By: Steven Harris, Director, Policy Development and Regulatory Compliance, FMI
Lawmakers recently returned to Washington to begin the second session of the 116th Congress. While 2020 is often correlated with hindsight, our focus this year will be on laying the groundwork for the future scenarios expected throughout this year and in 2021. Most predictions for 2020 anticipate a year of the typical legislative gridlock associated with an election year, but we continue to look for opportunities to enhance our voice and relationships in Washington while advocating for the food industry’s priorities.
Election years can bring uncertainty into the mix, especially as it relates to the majority control of Congress. The House is currently controlled by the Democrats, whereas the Republicans hold the majority in the Senate. Should the upcoming elections change the status quo, we need to be prepared to work with new leadership and anticipate how the legislative agenda in Congress will change.
FMI’s top responsibility is to represent the priorities of our members, and we begin each year by surveying our members to ensure that we understand what these priorities are, but it is also our job to understand the impact of changing political tides on the industry and its priorities. As they say, elections have consequences, and we will look toward the 2020 elections to be prepared for all of the various consequences of the election results, including a potential change in administration and regulatory agency leadership, changes in committee leadership in Congress and the effect on the ideological breakdown on the Supreme Court should a vacancy occur.
We will continue to urge Congress on a number of issues, including:
- Pass a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada.
- Pursue meaningful DIR fee reform.
- Fix the “retail glitch.”
We encourage our members to continue their active participation in our advocacy efforts to boost our voice in Washington.