Weekly Legislative Update - November 4, 2019

Burr, Manchin Introduce Bill to Protect Amateur Motorsports from Devastating Regulations


Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) today introduced S. 2602, Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act, which preserves American motorsports by stopping regulatory overreach by the federal government.
American motorsports began with amateur racers converting regular vehicles into racecars, a legacy that continues to this day. In 2015, however, the Obama Administration proposed a rule that would let the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fine amateur motorsports enthusiasts for converting their personal vehicles into racecars. 
The rule ran counter to nearly half a century of Congressional intent under the Clean Air Act. While the EPA removed this problematic language from its final rulemaking, the agency still maintains that vehicle modification for motorsports is unlawful.
"American racing runs on traditions," said Senator Burr. "For more than 50 years, motorsports enthusiasts have purchased cars and modified them to race, off of public roads. However, this tradition was threatened when the Obama EPA attempted to make these modifications illegal. 
This legislation upholds Congress' intent of the Clean Air Act and protects motorsports, for professionals and amateurs alike, for years to come. I'm proud to work with my colleagues on this bipartisan legislation, and I look forward to seeing it move through the Senate."
"A big part of the fun of motorsports is the tradition of modifying regular cars into racecars," said Senator Manchin. "This legislation upholds amendments to the Clean Air Act that exempt modified vehicles and racecars from certain environmental regulations, protecting motorsports for years to come. I am proud to be a part of this bipartisan bill and look forward to the boost it will give to motorsports."
In 1965, Congress passed the Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act, which defined the term "motor vehicle" as "any self-propelled vehicle designed for transporting persons or property on a street or highway." In 1970, Congress clarified that the Clean Air Act's anti-tampering provision does not apply to vehicles manufactured or modified for racing.
Congress passed the Clean Air Act Amendments in 1990 to again exclude vehicles used solely for competition from the definition of "non-road vehicle," or a vehicle that is powered by a non-road engine and that is not a motor vehicle or a vehicle used solely for competition.  This clarification was instructive as it separates "vehicles used solely for competition" from "motor vehicles."
After examining the legislative history, it is clear that Congress never intended to provide the EPA with the authority to regulate vehicles used solely for competition, including vehicles modified to be used exclusively for racing.
The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act simply reaffirms Congress position and further protects amateur motorsports from devastating regulations in the future.
S. 2602 has 24 cosponsors in the Senate, including Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tim Scott (R-SC), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Mike Braun (R-IN), Todd Young (R-IN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Doug Jones (D-AL), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), John Boozman (R-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Mike Rounds (R-SD).
Senator Burr introduced similar legislation last Congress.
Organizations supporting the bill include:
  • American Motorcyclist Association (AMA)
  • Auto Care Association (Auto Care)
  • Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA)
  • California Automotive Wholesalers Association (CAWA)
  • Harley-Davidson Motor Company
  • International Hot Rod Association (IHRA)
  • LKQ Corporation (LKQ Corp)
  • Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA)
  • Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC)
  • Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF)
  • National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM)
  • North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA)
  • Off-Road Business Association (ORBA)
  • Service Station Dealers of America and Allied Trades (SSDA-AT)
  • Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)
  • Tire Industry Association (TIA)
TIA supported the RPM Act last Congress and will again work for its passage. 

Ways and Means Readying Major Tax Bill For House Floor
Recently, Ways and Means marked up and approved several bills related to health care. 
These bills are important priorities for the House Democratic majority, building blocks for a major tax bill.
The goal is to get one or more tax bills to the Senate to negotiate and pass on one of the appropriations bills by November 21. Or later if the continuing resolution that expires on November 21 is extended.
Getting a tax bill to the House floor is important for the extenders because it conveys majority support. There's still time to get a major tax bill to the floor and the components are emerging:
  • H.R. 3300, the "Economic Mobility Act," contains enhancements to the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
  • H.R. 3, the "Lower Drug Costs Now Act," aims to lower prescription drug prices via the Federal government negotiating with pharmaceutical manufacturers.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates Title I of H.R. 3 would reduce federal direct spending for Medicare by $345 billion over FY 2023-2029.  That size budget saving can help get Democrat budget hawks to vote for a House tax bill.
  • H.R. 4742, "Protecting American Lungs Act," introduced by Congressman Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY), a member of Ways and Means and WOTC supporter, imposes an excise tax on nicotine used in vaping, raising the price of e-cigarettes to the level of traditional cigarettes.  The Suozzi bill increases Federal revenue $9.9 billion-again, it helps offset the cost of the tax bill.
  • H.R. 3301, "Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act," retroactively extends to December 31st, 2020, all 2017 and 2018 expired tax provisions and those due to the expire in 2019.  Will Chairman Neal go with this bill?  It's title, "Taxpayer Certainty," is a contradiction-taxpyers can be fairly treated only by a much longer extension. 
We're at a critical juncture of the WOTC campaign, a House tax bill is beginning to take shape.  Decisions are being made on the extenders now.  Chairman Neal can decide H.R. 3301 is the best he can do given the mood of the House, or grant a longer extension.  Under House budget-scoring rules, the cost of a long-term extension doesn't have to be offset.