Each spring, chemical distributors and our partners from around the country meet with their elected officials in Washington, D.C. as part of the NACD Washington Fly-In. Last year, nearly 90 NACD members – some who are veteran Fly-In participants and many others joining us for the first time – headed to Capitol Hill to educate Members of Congress and push for important policy goals.
Meeting face-to-face with legislators is the most effective way to get your message heard on Capitol Hill, and Fly-In participation by our members – the constituents of the legislators NACD works with throughout the year – is critical to advancing the day-to-day work NACD does here in Washington. And there’s still plenty for us to accomplish this year.
In January, Congress passed the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Program Extension Act — extending the program’s expiration date by 15 months, from January 18, 2019, to April 18, 2020. While this extension is an important step in ensuring high-risk chemical facilities are protected from terrorist attacks, a multi-year reauthorization of the CFATS program is needed to ensure both industry and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security which oversees CFATS have the long-term certainty they need to successfully implement the program.
On top of that, we want to address the massive truck driver shortage facing our country. Every day, Americans rely on commercial trucks to deliver 70 percent of our nation’s freight. Yet according to recent estimates, we still need an additional 50,000 truck drivers to meet demand. That shortage is expected to grow to more than 174,000 by 2026. In order to expand the availability of commercially licensed drivers, we need to show policymakers we support passage of the DRIVE-Safe Act. Not only would this legislation help address the truck driver shortage facing our country, it would also provide opportunities for younger drivers to enter the industry who are currently barred from participating in interstate commerce.
Another area we can make a difference is helping usher in past-due rail reform. Chemical distributors depend on reliable, competitive rail service to deliver products to customers in nearly every industry sector. Unfortunately, the railroad industry is currently a near-monopoly and its outdated policies are hindering competition and fair service. A full five-member Surface Transportation Board (STB) will be able to make common-sense, smart changes to rail policy that provide rail customers with more options for shipping and receiving their products.
As chemical distributors, we have a vital and significant impact on the U.S. economy. Our industry provides 81,000 high-quality jobs and generates $19.3 billion in direct economic output each year. It’s important that Congress hears all of our voices on the policy issues impacting our industry and the millions of Americans that rely on it every day. Visit our Washington Fly-In page to learn more and to register.