While numerous bills have been debated or voted upon in Congress this year, only a tiny fraction have become law. So far this session of the 118th Congress – that began this year and runs through next year – there have been 14,327 bill filings. How many have become law? A total of… 22. That is not a misprint. The total is just 22 bills. Of those bills, two simply change the name for clinics run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and there are a mix of bills dealing with things like a commemorative gold coin and allowing for elementary and secondary education funds to be spent on hunting and culinary arts equipment. Also, there are a few substantive bills of modest length that predominantly deal with appropriations.
While the number of bill filings is not a good yardstick for quality – as there are many ideas that never have a snowball’s chance of becoming law – something is very much in disarray. We can either throw up our hands as inaction in Congress has the effect of continually pushing more authority to federal agencies to fill in the gaps, or we can double-down and push for the things we believe in and which are critical to our industry and to the long-term economic well-being of our customers and communities. As we prepare for 2024, we hope that you will join us at the NCBA in recommitting ourselves to changing this situation. We have numerous members of Congress within both political parties in the North Carolina delegation who are deeply committed to helping pass meaningful legislation. Whenever we can, we need to be supporting their work, as often the more bipartisan cosponsors we can help line up for a bill, then the greater the chances of a bill’s passage or its integration into omnibus and appropriations bills.