Why the Congressional Printing Caucus is Like Having 'Friends on Capitol Hill'
Last month, the newly formed Congressional Printing Caucus was announced, marking a "first-of-its kind bipartisan Caucus dedicated to advancing a public policy agenda that benefits and protects America's printing industry and its rich, diverse, and varied communities," according to a press release. "The Caucus will provide the Alliance with regular opportunities to educate a core group of lawmakers and their staff about the issues, legislation, and regulations that have a potential effect on the printing industry," the release continued.
But what is a Printing Caucus and what does it mean for our industry? We spoke with Julie Philp of ACG Advocacy to find out more.
Meet the Representatives on the Printing Caucus
For starters, the Congressional Printing Caucus is led by Representatives Claudia Tenney (R-NY-24), Mark Pocan (D-WI-2), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR-5), and Jared Golden (D-ME-2), who will serve as co-chairs. The goal of the caucus is to advance an agenda protecting the U.S. printing industry and the communities the industry supports.
Philp explains that the Representatives were initially identified due to connections to the paper and printing industries. Representatives Chavez-DeRemer and Golden are from districts that are deeply embedded in forestry. Representatives Tenney and Pocan, however, were selected because of their backgrounds in the industry. Congresswoman Tenney was previously the co-owner and legal counsel to Sherburne, New York's Mid-York Press, a commercial printing company that was started by her grandfather in the 1940s, according to her website. Similarly, Congressman Pocan knows the world of printing well, having opened Budget Signs & Specialties, a Madison, Wisconsin-based printing company he has run since 1988.
Although there are currently four Representatives serving as co-chairs for the industry, Philp says ACG Advocacy will continue to work on identifying additional Members of Congress to join the Printing Caucus.
"The great thing with Members of Congress is they all use printers for their campaign materials," she says. "There is no Member of Congress who has not worked with a printer, [so] our goal is to build out membership over time."
What Are the Goals of the Printing Caucus?
Although it will take time to address some long-term goals, Philp explains there are some actionable items and events she would like to see the Caucus address in the coming months.
Philp explains that in the past, in partnership with Keep US Posted, Members of Congress were invited to fill out a Mother's Day card, they were provided with postage stamps, and directed to a mailbox for the event. The event was designed to bring awareness to the rising cost of postage and it is something Philp would like to see brought back next year. In conjunction with the event, she will ask the co-chairs of the Printing Caucus if they would be willing "to go down to the House floor and speak about the importance of the industry for each congressional district” prior to legislative business that day. The Printing Caucus may also send out a notice to all offices via a “Dear Colleague” letter so that both Members and staffers are aware of the event. This would also highlight the caucus and its purpose.
She also explains that in addition to traditional steps, like fly-ins and hosted briefings, the Printing Caucus will ask Members for support by co-sponsoring a bill, asking a question at a hearing, signing a letter, or appearing at an event. Furthermore, Philp says she worked with Ford Bowers, CEO of PRINTING United Alliance, to bring Members of the Alliance Board to the Hill in July. The group met with Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and the staff of Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to discuss NAICS codes. Philp plans to try to bring the Alliance Board to the Hill again next year to meet with the co-chairs of the Printing Caucus, along with Senators and staffs, to help them understand the importance of the industry.
Philp has worked with Caucuses with focuses that run the gamut, but she says one of the reasons Caucuses are so important is because they're a way for Congress to "converse" with their constituents about an issue they care about.
"It's a really great way to identify Members of Congress who will care about your issue, and it's a great way to get information to them," she says.
In the future, Philp would like to schedule a fly-in with print service providers. It would give Members of the Caucus the opportunity to meet with their constituents and gain a deeper understanding of the printing industry and its impact.
Why Is This Printing Caucus Important?
Philp describes the creation of a Caucus — with members — as a way to have "friends on Capitol Hill, people who you have their ear and they're going to hear you out." Because, she explains, its understandably difficult to get a meeting with a Representative or their staff. It can also help "prevent legislation that would negatively impact the industry," she adds.
It’s good to know that the printing industry now has eyes and ears in the Capitol and that we have a group of advocates on our side.
To become a member of PRINTING United Alliance and learn more about the Printing Caucus and our advocacy efforts, please contact the Alliance membership team: 888-385-3588 / email@example.com.