It’s Time to Complete Unfinished Business on Capitol Hill
Even as officials around the country are finalizing the results of the 2020 U.S. elections, members of Congress are preparing to return to Washington, where a busy legislative agenda awaits them. Very little time is left before the end of the year, and Congress has a slew of unfinished business.
Here is a rundown of what we at IPC are pressing members of Congress to prioritize in the waning days of 2020.
- COVID-19 Recovery – Congressional leaders now concur that a fourth COVID recovery package is critical. IPC agrees. Enacting a COVID-recovery package will help sustain and revive affected communities, not to mention the wider economy, which the electronics industry is helping to drive. Significant differences remain over the size of the bill and its policy priorities. IPC has and will continue to fight for extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, business tax deductions, reasonable liability relief, modified unemployment benefits, and state and local government aid. We also have pushed for federal assistance to support compliance with Section 889 and infrastructure improvements.
- National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – Congress is late in finalizing the annual defense authorization bill, which sets priorities and policies for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Enacting this legislation into law is a top November/December priority for Congress and the electronics industry. The FY 2021 NDAA is likely to include new trusted supplier requirements and sourcing restrictions on printed circuit boards and assemblies used in sensitive defense and COTS technologies purchased by DoD. This provision arguably is the industry’s most significant legislative achievement ever and cements the idea that every nation should have access to secure and resilient supply chains for electronics.
- Appropriations – More than a month into FY 2021, Congress has yet to enact a single spending bill. The government is currently operating on a “continuing resolution” through December 11, by which date Congress will need to act to avert a government shutdown. Given their many months of work to date, appropriators should be able to negotiate a final package relatively quickly once congressional leaders agree on topline spending levels. Congress may need to pass another short-term CR, but we expect an omnibus package on the President’s desk this year.
IPC backs funding for a variety of U.S. federal programs that support the innovation, resiliency, and security of U.S. electronics manufacturing. IPC also is championing a “plus up” in the defense spending bill to launch a new five-year, $40 million research effort related to lead-free electronics. Congress appropriated the project $5 million last year, and for FY 2021, the House has allocated $10 million. The Senate has yet to act, but we will stay laser-focused on this important priority.
We are optimistic that, with the elections behind us, Congressional leaders are in a better place to complete these legislative measures. To that end, we, at IPC, will continue to provide opportunities to you and your peers to communicate your support of these bills at the appropriate time. Please stay tuned!
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to your IPC Government Relations team to get involved or ask any questions about IPC’s advocacy activities.