H.R. 6490: 100 co-sponsors or bust

Friday, November 30, 2012

WASHINGTON – With 59 co-sponsors in their back pockets and organized lobbying efforts scheduled for Dec. 4 and 5, industry stakeholders have direct aim at 100 co-sponsors for H.R. 6490.

“Here’s hoping we can generate the noise needed to bring that other 40-plus co-sponsors on board,” said Wayne Stanfield, president and CEO of NAIMES. “Because it’s coming down to one simple thing: If we don’t have 100 or more, we’re done.”

When it comes to co-sponsors, it’s always the more the merrier, but stakeholders believe the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., needs at least 100 co-sponsors to move H.R. 6490 out of committee and attach it to a larger piece of legislation.

Stakeholders hope that the call-in campaigns scheduled for Dec. 4 and 5 by The VGM Group and NAIMES, respectively, will do two things: focus the industry’s attention on the task at hand and, using sheer numbers, cut through the noise on Capitol Hill.

“We hope if we do it all at once, we’ll get their attention,” said John Gallagher, vice president of government relations for VGM. “We want them to say, ‘What’s going on with this? How can we sign on?’”

As in past efforts, VGM is pitting state associations against each other in a friendly competition to see which can get the most representatives to sign on as co-sponsors. The executive director of the winning association will get a free ride to the Heartland Conference in June.

“We’re trying to make it fun, so it’s not just work,” Gallagher said.

While it seems all anyone can talk about on the Hill is the fiscal cliff, stakeholders are targeting another issue that needs to be resolved, the “doc fix,” as a potential vehicle for H.R. 6490.

“There’s a 99% chance that they’re going to address the doc fix,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. “So getting the co-sponsors is huge. All these things have to happen at the same time.”