Engaging members of Congress is absolutely essential to advocating the association’s and industry’s public policy agenda, and has become the key focus of NPES Government Affairs activities,” says NPES President Ralph J. Nappi.
This was most recently demonstrated when over 50 NPES and Printing Industries of America members gathered on Capitol Hill, June 4-5, and called on Congress to enact urgently needed postal reform legislation before the end of 2013. They also made the case that first-year expensing of capital equipment purchases must be included as an essential element of comprehensive tax reform, as they collectively visited 40 congressional offices during PRINT’S VOICE 13, the second annual Capitol Hill Fly-In, jointly sponsored by the two partner associations.
During the course of the two-day program, attendees were addressed by and met with more than a dozen U.S. Representatives, five U.S. Senators and the U.S. Postmaster General. They were also briefed on the printing industry’s government affairs priorities by several panels of issue experts drawn from congressional committee staffs and Washington think tanks. To view the full program and briefing book visit: www.npes.org/prints_voice_13.aspx.
PRINT’S VOICE has grown into a signature event that brings printers and suppliers together for a powerful program of public policy education, issue advocacy, interaction with members of Congress, and social events on Capitol Hill.
Jump-starting postal reform in the 113thCongress was a top objective of the Fly-In, and within days of the event House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-49-CA) released a draft postal reform bill that was eventually introduced as H.R. 2748, the Postal Reform Act of 2013, approved by his committee in July and now awaits action by the entire House of Representatives. “While NPES cannot claim sole credit for these developments,” says NPES’s Nappi, he does stress that “it is certainly true that collective efforts like the joint NPES/Printing Industries of America Fly-In do help move the needle on congressional action.”
Fly-In participants also met with Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Dr. Tom Coburn (R-OK), another lawmaker with jurisdiction over postal reform legislation. In addition, U.S. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe explained the USPS five-year plan to profitability, outlining actions the Postal Service could pursue unilaterally, and highlighting others that would require legislation.
House Budget Committee Chairman and former vice presidential candidate Congressman Paul Ryan (R-1-WI) spoke to Fly-In participants about the imperative of curtailing government spending and the need for comprehensive pro-growth tax reform, the other principal focus of the Fly-In. And House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman Congressman John Kline (R-2-MN) addressed Fly-In participants about labor and workforce policy issues.
Additionally, before beginning a full day of lobbying visits on Capitol Hill, Fly-In participants received a rousing send-off by House Majority Chief Deputy Whip Congressman Peter Roskam (R-6-IL), in which he stressed the importance of constituent input to legislators.
To round out the program’s political perspective, participants also heard from freshman Democrat senators, Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who were featured speakers at the Fly-In Congressional Luncheon and concluding Gala Dinner, respectively. Each voiced an understanding of the need for postal and tax reform legislation.
Fly-In participants gave the program high marks, citing its educational value and the opportunity to advance industry priorities by meeting directly with elected officials and their staffs. For example, first-time Fly-In participant and NPES board member William “Buzz” Apostol, Vice President Sales-Americas, X-Rite Pantone, Inc. commented that he was “impressed by the thorough preparation by NPES and Printing Industries. The right people were there,” and that he “got a chance to speak with key congressmen and network with leaders of our industry.”