Federation Fly-In Takes Off On Capitol Hill As Farm Bill Jumps Key Hurdle

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Photos by Scott Henrichsen

The Hardwood Federation (HF) Fly-In took place recently, deploying industry advocates across Capitol Hill. More than 60 Hardwood industry leaders conducted over 100 bipartisan, congressional meetings, advocating for Hardwood priorities in the farm bill, tax legislation and H.R. 6880, the Hardwood Access and Development Program Act, which would establish a Hardwood products grant program to educate consumers about the sustainability of Hardwood products. While the legislation currently has three champions, Reps. Tiffany (R- WI), Kuster (D-NH) and Van Orden (R-WI), Hardwood advocates blanketed the Hill with messages urging more lawmakers to sign onto the legislation and give it momentum. Several Members of Congress did respond to constituent pressure and have indicated interest in signing on to the bill. The Federation team is following up with those offices.

As noted above, also high on the priority list were several items HF would like to see included in the Forestry Title of the Farm Bill, which, although currently extended through September, needs to be reauthorized at some point for a 5-year span. After months of delay, on Thursday, May 23, the House Agriculture Committee passed a version of the bill on a bipartisan vote. The breakthrough paves the way for a vote on the House floor. Fortunately for industry, the House version of the bill includes two items industry leaders advocated for while in DC: doubling funding for USDA export promotion authority and addressing the industry’s staffing shortage by incorporating workforce training programs for the wood products sector in currently funded initiatives.

On the tax front, Fly-In participants pointed out the need to restore tax relief measures for businesses including 100 percent bonus depreciation of equipment and the depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of business interest deduction. They also made the case that making permanent the 20 percent small business deduction for QBI earned by pass-through entities and preserving estate tax exemptions included in the 2017 tax reform are essential to company health and vitality.

Dismay about the Biden Administration’s proposed rules and definitions of Old Growth and Mature Forests was also expressed. Policy makers were encouraged to take a closer look at this regulatory effort and to take action against rewriting federal forest management policy that contradicts established forest health science.

Industry leaders delivered key messages to more than one-third of the U.S. Senate, racking up 37 meetings. On the House side, Hardwood advocates conducted 71 bipartisan meetings. Not only was the Hill coverage broad, but the meetings were geographically diverse, reaching 20 different state delegations in every region of the country.

After Hill meetings wrapped up, participants headed to the Capitol Hill Club to thank House-side Republican friends of the industry with a social hour. Following the reception, House Agriculture Committee members John Rose (R-TN) and David Rouzer (R-NC) addressed the group during dinner outlining a path forward for the farm bill. Additionally, Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI), a member of the Natural Resources Committee, discussed the importance of constituent advocacy and shared insights into the challenges of working within a closely divided House. On Thursday, May 23, the Fly-In concluded with a breakfast reception, also on Capitol Hill where attendees mingled with Democrat lawmakers who have a demonstrated track record of supporting the industry.

To learn more about the Hardwood Federation, visit www.hardwoodfederation.com.

Federation Fly-In Takes Off On Capitol Hill As Farm Bill Jumps Key Hurdle 22

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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