SEMA Federal Legislative Priorities: 2021

RPM Act:

SEMA is working with key members of Congress to pass the “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act” (RPM Act), which clarifies that it is legal to make emissions-related changes to a street vehicle for the purpose of converting it into a racecar used exclusively in competition.  The RPM Act also confirms that it is legal to produce, market and install racing equipment.  SEMA is urging its members and all racing enthusiasts to contact their members of Congress and ask for them to support the bill.  To send a letter to your members of Congress (it takes less than 30 seconds), visit www.sema.org/rpm.

Background: In July 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inserted a provision into the proposed greenhouse gas rule for trucks and buses stating that the Clean Air Act (CAA) prohibits emissions system modifications to motor vehicles that are converted for racing.  The language also provided the EPA with the authority to regulate race products which can be installed on highway vehicles.  While the EPA removed the provision from the final greenhouse gas rule, the agency continues to assert its newfound authority to regulate race parts and its position that converted street vehicles are illegal even if there is no enforcement against the individual.  Accordingly, Congress needs to pass the RPM Act to provide certainty to the racing community that the hobby will be preserved.
 

Tariffs:

While SEMA supports taking actions against unfair trade practices, tariffs are a blunt instrument for dealing with trade disputes and often have unexpected and unwelcome consequences.  Beyond imposing a tax on trade, tariffs create downstream price spikes, hoarding, marketplace confusion and supply chain disruption.  Although the intent may be to use the tariffs as bargaining chips in trade negotiations, they have already inflicted harm on many SEMA members who are now faced with trying to absorb higher prices.  SEMA is actively opposing the tariffs including testifying before the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) against potential tariffs of up to 25% on imported automobiles and auto parts.  The U.S. government has imposed tariffs on imported steel (25%), aluminum (10%), and tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese products (25%).  Many countries are now imposing retaliatory tariffs on American products. SEMA urges the president and lawmakers to use other mechanisms available under U.S. trade law to combat unfair trade.
 

Collector Car Appreciation Day:

July 10, 2020 marked the 11th consecutive year that Congress has commemorated  "Collector Car Appreciation Day" with a resolution. This annual event raises awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society.  The resolution noted that “the collection and restoration of historic and classic cars is an important part of preserving the technological achievements and cultural heritage of the United States.”  With the support of SEMA and the SEMA Action Network (SAN), car clubs, enthusiast organizations, and affiliated businesses hosted more than 140 official events to commemorate the day.  Events ranged from car cruises to small-business open houses and product giveaways.  The next CCAD is scheduled for Friday, July 9, 2021 and SEMA will be working with Senators Burr and Tester to pass a CCAD resolution to honor the event.  For more information: Collector Car Appreciation Day

“Outdoor Recreation” Economy:

SEMA and over 25 other trade associations have established the “Outdoor Recreation Roundtable” (ORR) to showcase outdoor recreation as being a key contributor to the nation’s economy.  ORR works to promote federal policy and legislative reforms needed to grow the outdoor recreation economy—estimated to be $778 billion annually and supporting an estimated 5.2 million jobs.  SEMA’s focus is on motorized recreation (4-wheel, ATVs, UTVs, etc.) along with all the equipment that makes it possible to tow RVs, trailers, boats and off-road vehicles (suspension, wheels, tires, increased horsepower, etc.).  For more information: Outdoor Recreation Roundtable

E15 Ethanol:

Ethanol can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers, especially in older cars that were not constructed with ethanol-resistant materials.  The EPA has approved the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) for use in 2001 and newer vehicles while making it illegal to fuel older cars and motorcycles based on evidence that it could cause damage to those vehicles and engines.  The issue is especially problematic since the EPA only requires a gas pump warning label, which may be inadequate to prevent misfueling by motorists unfamiliar with potential E15 harm.  The EPA approved E15 in part since it helps the agency meet “Renewable Fuel Standard” (RFS) mandates, a federal law that requires increasing amounts of biofuels be blended into gasoline each year, from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022.  SEMA is working with a diverse coalition of organizations opposed to the law’s artificial mandates, from the auto/boat industries to the petroleum, food and environmental communities.  SEMA’s position on E15 is clear: Congress needs to reduce the RFS mandates and ban E15.

