by Eric Lanke, NFPA CEO
Thanks to all the NFPA members who joined me February 9-10 for our first “day” on Capitol Hill. Representatives of Caterpillar, Bosch Rexroth, Danfoss Power Solutions, Deltrol Fluid Products, Eaton, Hydra-Power Systems, Parker Hannifin, and Moog teamed up with NFPA and with Kim Stelson and Mike Gust of the CCEFP to talk to legislative staff members about a $10-million appropriation for the Vehicles Technology Office of the Department of Energy to manage a program focused on energy-efficiency hydraulics research for off-highway equipment.
We met with 20 different staffers—some on the House side, some on the Senate side—and all with positions on their chamber’s Energy and Water subcommittees, the place where appropriations for the DOE must begin. Although they weren’t able to send someone to participate in the visits, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers is also a partner in this initiative, recognizing the need to keep innovating in the off-highway vehicle market. And innovation and competitiveness were common themes discussed in all of our meetings. A desire to keep the United States in a position of technological leadership and an expected growth in the number of engineering and manufacturing jobs was a motivator for every staff person we met with.
It was a good thing we had done our homework before each meeting, counting up the number of jobs the companies listed above represented in each state and congressional district. Several offices agreed to work with us on crafting appropriate language for the appropriations request, which is supposed to be finalized in the next 60 days. Stay tuned for further updates.