The RV Industry Association’s federal affairs team worked with Congress toward enacting key pieces of legislation during the “lame duck” session—the time between the November election and the end of the legislative session. Unfortunately, the battle over border security funding overshadowed nearly every legislative effort on Capitol Hill and resulted in the current partial government shutdown. When the 115th Congress adjourned last month, all pending bills died and will have to be reintroduced in the new session of Congress that begins today.
During the lame duck session significant progress was made in the effort to pass the RV floor plan tax fix with its inclusion in the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act (H.R. 88), which the House passed. However, that bill faced an uphill battle in the Senate and was never brought to the floor by leadership.
Democrats on the House Ways & Means Committee have indicated that a tax technical corrections bill will be taken up with full transparency in the new Congress. The federal affairs team has already met with incoming Ways & Means staff and is prepared to participate in the process, including an opportunity for the RV industry to present testimony.
The comprehensive Public Lands Package also became a casualty to the conflict over border security funding. A future infrastructure package remains one of the best vehicles to advance much-needed outdoor recreation policy reform in a split Congress, with Democrats now controlling the House and Republicans controlling the Senate. The RV Industry Association, along with the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), has been building support for early passage of infrastructure legislation which includes an outdoor recreation title.
Another piece of legislation that was not acted on by Congress during the lame duck session was the AV START Act, the autonomous vehicle bill. But in the end, objections to the legislation couldn't be overcome and legislation will have to go through the whole process again in this Congress. Previous bill sponsor Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said there is a chance the legislation could be included in a government funding bill early in this Congress.
The 116th Congress commences today with the swearing in of most Members of Congress. The federal affairs team is currently on Capitol Hill meeting with Members of Congress and their staffs to advance RV industry legislative priorities.