Official Letters to Congress and the Administration
NSSGA represents the interests of the aggregates industry before Congress, the White House and the federal government’s departments and agencies. In order to best serve the needs of our members, we proactively seek opportunities to advance policies that benefit the aggregates industry and educate political leaders about its importance. Below you will find letters that NSSGA has sent to leaders in Washington. Please feel free to use these letters to advance your own advocacy and policy efforts. For further assistance, please contact Austin Bone (email@example.com).
February 23, 2021 – Welcomes hearing titled Building Back Better: The Urgent Need for Investment in America’s Wastewater Infrastructure. NSSGA supports efforts to improve and invest in all levels of our nation’s infrastructure network, including water and wastewater infrastructure, and appreciates the subcommittee’s work achieving this goal.
February 19, 2021 – NSSGA expresses concern with certain provisions included in H.R. 803, the ‘‘Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act’’. NSSGA is most concerned with Section 802 that would permanently ban aggregate production on millions of acres of land in Arizona. Such a ban would severely diminish the ability for communities to access key resources that are necessary for building roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, homes and businesses.
January 29, 2021 – NSSGA, as part of the Opportunity America Jobs and Careers Coalition, sent a letter to express support for apprenticeship but also concern about the draft of the National
Apprenticeship Act that is currently moving through the House. Specifically, the group shared concerns about the scope of training the legislation authorizes and what it sees as onerous reporting requirements, among other issues.
January 21, 2021 – NSSGA welcomes the Commerce Committee’s confirmation hearing for Mayor Pete Buttigieg as the next Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT). The association states it is reassuring that a pivotal cabinet position as significant as this one is given the consideration and urgency to move through Congress and help the Biden Administration begin the task of leading our Nation’s infrastructure and transportation policies.
January 20, 2021 – NSSGA strongly urges the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Acting Assistant Secretary Silvey to oppose implementing a broad Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that hinders the progress we have made over the past ten months to keep employees safe during the pandemic.
December 7, 2020 – NSSGA supports the passage and bi-partisan work on WRDA 2020, sharing hopes that this action sets the stage for additional infrastructure efforts in the 117th Congress. The association acknowledged several upcoming needs, including a multi-year highway reauthorization bill, addressing the financial insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund and working on the pandemic’s impact on the State Departments of Transportation agencies.
December 1, 2020 – NSSGA joined other groups to urge support for a PPP second draw. The PPP was a historically successful relief
measure, and the group commended House Leadership for its formulation and speed to market. They also urged Congress to lighten the tax burden of existing PPP recipients by enacting full tax deductibility for PPP loans and taking other measures.
November 24, 2020 – NSSGA joins other construction associations and labor unions to call on congressional appropriators to pass a fiscal 2021 spending bill, rather than just extending the continuing resolution currently in place. The groups state the legislation should include full funding for core highway and public transit programs at authorized levels as well as increased supplemental investments in these programs.
November 19, 2020 – NSSGA takes recent action to remind lawmakers the importance of including Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness, working with a coalition to secure passage of this important policy. The association encourages Congress to quickly consider legislation that will help countless businesses navigate the overly complex forgiveness process.
November 16, 2020 – NSSGA submits comments on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permits modification. This program provides a “short form” to quicker permitting of Clean Water Act Dredge and Fill “WOTUS” projects, and NSSGA supports streamlining provisions in this proposal. NSSGA generally supports this reissuance of the NWPs but is concerned about the lack of a specific NWP for aggregates. NSSGA suggests that the Corps more clearly address the scope of jurisdiction and issue a functional NWP for the aggregates industry.
November 16, 2020 – NSSGA joined other groups to support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permitting program. This program is an essential tool, facilitating the development of
critical, resilient infrastructure that helps communities thrive. Permits issued by the Corps play an important role in authorizing infrastructure projects that build more inclusive communities and
deliver opportunities for a better life.
