SOCMA members held meetings with lawmakers and their staff on Capitol Hill April 26 during the association's 10th Annual Washington Fly-In. They not only met with their individual Representatives and Senators, they collectively met with key House and Senate committees to discuss ways they can work together on issues of mutual interest.
The event kicked off Tuesday with a 101 session in which SOCMA staff gave participants an overview of the political climate in DC. Staff also walked through the important issues facing SOCMA members and even acted out a faux meeting with a Senator.
SOCMA members then heard from four members of Congress during a reception in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Room of the U.S. Capitol. Representative John Shimkus, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, once again thanked SOCMA members for their input and support in getting Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform passed last year. Congressmen Steve Chabot, Tom Graves and Garret Graves all told SOCMA members how important specialty manufacturing is to their communities and the U.S. economy. They also encouraged members to share their stories during their visits to the Hill.
Among issues shared during both the individual visits and with committees included regulatory reform, passage of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, trade, the Risk Management Program and TSCA implementation.
Our members thanked their congressmen for their support in the passage of TSCA reform, but many expressed their concern about the Environmental Protection Agency's implementation, specifically in reference to new chemicals. There were no significant changes to the law regarding that part of the program, yet there are significant backlogs in getting new chemicals approved. They asked that members of Congress monitor the situation to ensure that the law is carried out the way it was intended.
Other members shared specific information about their facilities. One member with plants in Oklahoma asked their Congressman's office to assist him in connecting with state officials on some key issues that are impacting his facilities in that state.
SOCMA members also asked their congressmen to approve the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill once it is presented by the U.S. International Trade Commission. This issue saves companies money that can be spent on research and development, facility expansion and new jobs.
While SOCMA members found their meetings with their individual legislators productive, they were especially happy with the group meetings with various House and Senate committees that took place Wednesday afternoon. The groups not only shared SOCMA's key issues, but they offered to be a resource to these committees when they need anecdotes or testimony regarding legislation that impacts them.
And throughout the day SOCMA members extended invitations to members of Congress and committees to visit their facilities and see first hand how legislation is impacting their operations.