As 2019 ends, we are staring at a political landscape that is both very different and much the same as the end of 2018. Congress is divided (still), the President has been stymied in his efforts to pass big pieces of legislation (again) and there are trade disputes affecting the economy (continually). The problems haven’t changed much.
What has changed are the political approaches to these problems. The Democrats have formally moved to impeach the President, and multiple administration officials are either themselves under investigation or involved in giving testimony. At the time of writing, this House-driven impeachment process is not moving quickly or publicly, and Republicans are attempting to fight it largely on procedural grounds, while the President insists that both the procedure and the substance are incorrect. The Republicans have failed to coalesce around any significant bipartisan legislation with the Democrats, who are themselves a house divided, with a progressive wing constantly pushing a more left-leaning agenda. Members in both parties are being primaried, and at last count almost 20 Republican members of Congress have announced their retirement this cycle. Government funding lurches in short-term extensions, and a shutdown seems possible several times a year.
The Democrats began with 25+ serious Presidential candidates and are taking their time about winnowing down the field. It seems likely that Senator Elizabeth Warren will emerge victorious with the Democratic nominee (although much can change between now and the spring). NPMA members have received as-it-happens political commentary after each debate and town hall and will continue to get timely updates as we move into the spring and summer, where the eventual Democratic nominee will face off against President Trump.
It’s against this backdrop of roiling political uncertainty that NPMA leans into one of the few bipartisan issues left on the Hill: public health. Our victory this year in pushing the SMASH Act into law has established us an association active in this space. We are partnering with other public health focused associations to support The TICK Act in the Senate. We are also weaving in federal preemption into any public health talking points.
As NPMA looks to 2020, we know it will be a challenging year. Politically, things will be even more contentious as impeachment will likely spill over past 2019 and the election will heat up. The bright spot is that through this will run a genuine need for Congress to accomplish a few key things like raising the debt limit and appropriations to keep the government funded. There will also be changes to push small and non-controversial pieces of legislation through so that members of Congress can show accomplishments. Since public health is such a bipartisan issue, there could be opportunities for NPMA members to engage on legislation in this area proactively and create a small space for legislation to pass despite the larger political concerns. Coming to DC in March for the NPMA Legislative Day will be key in helping this happen.
Join us for Legislative Day 2020
Presented by the National Pest Management Association
MARCH 8-10, 2020 | CAPITAL HILTON | WASHINGTON, D.C.
You’re invited to join NPMA members and staff for Legislative Day 2020. While it’s easy to become inured to the news these days because of the larger debates over Presidential power and foreign policy, beneath these contentious undercurrents is a calmer place where there is a chance to affect change. NPMA will walk the Hill in March of 2020 on two specific issues: education about our industry and federal preemption.
Education is a central tenant of the NPMA Public Policy Strategic Plan, and while it sounds very general, it is critically needed. There is a serious lack of understanding on the Hill about what our industry does. Most Hill staffers do not know about the pesticide approval process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), about how our industry is trained or educated, or about how the mechanics of applying pesticide actually works. If we want to proactively protect our industry, education is key. We will be educating staffers in the House and the Senate and in both political parties about how our industry protects public health and will explicitly make the connection between the need for pesticides and the protection of health, food and property. Your experience as a member of this industry will be essential to help overcome barriers of misinformation and ignorance.
The other issue that will be top of the priority list for NPMA at Legislative Day is pushing for federal preemption as part of a larger public health narrative. Our industry championed this issue during the 2018 Farm Bill, but unfortunately it was not included in the final bill. We must continue to push this issue; while it’s unlikely to pass in 2020, a new Congress in 2021 means a new shot at this issue. If we do not continue to lay groundwork each year, it will never pass. Congress needs to understand that securing federal preemption is necessary for the pest management industry to continue protecting public health. Without it, we will continue to face efforts to roll it back, state by state, necessitating constant fights at the state and local level. Securing federal preemption would be a huge win for our industry, and we need your help to convince Congress.
Let NPMA help you make the most of Legislative Day 2020: It’s easy to be overwhelmed, whether it’s your first time on the Hill or your 100th. To better help you prepare for your visits, NPMA is introducing a few new things for Legislative Day. We have prepared one-pagers that lay out exactly how to request a Hill meeting, complete with script, whether you want to meet with a staffer or the Member of Congress. There is also a one-pager on how to conduct a meeting with a group of NPMA members or by yourself. NPMA has prepared an FAQ document about walking the Hill, complete with dress code, where to eat, and all sorts of tips and tricks for making your visits go as smoothly as possible. All of these are available to NPMA members at LegislativeDay.NPMAPestWorld.org.
NPMA will be providing one-pagers on our Legislative Day issues in February to all those registered, and will also hold a webinar walking through each issue in-depth in addition to our presentations in DC. You can come to DC knowing the issues with your meetings set up and feeling confident that you’re prepared like a pro for every visit. Register today at LegislativeDay.NPMAPestWorld.org.