November 13, 2020 – NSSGA, as part of the Jobs and Careers Coalition, again expressed strong support for the upcoming congressional debate about the National Apprenticeship Act. Though not all of our initial concerns about the legislation, which we expressed when it was first circulated in March 2020, have not been addressed, we are pleased to see the House
turning its attention to the issue and look forward to continuing to work with you in the future to elevate apprenticeship as a national priority and increase funding to bring it to scale across the United States.
October 7, 2020 – NSSGA urges Congress to continue working on a legislative package that will support the nation as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic, and includes targeted relief for the State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) that have seen drastic cuts due to the public health crisis. State DOT revenue losses were massive, and right at the height of the highway construction season. At least $37 billion is needed to fill this funding gap.
September 28, 2020 – NSSGA opposes a vote on Tuesday, Sept. 29 under suspension of H.R. 1603, the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019. Though the bill rightly seeks to ban the importation into and use of commercial asbestos in the U.S., regrettably, H.R. 1603’s current definition of “asbestos” is incorrect. While NSSGA supports the goal of H.R. 1603, we have urged that the definition of “asbestos” be broadened to include certain asbestiform minerals that are not currently regulated.
September 23, 2020 – NSSGA showed support for S.4589, which clarifies ESA goals to ensure species are removed from the list when desired population levels are met. Further, the association was glad to see it would promote standardized and transparent scientific decisions and increase consultation with local communities and stakeholders, who should be leading efforts to protect local wildlife.
September 9, 2020 – NSSGA joined other trade groups to push for an extension of the FAST Act before Sept. 30. Public agencies continue to face COVID-19 pandemic-induced revenue declines. As a result, state and local entities already delayed or cancelled $8 billion in surface transportation projects, with more on the
horizon absent any clear sign of support from the federal government. Failure to approve a one-year extension with increased funding for the purpose of stability would only exacerbate this dire situation.
September 8, 2020 – NSSGA encouraged Congressional Leadership to take action to avoid a government shutdown. In addition, NSSGA asked that they ensure responsibly funded federal agencies and programs that are essential for the operations of
all businesses remain operational. The letter also stated that allowing them to shutter due to Congressional inaction will have a dramatic impact on our economy.
August 8, 2020 – NSSGA joined other organizations to continue to push for state departments of transportation (DOT) relief and the need to protect the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) from any premature revenue/user fee eliminations as negotiations continue on a pandemic package. Specifically, the groups pushed for an immediate infusion of $37 billion in federal funding for state DOTs and opposeed any proposal to temporarily suspend or permanently repeal a dedicated federal user fee that generates revenue to support surface transportation improvements.
August 4, 2020 – NSSGA joined industry groups to urge Congress, as they work to negotiate another round of relief in response to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, to include a technical correction addressing the tax treatment of loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
July 30, 2020 – NSSGA, the Opportunity America Jobs and Careers Coalition, expressed strong support for the workforce provisions in the Safely Back to School and Back to Work Act. Job-focused education and training is more important than ever at this time of deep economic distress for workers and employers, and the group supported the innovative Workforce Recovery and Training Services Act (WRTSA) being included in the package.
July 27, 2020 – NSSGA joined 60 diverse industry associations to oppose the inclusion of any increase in minimum liability coverage for motor carriers in the Senate’s highway bill and/or infrastructure package. An increase in insurance requirements is wholly unnecessary, would do nothing to improve highway safety, and would have a severe negative impact on truckers, farmers, and manufacturers by significantly increasing their operational costs.
July 23, 2020 – NSSGA joined forces with 40 other organizations to push back against an amendment H.R. 7608, the first package of appropriations legislation that would block implementation of recently completed reforms to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. These important reforms will ensure a federal permitting process that is predictable and transparent, where “go” or “no go” decisions are made in a reasonable timeframe, and facilitates getting Americans back to work rebuilding critical infrastructure that will move people, goods, energy and information.
