RV Caucus is Actively Seeking New Members
The Congressional RV Caucus, created last June by Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., is looking to create awareness and recruit additional congressmen.
Sam Fletcher, legislative assistant for Walorski, told RVBUSINESS.com that letters went out to other members of Congress last week, including the delegation from Indiana, asking them to join the nine representatives already part of the RV caucus. This campaign follows the personal requests made by the 40-50 RV industry officials who met last week with representatives and senators, and their staffs, said Jay Landers, senior director of government affairs for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
“It’s hard to tell how many will join, but hopefully we’ve already picked up a couple of new House members,” Landers said.
Along with Walorski and Ross, the other current RV caucus members are: Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., and Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind.
Fletcher said he’s hopeful that the rest of the Indiana delegation will join the RV Caucus shortly. “The delegation of Indiana members is pretty unified on most issues, and I’m convinced that they all understand the importance of the RV industry to our state,” said Fletcher.
The RV Caucus’ goals, stated in the recruitment letter, include:
• Obtaining an amendment to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act to assure recreation vehicles (RVs), which are otherwise regulated, are excluded from HUD housing standards.
• Calling for long-term renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) because GSP expiration costs each RV manufacturer more than $1 million dollars per year.
• Supporting reauthorization of Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) and including the Army Corps of Engineers recreation fees so that annual passes to federal recreation lands can continue to be sold in 2015 and critical outdoor recreation areas that are important to RV users and all Americans can be maintained and improved.
In an effort to boost awareness of the economic benefits of the RV industry, the RV Caucus will host its first-ever reception, sponsored by RVIA, scheduled from 5:30-7 p.m. July 23 at the Veterans Affairs Committee Room in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington D.C.
A “save the date” flier was distributed in support of the event, which also will include a reception.
The flier announces the caucus’ goals and provides a quick background on the economic impact of the RV industry, including:
• The RV manufacturing industry payroll for 2013 added $2.1 billion to the U.S. economy.
• RV manufacturers shipped more than 320,000 RVs to dealerships nationwide and internationally in 2013, with an estimated retail value of $13 billion.
• RV manufacturers directly employ 71,000 people, with an industrywide employment of 344,000 workers
RVIA is currently working to arrange for motorhomes to be on hand for the event, where members of Congress and their staff can enjoy a more personal inspection of what the RV industry has to offer. Fletcher said a suitable site near the House of Representatives office buildings is in the process of being identified and secured.
RVIA President Richard Coon said the creation of RV Caucus is “wonderful,” and he’s looking forward to what it will accomplish.
Ross is a lifetime RV enthusiast and member of FMCA, Coon pointed out, while Walorski’s district encompasses a number of RV manufacturing plants. “RVIA is excited to support their efforts, and is working on an inaugural event to help spread the word about the House RV Caucus,” he said.
“We are very appreciative for the work of Rep. Walorski and Rep. Ross to create the House RV Caucus,” said Coon. “This group will help raise the awareness of the RV industry on Capitol Hill and the important issues that RVIA’s addresses at the federal level on behalf of our members.”