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NMMA Analysis 2014 Election

Can We Expect A Changing Tide, More Of The Same, or Both?

The 2014 midterm elections have come and gone. So what does that mean for our industry and your business? Read on for complete election coverage and analysis from NMMA's government relations experts.

If you have questions about the results or the legislative road ahead for 2015, contact Nicole Vasilaros at nvasilaros@nmma.org.

What Do The Results Mean For The Boating Industry?

You're probably wondering first and foremost how the Nov. 4 vote may impact the recreational boating industry, and specifically our friends in the Congressional Boating Caucus. We already knew that 12 of our closest allies and advocates in the Congressional Boating Caucus announced their retirements earlier this year, and were not on the ballot yesterday - including one of our honorary chairmen, Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC-9), as well as Senators Saxby Chambliss (GA), Tim Johnson (SD) and Carl Levin (MI).

One caucus member, Rep. Shelley Capito of West Virginia, won her senate campaign; we congratulate her on her victory and look forward to having her in the Caucus's Senate ranks. Unfortunately, some of our Caucus members lost in their re-election battle-including Senator Kay Hagan (NC) and Rep. Joe Garcia (FL-26). All in all, of the 99 Caucus members who ran last night, 89 were victorious.

Commitment To Recreational Boating

We will work with the newly elected officials to ensure that they too become committed to the recreational boating industry. The election outcome is a prime opportunity for NMMA and our partners to build new, strong relationships with many members of Congress, and educate them on the importance of recreational boating to their community and their constituents.

Our government relations staff has plans to reach out to these new members as soon as possible, setting up face-to-face meetings to introduce them to our $37 billion industry. A "Welcome to Washington" letter and packet of information is already being prepared for when they are sworn-in in January.

BoatPAC was also very successful this year. In total, 48 of the 54 supported candidates up for election were re-elected, with four more races too close to call at press time. We look forward to continuing our work together on behalf of the boating industry.

The 'Lame Duck' Agenda

All eyes are on the Capitol, as the outgoing 113th Congress is set to return to Washington after a six-week recess. During the so-called "Lame Duck" period, Congress will seek to address many key issues that have been left unanswered this year, including issues affecting our industry like tax extenders.

NMMA will be supporting a broad, multi-industry letter urging Congress to extend and re-authorize these important tax provisions. But, there are many other issues at stake which may appear during the lame duck period.

Looking At 2015 And Beyond-Where Will The Tide Take Us?

A handful of the recreational boating industry's top legislative priorities may also be addressed before the end of the year. Many of these were discussed during the 2014 American Boating Congress and include the following:

Ethanol And The RFS

When the 114th Congress is sworn in, it will be a prime opportunity for NMMA and the industry to refocus our efforts on critical legislation. We expect a strong push to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard, and legislatively address E15. NMMA and our partner stakeholder groups have amassed strong bipartisan and bicameral support on this issue, and we look forward to working on a solution in 2015.

Sportfish Restoration And Boating Trust Fund

In addition, NMMA will work with Congress to re-authorize the Sportfish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund (SFRBTF) before a temporary extension expires in June. Similarly, NMMA hopes the Export Import Bank can be reauthorized before its temporary extension expires in early 2015 - both of these programs could also be addressed during the Lame Duck session.

Reauthorization Of The Magnuson-Stevens Act

Magnuson-Stevens has been an issue NMMA has worked on extensively, and with some committee reassignments and leadership changes, we have hopes that a more comprehensive solution can be reached that addresses the recreational fishing industry's concerns.

Overall, the political climate is likely to remain the same as it has the past few years. Congress remains deeply divided along partisan lines, and President Obama remains committed to carrying out his policy vision for America and securing his legacy. Despite this constant appearance of gridlock, important work is getting done daily in Washington, and NMMA is confident that our industry issues will be fairly addressed in the 114th Congress.

Stay Informed And Get Involved

It is certainly an exciting time in Washington. NMMA's D.C. staff will keep you informed on all relevant issues over the next few months. If you haven't yet, join Boating United for timely issue updates and action alerts to ensure that you stay informed about local and federal activities that directly affect you and your business.

American Boating Congress

Want a chance to meet the 114th Congress? Join us in Washington at the 2015 American Boating Congress this coming May 11-13


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