OIA in D.C. Notes From The Hill: October 2021

Congress passes historic infrastructure legislation, continues debate on reconciliation

November 10, 2021

After months of negotiations and debate, the House of Representatives officially passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. OIA and our members have been working tirelessly to ensure this bill, which passed the Senate in August, included policies that will help mitigate the impacts of climate change and encourage climate-smart practices across industries.

Congress Passed Historic Infrastructure Legislation, Continues Debate on Reconciliation
After months of negotiations and debate, the House of Representatives officially passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. OIA and our members have been working tirelessly to ensure this bill, which passed the Senate in August, included policies that will help mitigate the impacts of climate change and encourage climate-smart practices across industries.

Lawmakers continue to work toward an agreement on the upcoming reconciliation bill, called the Build Back Better Act. This bill, which would include once-in-a-generation funding to address the growing threat of climate change, has been the center of debate in Washington. As this bill was crafted over the past month, OIA urged the inclusion of climate action and provisions like the Civilian Climate Corps and Clean Energy Performance Program. OIA’s Recreation Advisory Council also participated in a series of meetings with Senators Jon Tester, Angus King, and Martin Heinrich, as well as staff from the House Committee on Natural Resources and Senate Committee on Energy and Natural resources in support of these provisions. Following the release of President Biden’s Build Back Better framework, we also issued a statement celebrating the climate provisions that were included and encouraged Congress and the Biden Administration to protect these provisions as debate and negotiations continue.

OIA’s work in Washington and beyond helped secure key outdoor industry policy priorities in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. We’re proud to have had a seat at the table and will continue to advocate for our industry’s priorities as the Build Back Better Act moves through Congress.

Parks and Funding for the Outdoors
While infrastructure and reconciliation have been top of mind for most folks here in D.C., we’ve continued to push forward on every part of our policy platform.

At the beginning of the month, we announced our support for the Outdoors for All Act, sponsored by U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) and U.S. Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-Calif.) and Michael Turner (R-Ohio) in the House. This bill would create a dedicated funding source for outdoor recreation in urban and low-income communities, expanding access to the outdoors for everyone, regardless of geography, income, or ethnicity.

We also celebrated the Biden administration’s actions to restore protections for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments and ensure they remain a place for reflection, recreation and cultural significance.

Finally, as ski season arrives in our mountain towns, we put our weight behind the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act, sponsored by U.S. Senators Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). This act would establish a framework for National Forests to retain fees collected by local ski areas and use those fees to support renovation and conservation projects.

Trade Corner
On October 19, OIA and 25 member companies sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee urging action on the renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and passage of the package of miscellaneous tariff bills (MTBs). As supply chain challenges persist and our industry faces inflationary pressures, these bills would help the outdoor industry continue to create U.S. jobs, develop new products, and contribute to the economy.

In other trade news, OIA member Outdoor Element amplified their business voice in the Wall Street Journal by urging the Biden administration to enact stable and fair federal trade policy. Read what they had to say and how they’re advocating for key policies for our industry.

Looking Ahead: OIA on the Hill
Even as infrastructure and reconciliation reach the final stages of the process, OIA is not slowing down. Next week, we are holding a virtual briefing for Hill staffers to discuss the outdoor industry’s federal climate priorities for the 117th Congress and the industry’s commitment to ensuring these critical pieces of legislation are passed.

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