July 22, 2020 – NSSGA, along with the 10 other groups that make up the Highway Materials Group, to support H.R. 1957, the Great American Outdoors (GAO) Act. Our country’s national parks and public lands comprise our nation’s most significant natural and cultural treasures. Much of the infrastructure that these irreplaceable resources depend on, such as roads, bridges, and trails, is worn-out or desperately in need of repair and rehabilitation at a time when visitors need safe roads and bridges, accessible trails and 21st century infrastructure.
July 20, 2020 – NSSGA and 40 other organizations thanksed Congress for their continued leadership to provide stability and relief to the American people and the U.S. economy that are reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic. As Congress works to find
agreement on additional legislation in response to the pandemic, NSSGA and other other organizations, strongly urged Congress to include an immediate infusion of at least $37 billion to state departments of transportation (DOTs) to ensure the delivery of planned transportation projects whose benefits will extend far beyond this pandemic and forestall further job losses in the public and private sectors.
July 15, 2020 – NSSGA joined more than 100 industry groups to urge Congress to take swift action on a long-term infrastructure bill. During the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers in America have continued operating while doing everything possible to ensure the health and safety of millions of employees, their families and their communities. Transportation and logistics partners across the manufacturing supply chain went into overdrive to provide our sector with the capabilities to meet the immediate challenges posed by COVID-19. It is time for Congress to advance proposals that can unite stakeholders by prioritizing progress on a robustly funded, on-time surface transportation reauthorization.
NSSGA Supports the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill
July 13, 2020 – NSSGA strongly supports the robust funding levels provided in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill. These are past-due investments that will drive economic recovery, create
high-paying jobs and provide much greater returns that improve communities and the livelihoods of all Americans. Specifically, we would like to thank you for providing $61.3 billion
in funding for our highway programs, while also adding an additional $1 billion in discretionary funding and providing $1 billion for National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER/BUILD)
July 1, 2020 – NSSGA sent a letter to Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Leadership to support infrastructure investment as a priority for driving economic recovery. NSSGA has been a strong supporter of the committee’s work and believes infrastructure is our best legislative tool to drive economic recovery. NSSGA pushed for bills like ATIA and AWIA and Congressional support for state DOTs and their budget shortfalls as a result of the pandemic and falling gas tax receipts.
July 1, 2020 – NSSGA, as part of the Transportation Construction Coalition, urged the House of Representatives to approve H.R. 2, The Moving Forward Act, as a necessary step toward reauthorizing federal surface transportation programs before the expiration of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act on Sept. 30.
The legislation’s unparalleled highway and public transportation investment would allow for significant improvements to the nation’s surface transportation system.
June 29, 2020 – NSSGA urged Congressional Leadership to bring forward an infrastructure package that addresses the current shortfalls in state DOT and local government budgets and sets the stage for economic prosperity. The letter was in response to a report in The Washington Post report on a study by the National League of Cities that found more than 700 cities across the country have halted projects that would improve roads, buy equipment and complete other much needed public works projects, including water systems. These are projects vital to the economic health of our nation and the states, cities and communities that comprise it.
June 4, 2020 – NSSGA urged Congress to come together and pass meaningful infrastructure investment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s economy has come to a dramatic stop and unemployment figures have risen to historic highs. NSSGA encouraged Congress to support the countless public works projects that benefit local and regional communities.
June 3, 2020 – NSSGA sent a letter welcoming yesterday’s Commerce Committee Hearing titled “Infrastructure: The Road to Recovery.” NSSGA encouraged Congress to support a clear, uniform Hours-of-Service (HOS) exemption for thousands of companies involved in construction. The association also suggested improving enforcement, ensuring the industry is better educated and establishing a uniform construction HOS exemption.
May 20, 2020 – On behalf of the Opportunity America Jobs and Careers Coalition, NSSGA thanked HELP Committee and Committee on Education and Labor leadership for new thinking on both sides of the aisle about how to address the nation’s workforce needs as we recover and rebuild in the wake of the global pandemic. The letter also encouraged Congress to craft a package that draws on the best thinking on both sides of the aisle and to support fiscally responsible investment with outcomes-based performance metrics to ensure that dollars go to effective, well-vetted programs aligned with in-demand jobs.
