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10 PalletCentral • January-February 2015 Capitol Hill Corner Working Together Works… By Patrick Atagi, NWPCA Vice President, Advocacy & External Affairs O n December 13, the Senate voted 56-40 to pass the fiscal year (FY) 2015 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, otherwise known as the "CRomnibus" (continuing resolution/omnibus bill), and the President signed the legislation into law on Tuesday, December 16 – within a week of final Congressional action. Members of Congress came together to pass this bill which provides financial stability in operating the federal government in the coming year and alleviates the threat of a government shut-down. As the saying goes, "Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." It will take weeks, if not months, to find out exactly what is contained within the CRomnibus, but there are positives for the business community. For example, Senator Collins' amendment language regarding hours-of-service. Her amendment was adopted by a strong bipartisan vote (21-9) of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and suspends the restriction on the use of the so-called 34-hour restart that requires drivers to take two consecutive periods of 1am to 5am off during the restart – pushing them into riskier daytime driving (increased trucks on the roads during peak traffic hours). As noted by American Trucking Association (ATA) President and CEO Bill Graves, "One of our members told us several of his drivers took four days off for the recent Thanksgiving holiday, yet when they returned to work, their hours were limited because that 96-hour break could not count as a 34-hour restart." Graves added, "That's just one of the impacts FMCSA failed to research that we hope they fully examine as a result of this congressional mandate." In the January following every November congressional election a "new" Congress convenes. What does this mean? Every bill introduced during the 113th Congress and available for consideration, and not defeated in the two years or acted upon at the end of a Congress, will have to be reintroduced in the succeeding Congress and begin the legislative process all over again. What we most likely will see on major legislation during the 114th Congress: • Affordable Care Act • Tax Reform • Immigration • Authorize Keystone Pipeline • Restoring Competency in Government (streamlining government paperwork). The mandate by the voters is clear. Our nation's leaders need to work together to govern, and passage of the FY2015 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act is a strong indicator for that path as the new Congress prepares to begin its work in January. NWPCA will continue to monitor Congressional action in 2015 with a sharp focus on those issues that affect our business and raising further the positive profile of the pallet industry in Washington, DC. PC INSIDE NWPCA

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