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by Ric Jackson
May 19th, 2014

Bad News for Bi-Partisan Bill

After days of promising discussion in the Senate, an important bill promising to create almost 200,000 jobs, reduce pollution and save taxpayers billions on their energy bills became ensnarled in a web of election-year politicking—leading to a failing 55-36 vote.

The Shaheen-Portman Bill is uncontroversial by itself with support from both sides of the aisle. But, with last-minute amendments and politicians pushing other agendas, it turns out the bill didn’t stand a chance. Needless to say, this was a disappointing moment for our industry, which could have greatly benefitted from its passage.

Ironically, it seems it would take an “Act of Congress” to get anything done in Congress when even the most innocuous of legislation can’t get passed. It’s easy to lose optimism, but it’s my view that this is the worst time to give up.

Your voice counts.

If you’ve considered becoming more active in advocating for our industry with lawmakers, now is actually the time to do it. As an election year, congressional members are looking for opportunities to support their constituents—we just need to speak up, and banding together can only strengthen our voice.

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), for example, has done a nice job of rallying industry stakeholders to take our collective voice to Washington. Most recently, members gathered on Capitol Hill March 31-April 2 to show support for energy bills, such as the Shaheen-Portman Bill, and to support reform of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting rule. WDMA also continued to plead its case for legislation to address the more than one billion inefficient windows installed in the U.S.

The WDMA makes it easy for you to become involved and to do your part in shaping the future of industry. Visit its Legislative Action Center to see how you can help.

Meanwhile, all hope is not lost that the Shaheen-Portman Bill will eventually make its way into law. In a statement by Senator Shaheen, she expressed disappointment in the setback, but will continue the fight.

“I worked hard with Senator Portman and a countless number of business and environmental interests to craft a smart, pragmatic energy bill because we knew that was in the best interests of our economy and our environment. People in New Hampshire and across the country lost out today because of election-year politics, but I will continue to fight for Shaheen-Portman because it’s a win-win-win for jobs, clean air and taxpayers,” she said in a May 14 statement.

The View from Here is that we should continue to fight, too. Do you have plans to become more involved with government advocacy efforts? I’d love to hear what you are doing. Leave a comment here or email me at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

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