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May-June-2017

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INSIDE NWPCA 10 PalletCentral • May-June 2017 palletcentral.com N WPCA members, family and friends increasingly ask me, "What are things like in Washington, DC?" My initial thought is that it's very much like trying to take a sip of water from a fire hose. In fact, it's even more difficult as you have political interests grabbing the fire hose and pulling it back and forth as you lean in to take a drink. How do you discern what is real news and what is just noise? My recommendation is to trust your instincts and look at the big picture, then let the NWPCA cut through the noise for you. Affordable Care Act: Health care in four years will not look like what it did a year ago. A controversial bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) failed in March and was trumpeted in the press as a failure by the Republicans to repeal the ACA. The effort was revived by Republican House leaders, and on May 4, 2017, the House voted 217-213 to pass H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act, a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. The issue (as we go to press) is in the U.S. Senate where Republican senators were strategizing on how to get 50 votes for passage of an ACA repeal/reform bill. It will most likely resemble a bill passed in 2015, which repealed the individual and employer mandates, and Medicaid expansion and related taxes. That bill was vetoed by-then President Obama, and we have a new president in the White House. Remember, with the mid-term elections a year-and-a-half away, Members of Congress are motivated to get something passed, but not too quickly. Expect final passage of a health bill being timed to the November 2018 elections. Immigration: The labor shortage for this industry is an ongoing concern. Any short-term reform of meaningful changes to existing immigration programs like the H-2A agricultural guest worker program is not in the cards. The current focus of Congress and the Administration is on enforcement. For example, in mid-May, Republican Congressman Raul Labrador (Idaho-1st) introduced H.R. 2431, the "Davis-Oliver Act." Officers Davis and Oliver were murdered by an illegal alien attempting to gain entry back into the U.S. after being deported twice. The law allows states to enact and enforce their own immigration laws and withholds certain federal grants to jurisdictions that refuse to provide immigration information to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The law also requires background checks before immigration benefits can be granted. President Trump and the Republican Congress are following the road map of their campaign promises and party platform: tax reform, repeal of the Affordable Care Act, government reform, criminal justice, and supporting small businesses. These issues set the tone for the next two years, if not the next four. Remember, the NWPCA is cutting through the noise and focusing on what's most important to members. We are weighing in on areas specific and directly related to the wooden pallet and container industry at agencies like the Department of Labor-OSHA. To learn more about the issues that we're following, visit PalletCentral.com/Advocacy_Issues, join the NWPCA Government Affairs Committee for monthly conference calls where we discuss issues specific to the wooden pallet and container industry, and follow Twitter/NWPCA_Policy. PC Capitol Hill Corner By Patrick Atagi, Vice President, Advocacy & External Affairs How do you discern what is real news and what is just noise? My recommendation is to trust your instincts and look at the big picture, then let the NWPCA cut through the noise for you.

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