May 19, 2020 – NSSGA, as part of the Highway Materials Group, asked Congressional leadership to clarify the recent retroactively imposed guidelines regarding loan forgiveness that have created confusion. The many ambiguities of the new rules, combined with the liabilities added to the loan forgiveness provisions, have left recipients concerned that they may inadvertently be running afoul the PPP requirements.
May 12, 2020 – NSSGA sent a letter to Capital Hill to request that frack sand and its producer companies be included in any relief provided to the oil and gas industry. Industrial sand is an integral part of U.S. shale oil – it cannot be produced without it – and the industry has been negatively impacted by the decline in demand for oil and the subsequent decline in oil prices due to COVID-19.
May 6, 2020 – NSSGA, as part of the Transportation Construction Coaltion, expressed concern with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) April 20 acceptance of Ligado’s application to provide 5G services nationwide. Specifically, the TCC opposes Ligado’s proposed network as it would interfere with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and other signals used in and around transportation construction sites.
May 3, 2020 – NSSGA and other associations urged Congress to provide commonsense and appropriately tailored liability protections for manufacturers and other essential industries. NSSGA believes essential industries should not be punished for leading our country’s response to COVID-19, operating in good faith and trying to do the right thing.
May 1, 2020 – NSSGA, as part of the Clean Water Council, urged Congress to support SRF reauthorizations such as H.R. 1497, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act, for long-term solutions to our water infrastructure funding needs.
May 1, 2020 – NSSGA joined other organizations to urge the President to address infrastructure and highway reauthorization. The letter encouraged increased highway, bridge, public transportation and safety program funding to support direct job creation and retention.
April 24, 2020 – NSSGA, as part of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), sent a letter urging Congressional leadership to provide state departments of transportation (DOTs) with at least a $49.95 billion infusion of federal funding to ensure improvements to the nation’s transportation infrastructure move forward and mitigate potential job losses in the transportation construction industry.
April 9, 2020 – NSSGA, as part of the Highway Materials Group, sent a letter to Congressional leadership requesting federal support for state Department of Transportation (DoT) agencies who are facing decreasing revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced tens of millions of Americans to stay home, and over three dozen states have issued “shelter in place” orders, state DoTs are experiencing a dramatic decline of vehicles on the road and commuters utilizing mass transit.
April 6, 2020 – NSSGA joined other energy infrastructure businesses to urge action to halt destructive Saudi and Russian dumping of crude oil on global markets. These two countries announced a plan to flood the global market with crude oil in another deliberate and undisguised attempt to drive American shale energy producers and their supply chains out of business and their workers out of jobs.
March 29, 2020 – NSSGA sent a letter to the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division to support small, family owned, aggregates operators and the companies that supply them. NSSGA asked that the 50-employer exemption be interpreted as a broad exemption without adding unnecessary paperwork or processes that businesses would need to address in order to be exempted from the requirements.
March 23, 2020 – NSSGA urged DHS to recognize the aggregates industry as “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers”. NSSGA said the industry is ready to continue economic growth by providing the materials necessary to revitalize the country’s infrastructure.
March 20, 2020 – NSSGA writes to Congressional leaders to urge investment in infrastructure projects. When the aggregates industry is doing well, the economy is doing well. NSSGA members stand ready to help get the U.S. economy moving again by producing aggregates that go into waterways, ports, airports, rail and transit networks and energy infrastructure.
March 20, 2020 – NSSGA and our construction industry partners urged President Trump to issue guidance that ensures the construction materials (including aggregates) and connected industries are considered essential to America’s economy.
March 19, 2020 – NSSGA and other organizations sent a letter to Capital Hill to thank Sens. Marco Rubio and Susan Collins for their efforts to support small businesses during this crisis. In particular, the letter notes two key aspects, including an emergency loan program to support small businesses and a clause that forgives a portion of the loan equal to an appropriate percentage of payroll.
