for our industry, understand that kombucha brewers are being unintentionally subject to the federal excise tax imposed on beer due to an outdated tax code. The KOMBUCHA Act would modernize the tax code so that kombucha brewers can continue to produce the raw, naturally fermented beverages that our consumers love, without being subject to excise taxes or regulations intended for the alcoholic beverage industry.

This is an exciting time for our industry, but in order to get this bill passed, we need your support!

What you can do to help:

  1. Write an email to your Congress people (Senators and House Reps) asking them to co-sponsor the KOMBUCHA Act.
  2. Invite your Congressional representatives to tour your facility, so that they feel connected to you.
  3. Join us in DC on March 22 to hold in-person meetings and educate Congressional staffers about kombucha and our businesses.

We will provide template emails, your reps’ contact info, discounted hotel rates and logistics info for those wanting to come to DC, and anything more that makes your participation in this effort easier. Please reach out to Hannah or amelia@health-ade.com with any questions or requests.

FullSizeRender

On Tuesday, March 15, KBI President Hannah Crum, Operations Administrator Morgan Meredith and several KBI member brewers met with representatives from Congress. Since Congress was in session, many sent staff aides and legislative assistants to meet with the group.

After the meeting, all of the members met individually or in small groups with legislative aides to share samples, educate about our industry and discuss regulatory concerns with the goal of uncovering potential solutions. They also discussed ways in which the industry can generate additional kombucha commerce in their states.

The breweries represented include: Aqua ViTea, Capital Kombucha, Barefoot Bucha, Sole Kombucha, Buchi, Health-Ade, and Holy Kombucha.

20160315_115950(0)
As an additional highlight, Mike from Buchi Kombucha played live music in the hall in order to generate more interest in our meeting and bring more people into the room!

The legislative assistants listened intently to our concerns and offered helpful feedback for KBI’s future endeavors. Here are some of the ways members and non-member Kombucha companies can find additional resources:

-Contact each state regarding its own Value Added Producer grants for brewers

-Contact agriculture coalitions and boards in your state

In discussing strategies to create legislation to protect the industry, it was recommend that we:

-Connect with more brewery associations

-Connect with Congress members who sponsored the Cider Act

We are delighted to have taken this next step, and are already planning a more formal gathering for Congress members in September, coinciding with Natural Products Expo East.

Want to be more involved? Contact Morgan to find out how you can assist with government outreach.

We grow together!

IMG_3023KBI President Hannah Crum will be meeting with lawmakers at a round table discussion on Capitol Hill immediately following the AOAC Mid-Year meeting. The Congressional meet and greet will take place March 15th at the Congressional offices on the Hill. 

March 15, 2016
12-1PM
402 Cannon House Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20515

As mentioned at KombuchaKon16, KBI is ramping up our grassroots lobbying efforts in order to connect with legislators who can help our industry navigate the governmental and regulatory landscape. First and foremost, will be to introduce kombucha to Congress! When Hannah was in DC for the TTB meeting in early February, she also stopped by several Congressional offices to share the KBI Fact Sheet. Not surprisingly, several of the receptionist interns hadn’t even heard of kombucha! So education is a primary focus for this first lobbying session.

In addition to bringing samples to share, we will also share Kombucha 101 to give a basic background on our product. Key to communicating the importance of our product will be founders stories because most member companies evolved out of specific health challenges that were overcome by consuming kombucha. We will also discuss the needs of our rapidly growing industry as well as share the regulatory challenges we’ve faced thus far and to discuss potential solutions.

Kombucha Brewers International expects approximately 12-20 Congressional aides at this meeting. Want one of them to be yours? Would you like your voice to be heard? Join Hannah in DC on March 15 & 16th to attend this session and to meet your Congressperson!

To participate, please drop an email to Morgan so we can include you and your Congressperson on the guest list. Also indicate if you are willing to bring samples and if you are available both days or just one. If we are not able to secure a room for the Roundtable (pending notice from our Congressional liaison), we will still be doing in person meetings on the Hill for those 2 days to spread the word about our industry.

 

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak joins members of the U.S. Congress in applauding those members who fought in the Korean war during President Lee's address to a joint meeting of U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 13, 2011. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)