August is usually a quiet month in Washington. Members of Congress, staff, and lobbyists attempt to escape the heat and humidity. But 2021 is proving to be contrary to the norm. The administration announced the revised fuel efficiency programs last week and the Senate remains in session this week and will is coming close to passing infrastructure legislation. But members of the House are already at home on recess and the Senate will soon join them. All eyes will be on September and the supplier industry must act now to lay the groundwork on key issues.
Even with the action in the Senate on infrastructure, there will be a lot of action in Washington in September. Whether it is supply chain, EV investment, or data access, the MEMA team expects significant action in the fall. And you can help shape the outcome of these actions.
There are several ways you can engage with your elected officials this recess and beyond. Invite your member of Congress to your facility or hold a meeting with their staff to discuss pressing issues to your company. If you are new to advocacy, find your elected officials with our tool here. Check out our website to find more information and resources to help get more involved with advocacy.
The easiest thing you can do right now is text MEMA to 52886 to stay on top of policies impacting the vehicle supplier industry.
What I Am Watching For
There has been a lot of press about the demands being put on the industry – mobility, equity, fuel efficiency, and jobs. Yet, there has been little discussion on the requirements of the federal government to be a partner in this transformation. Suppliers must use the time in August to urge just such a partnership to provide opportunities to address challenges and investment for the future.
Shortages of semiconductors, slow-downs at our nation’s ports, and the rising costs of raw materials. Yet there are actions Congress should take to address these issues.
Urge members of the House of Representatives to support the $52 billion needed to fully fund the CHIPS Act. This legislation will provide funding for the manufacture and research and development of semiconductors in the U.S. – including legacy chips needed for the motor vehicle industry.
Urge Senators and Representatives to push the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to follow through on both President Biden’s Executive Order (EO) encouraging the FMC to address detention and demurrage charges and internal recommendations to minimize barriers to private party actions against carriers.
Finally, the industry should urge Congress to push the administration to reinstate the exclusion process on Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum and Section 301 tariffs on imports from China. In addition, Congress should push the administration to eliminate tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from the EU by November 1, if not earlier.
Last week the administration signed an executive order (EO) directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to begin work on fuel efficiency standards that would require electric vehicles make up 50% of U.S. sales in light vehicles by 2030. While the regulations are not final, Congress must also act.
In September, Congress will act on a budget bill that will provide funding for federal government. This funding must include appropriations to make the transition to an EV future possible. This includes:
Funding for research and development in the industry,
Funding to re-tool existing supplier facilities,
Funding to upskill workers, and
Incentives for consumer purchases.
As MEMA told President Biden in March, this funding is necessary to make the transition to a net-zero carbon transportation future possible.
The aftermarket has long been engaged in the battle to provide consumers with a choice on where to have their vehicles serviced and maintained. Last month, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) announced that he will introduce legislation supported by MEMA’s aftermarket division, AASA, to provide just such a framework. The aftermarket must strongly support this legislation.
All aftermarket suppliers should act now to so Congress knows it must pass this important legislation once they return from August recess. You can let your elected officials know access to diagnostic and repair data are critical to your company’s future by texting REPAIR to 52886 and accessing our repair grassroots campaign. To hold a facility visit on this important issue, check out AASA’s FAQ page.
If Not Now, When?
The country is moving toward significant investments in new technology and worker training. These investments must include the supplier industry. As the largest employer of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., these investments will return greater opportunities for all Americans.
At the same time, we must address our challenges with both supply chain and consumer rights issues.
The MEMA team will continue to fight for the industry. Take advantage of a short but important August to join in this effort.