The year 2022 was another busy and eventful one for the NACS government relations team. The convenience and fuel retailing industry saw some important wins in the payments and electric vehicle spaces, helped prevent onerous regulations and was invited to testify in front of various congressional committees.
Helping drive the policy wins were highly successful NACS Grassroots efforts throughout the year. In addition to policy successes, NACSPAC had a strong year in fundraising and in seeing candidates supported by the PAC win their elections. Here is a look at some of our legislative activities for 2022.
Our advocacy efforts seeking competition and fairness on swipe fees gained significant traction in 2022. Bipartisan legislation was introduced in both the House and the Senate that would inject competition into the credit card market by requiring that a second competitive network be enabled on credit cards, prohibiting Visa and Mastercard from dominating those payments. The introduction of the Credit Card Competition Act by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Roger Marshall (R-KS), as well as Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Lance Gooden (R-TX), marked the first bipartisan effort in over a decade to reform the swipe fee marketplace. While the bill did not pass last year, NACS is already building upon the momentum and pushing for its passage in 2023.
In addition to the introduction of that legislation, our industry was integral in getting a bipartisan group of members of Congress to send a letter to Visa and Mastercard urging those companies not to move forward with planned fee increases. Unfortunately, the credit card firms raised fees.
From a regulatory standpoint, our industry saw wins in the payment space. We were successful in getting a favorable rulemaking from the Federal Reserve clarifying that two network routing options must be enabled on all card-not-present, mobile and in-app debit transactions. Additionally, NACS successfully urged the Federal Trade Commission to bring enforcement action against Mastercard for blocking debit-routing competitors.
The industry saw some significant wins in the fuels arena. While the effort continues, NACS helped successfully halt the expedited process and proposal which would have created onerous fire code requirements for EV chargers at gas stations. That fight is not over, but efforts to fast track the regulations were stopped. We were successful in achieving a short-term Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) one-pound waiver to allow for the sale of E15 in the summer months of 2022 and worked with a broad group of stakeholders from ethanol and oil and gas producers and retailers to get legislation introduced to allow for year-round sales of E15 fuels.
NACS also saw success in amending a price-gouging bill in the House which would have marked the first time that replacement cost increases would be considered when evaluating price-gouging claims. While the overall legislation passed the House, it was not taken up by the Senate. NACS also helped keep parts of the supply chain moving by achieving multiple extensions of the hours-of-service waivers for truck drivers hauling goods to c-stores and ensured that the waivers applied to fuel truck drivers as well.
OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL
As Congress moved closer to the holidays and the end of the year to pass a massive omnibus appropriations package to fund the government for 2023, NACS remained hard at work advocating for the industry’s interests. In the end, we were able to stop an effort to remove labeling requirements for renewable diesel, which would have prevented businesses in the industry from knowing when they were buying renewable diesel and would have prevented the tax advantages of the product from being part of the purchases. NACS also prevented multiple onerous privacy bills from being included and worked with a coalition to add language to advance implementation of the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program and truck size and weight research to encourage raising the limits on gross vehicle weight.
Much of these policy wins can be credited to the strength of the NACS Grassroots program, which relies on our members and industry colleagues to engage directly with their members of Congress. In 2022, our signature advocacy event, NACS Day on the Hill, was held virtually, with 131 attendees completing 243 congressional meetings covering 45 states. Throughout the year, NACS also helped organize several fly-ins focused on the swipe fee issue, bringing nearly 200 retailers and merchants to Washington, D.C. Our grassroots Calls to Action generated over 6,200 messages to Capitol Hill, and NACS also hosted 11 NACS In Store Events with members of Congress in their home districts or states.
NACSPAC had a successful year as well. The PAC raised $755,650 from 517 individual contributors in 2022, compared with $701,546 from 474 individuals in 2021. NACSPAC helped ensure that the voice of the convenience and fuel retailing industry was heard on Capitol Hill. NACSPAC contributed $788,000, supporting 163 candidates and 52 leadership PACs throughout the year. For the entire two-year election cycle, $1.46 million was raised and $1.44 million was contributed to members of Congress and candidates who support our industry.
Our advocacy efforts seeking competition and fairness on swipe fees gained significant traction in 2022."
Last year was a successful one in Washington for our industry, but much work remains. The government relations team has hit the ground running in 2023, getting to know the newly elected congressional members and ensuring that your priorities are top of mind in Congress. In order to get our policy objectives across the finish line, we need your continued help. Please keep an eye on your inboxes for “Calls to Action” from NACS, and be sure to add your own voice to those being heard by your elected representatives. You can reach out to our team to get involved and take action today!