March 19, 2020 – While there are diverse and well-intended views on how federal policy can stabilize and resuscitate the U.S. economy during times of crisis, there are few initiatives that can match the combination of immediate and long-term benefits of increased infrastructure investment. The Transportation Construction Coalition explained that a robust reauthorization of the federal surface transportation programs, as advocated by Senate and House leaders, is an opportunity to help address these challenges.
March 18, 2020 – NSSGA, joined by several strategic partners, urges Congress to authorize an additional $10 billion in Airport Improvement Grants (AIP) to allow airport capital projects and programs to continue. This funding is necessary to keep projects on track during this trying time when airport operating revenue is dropping due to reduction in travelers during the COVID-19 health crisis.
March 18, 2020 – NSSGA, along with 96 other national trade associations, calls upon Congress and President Trump to take action on providing necessary relief to businesses of all sizes through immediate, readily accessible unsecured credit so NSSGA members can continue to pay their works and other costs during this crisis. The trade associations joined together to ask government leaders to suspend business tax returns for the duration of the current pandemic, as well as asking for the Tax Code to be amended to allow businesses to carryback any net operating losses against previous year tax payments.
March 12, 2020 – NSSGA thanks the Trump Administration for considering relief to the shale oil industry and requests that frack sand and its producer companies be included in shale oil relief. Frack sand and the companies that produce it are an indispensable part of the shale oil industry.
January 30, 2020 – On behalf of NSSGA members, who have a strong working relationship with DOI and its many agencies, NSSGA wrote a letter to support the nomination of Katharine MacGregor to be the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI).
December 18, 2019 – NSSGA, as part of the 11-member Highway Materials Group, urged lawmakers to finalize negotiations on Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations and express gratitude for enacting H.R. 1158 and H.R. 1865, which provide robust funding to advance our nation’s infrastructure.
December 18, 2019 – Pro-growth trading policies are important to aggregates and industrial sand producers and the manufacturers and businesses that supply them. NSSGA expressed support for H.R. 5430, the USMCA trade agreement, to level the playing field for our nation, leading to stronger economic growth and creating good-paying jobs that allows for additional investment and development of homes, businesses, roads and all types of infrastructure projects.
December 17, 2020 – NSSGA wrote to House Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., to express strong support for the 18 bills recently introduced that bring needed and common-sense reforms to the Endangered Species Act. The current permitting process often hampers many aggregates operations as they are tied up in bureaucratic red tape – that many times does not lead to improving outcomes for the species.
September 30, 2019 – As a participant of the Infrastructure Working Group, NSSGA joined a diverse group representing manufacturers to labor, construction to technology, agriculture to retailers and finance to local/state government to urge bipartisan action to address the nation’s long-standing infrastructure deficit. Substantial and long-term investments in all kinds of infrastructure are needed to expand our economy, grow jobs and compete globally. The group identified six key principles that a federal infrastructure package should accomplish.
September 18, 2019 – NSSGA expressed our strong support for the confirmation of Eugene Scalia to be the Secretary of Labor in a recent letter to Capitol Hill. Mr. Scalia is an expert in workplace and administrative law, who has the right skills and experience to guide the Department of Labor (DOL) on its critical mission to protect workers, while simultaneously ensuring the Department engages in policies that foster job creation and economic opportunities.
September 18, 2019 – NSSGA sent a letter opposing H.R. 2640, the “Buffalo Tract Protection Act” as it would permanently ban aggregate production in areas of central New Mexico—severely
limiting critical resources needed in the construction of infrastructure and public works projects for the growing region.
July 18, 2019 – NSSGA helped lead an effort to express strong support for enacting a bipartisan budget agreement that will increase discretionary spending limits for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 and beyond. The group requested that reached include a repeal of the rescission of $7.6 billion in Federal-aid highway contract authority scheduled to occur next year.
