Alerts and other info from the MRF
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RIDING FREE FROM DC:
Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway
Your Motorcycle Riders Foundation team in Washington, D.C. is pleased to provide our members with the latest information and updates on issues that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. Count on your MRF to keep you informed about a range of matters that are critical to the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. Published weekly when the U.S. Congress is in session.
Capitol Hill Update
Last week four members of Congress, two Republicans and two Democrats introduced H.R. 1025 a bill that would require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to revise labeling requirements for fuel pumps that dispense E15.
This bill is a simple step taken by Members of Congress to address the dangers and damage that E15 is causing to engines. The MRF believes that at the very least consumers should understand what they are putting into their vehicles.
This is another example of the MRF working with like-minded groups, with common interests to impact legislation. As you can imagine motorcycles are not the only engines impacted by ethanol. The MRF will continue to support this legislation just as we did during the last Congress. You may remember that we reported to you last summer the we participated in a joint briefing on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of the issues ethanol can cause, not just in our motorcycle motors but in other small motors. We will continue to partner with the Marine Retailers Association, National Maine Manufacturers Association, Specialty Equipment Market Association, Briggs & Stratton, American Sportfishing Association, Boat US, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, American Highway Users Alliance and the snowmobile industry in hopes of raising awareness about the impact of ethanol on engines.
This week, Steve Panten and Mike Halvorson of ABATE Wisconsin came to D.C. and met with the entire Wisconsin Congressional Delegation. Over the course of two days, Steve and Mike met with the offices of both their US Senators and the 8 congressional offices that represent the state. They had a private meeting with Senator Ron Johnson who they thanked for his leadership on the anti-profiling resolution that passed the Senate last year and managed to get a picture with him in front of the Wisconsin State flag.
With the departure of Speaker Paul Ryan, Mike and Steve made it a point to visit the only new member of the Wisconsin delegation, Congressman Bryan Steil. Congressman Steil replaced Speaker Ryan and now represents the 1st district of Wisconsin covering the southeast portion of Wisconsin. Mike is a constituent of Congressman Steil, and the Congressman instantly recognized him from an earlier town hall meeting that Mike had attended. As we were leaving the office, Congressman Steil’s staff asked, “When are we going to get the Congressman on a bike?”
As Woody Allen famously said, “80% of life is showing up.” Whether it be attending town halls, meetings with staff in the district or coming to Washington, being engaged with your lawmakers is critical for the success of the motorcycle community. Thanks to Mike and Steve for taking the time to come to D.C. and be seen!
Politics and Elections
The Shutdown Vote
Over the last three months, there has been a ton of talk about appropriations bills, funding levels, continuing resolutions, deadlines, a minibus and government shutdowns. We thought a refresher on the process and what some of those terms mean might be helpful.
The federal government is funded each year by twelve separate appropriations bills. These bills group together different government departments and agencies and ideally the twelve bills are passed separately and signed by the President before September 30th, which is the end of the government’s fiscal year.
If Congress fails to pass these bills, the agencies and departments have no funds to operate and thus “the government is shut down.” Because Congress rarely meets the September 30th deadline, they normally pass something called a Continuing Resolution or CR for short. A CR continues to fund the departments and agencies at the levels they were funded in the previous fiscal year. A CR basically provides Congress more time to get the bills passed.
In 2018 Congress passed five of the twelve appropriations bills they were required to. Congress then passed a CR which funded the remaining seven bills until December 22, 2018. After December 22, any department or agency that had their funding in one of the seven unpassed appropriations bills had no funds to operate and was thus closed.
Between December 22, 2018 and January 25, 2019, Congress failed to pass either a CR or any of the seven appropriations bills, creating a partial government shutdown. Partial, because only those parts of the government which received their funding in one of the seven unpassed bills were closed.
On January 25th the President and Congress agreed to pass a CR. This CR allocated funds for the seven unpassed appropriations bills through February 15th effectively reopening the government. This gave Congress roughly three weeks to reach a deal and pass what is called a consolidated appropriations bill or a “minibus.” A minibus is one bill that has numerous appropriations bills included in it. Instead of voting on the seven outstanding appropriations bills separately, they are all thrown into one big bill, and one vote is taken. In this case, it resulted in a single vote on a bill that was over 1,000 pages long.
This week negotiations between the Senate and House produced a compromise “minibus” that both chambers passed, and the President signed, thus fully funding the government until September 30, 2019.
Your MRF Crew,
Rocky & Tiffany
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation
About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. The MRF is chiefly concerned with issues at the national and international levels that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. The MRF is committed to being a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle and works in conjunction with its partners to help educate elected officials and policymakers in Washington and beyond.
All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. Motorcycle Riders Foundation. All rights reserved. Ride With The Leaders ™ by joining the MRF at http://mrf.org/ or call (202) 546-0983