Bonneville Salt Flats:

The Bonneville Salt Flats (BSF) are a national treasure and unique resource of international significance central to the history of motorsports.  Hundreds of land speed records have been set there in a variety of automotive and motorcycle classes.  However, the BSF have significantly decreased in size since the 1960s when the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued leases allowing salt brine to be channeled away to an adjoining potash mine. To address this ongoing issue, SEMA helped organize the Save the Salt Coalition, companies and organizations with a vested interest in protecting the BSF.  The Coalition is working with the BLM, which manages the land, Intrepid Potash-Wendover LLC, which operates an adjoining mining operation, and lawmakers/regulators in Washington, D.C., Utah and Nevada to pursue restoration.  A 10-year pilot program to restore the 13-mile speedway by pumping over one million tons of salt brine a year has been developed through pumping infrastructure upgrades.  The current annual amount is around 0.6 million tons.  The Restore Bonneville program pumping upgrades will be largely funded through federal and State of Utah appropriations.  For more information, visit www.savethesalt.org, a website maintained by SEMA.    

Health Care:

Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted in 2010, it continues to cause confusion amongst small and mid-size business owners alike. The law has been phased-in over many years.  Mandates for large companies (50 or more full-time workers) to offer affordable coverage began in 2014.  Smaller companies are not required to offer health insurance but the government provides tax credits to very small companies (25 or fewer employees).  SEMA encourages member companies to review their current situation, speak with health insurance professionals and determine how to proceed.  SEMA Government Affairs staff has compiled these resources with an easy to use website to assist our member companies with compliance at Guide to New Health Care Law.  Congress is divided on reforming the ACA.  Meanwhile Congress has repealed some provisions such as a mandate for individuals to purchase a policy or pay a penalty.  The Trump Administration is also pursuing regulatory options such as expanding the ability of trade associations to offer Association Health Plans.  SEMA is monitoring all of these new developments and advocating for reforms that help bring down the cost of health insurance for small employers.

OHVs and Land Use Legislation:

Threats to off-highway vehicle (OHV) access typically take form in legislation passed by Congress or regulations issued by the BLM, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and other federal and state agencies. The actions threaten recreational access, designate lands as “wilderness” (roadless) or “National Monuments,” or unnecessarily close lands to protect endangered species.  Public land access issues are of keen interest to off-roaders and the SEMA-member companies that market products to those groups.  SEMA supports land-use decisions that are reasonable and enjoy local community support and will continue to monitor and keep SAN members informed of restrictive legislative proposals.  For additional information, please click on the following link: Off Roading

National Monuments:

Under the Antiquities Act, a law dating back more than 100 years, the President has the authority to declare public land with “historic or scientific interest” to be a National Monument.  While a National Monument designation does not immediately close any roads, it prohibits new roads or trails for motorized vehicles and will require drafting of a new land management plan.  Under this law, hundreds of millions of acres have been set aside over the decades leading many to question whether the footprints are larger than necessary.  SEMA supports legislation that would require approval by the U.S. Congress and impacted state legislature in order to establish a National Monument.

Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus:

The Caucus was formed in 1996 in honor of the 100th year of the American automobile and to recognize the contributions the automotive performance and motorsports industry has made to the U.S. economy. This informal and bi-partisan Congressional Caucus, which now has over 70 members, pays tribute to America’s ever-growing love affair with the car, motorsports and the specialty auto parts industry.  Consumer sales of motor vehicle performance, appearance, comfort, convenience, and technology products total $45 billion in annually, while providing jobs for more than one million Americans.  In its 23-year history, the Caucus is serving to raise the industry’s profile on Capitol Hill and in the eyes of the public. The Caucus does not seek to reach a consensus on legislative issues. For more information on joining the "Motorsports Caucus,” please contact Christian Robinson at ChristianR@sema.org or (202) 794-8279.

 

For more information about any of these issues, contact Eric Snyder at (202) 792-7793 or erics@sema.org.
 

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