July 17, 2019 – NSSGA sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources opposing H.R. 1373, the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, which would permanently withdraw over 1 million acres of Federal lands located in Arizona from public land, mining, mineral and geothermal leasing laws. Such a ban would severely diminish the ability for communities to access key resources that are necessary for building roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, homes and businesses.
July 11, 2019 – NSSGA sent letters to House and Senate leadership applauding recent approval of the FY 2020 LHHS Appropriations bill. This version rejected the President’s proposed reduction in funding for NIOSH and included an increase of $10 million over FY 2019.
June 19, 2019 – NSSGA sent a letter to House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Neal and Ranking Member Brady to oppose proposed changes to the estate tax exemption included in H.R. 3301, the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019. The association express concerns with Section 201 of H.R. 3301 which sunsets the current estate tax exemption at the end of 2022 as a pay-for renewing and extending several individual and business tax provisions.
June 14, 2019 – NSSGA joined with the U.S. Chamber and coalition partners on a letter to President Trump and leadership of the House and Senate, urging them to renew action on infrastructure investment legislation now. Each side acknowledges the need to invest in and improve our nation’s infrastructure. Our elected leaders must resume discussions toward legislative action on infrastructure investment.
June 3, 2019 – NSSGA President & CEO Michael W. Johnson sent a letter regarding the FY 2020 T-HUD Appropriation bill. “While we understand more work is needed for both chambers of Congress and the Administration to reach an agreement on overall spending levels for FY 2020, we are encouraged by the rapid work of the Committee to approve legislation that advances our nation’s infrastructure priorities.”
May 21, 2019 – NSSGA President & CEO Michael W. Johnson sent a letter to President Trump and Congressional leaders on Tuesday in advance of their White House meeting on infrastructure to take place Wednesday, May 22. In the letter, Johnson urged the leaders to fix America’s infrastructure. “Tomorrow is an opportunity for leadership of historic proportions to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure. The time is now to identify the funding for such a package and get America’s infrastructure back on track.”
April 11, 2019 – NSSGA joined with a number of business groups to support the Main Street Tax Certainty Act of 2019, which would make permanent the Section 199A 20 percent qualified business income deduction. “These Main Street employers are the backbone of the American economy — they employ the majority of U.S. workers and represent 95 percent of all businesses,” said the group.
February 1, 2019 – As a member of the Transportation Construction Coalition, NSSGA joined other associations and construction trade unions in supporting the Rebuild America Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). The legislation would address the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund for the foreseeable future by raising adequate revenue to not only plug the $18 billion per-year projected deficit but also support growing surface transportation investment levels.
December 28, 2018 – NSSGA and the 30 national associations and trade unions that make up the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) sent a letter to express concerns regarding S. 3647, the “TIFIA for Airports Act” to broaden the eligibility of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Program. The suggests creating a credit assistance program dedicated to airports and funded out of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) or the federal General Fund.
September 13, 2018 – As a member of the Transportation Construction Coalition, NSSGA and other industry partners sent letters urging members of Congress to support the House Amendment to S. 3021, the “America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.” The group states that “this legislation will provide much needed investments for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Civil Works projects, including dredging, locks, levees, dams, and water supply projects, as well as critical drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects.”
August 16, 2018 – NSSGA and other organizations representing a broad range of industries sent a letter in support of the HOURS Act, introduced by Congressmen Rick Crawford, Sanford Bishop and Bruce Westerman. The timely legislation would provide narrow and targeted relief and flexibility in hours-of-service (HOS) rules for truck drivers across the country as they continue to move our nation’s goods and the economy.
June 28, 2018 – As part of the Opportunity America Jobs and Careers Coalition, NSSGA and other organizations showed their support for The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, legislation to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee showed its commitment to career and technical education, and the group applauded the diligence and determination of Democrats and Republicans on the committee who worked long and hard to come to a consensus on this important legislation.