D.C. Hotline: Beware of the lame duck
By Jeremy Stine
In the literal sense, a lame duck is a fowl unable to keep up with its flock. So it is quite fitting that we describe congressional activity after the Nov. 2 elections as a “lame duck session.”
Because of holidays and scheduling, there will only be about 12 voting days for the current legislators between their Nov. 15 return and the Jan. 3 swearing-in of the new flock. One can argue whether limited activity is a good thing or not. But that’s still enough time for the lame duck Congress to do too much — or too little.
On Jan. 1, Americans will experience the largest tax increase in the history of our nation if the Bush tax cuts and the estate tax are left to expire. It is unlikely there will be consensus on any extension. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), who as Majority Leader controls the Senate’s agenda, has instead blocked out the first week of business to be devoted to a pay equity measure. If passed, this measure would force business owners to prove that they don’t discriminate based on gender and would make it easier for trial attorneys to file class action lawsuits based on perceived gender discrimination.
Before those issues come to a head, here is one observer’s official prediction for the Nov. 2 election outcome: Republicans will win the House with 245 seats (It takes 218 for a majority) to 190 seats for the Democrats. The Senate will be split 50-50, with Vice President Joe Biden, the President of the Senate, giving Democrats the majority and the tie-breaking vote.
EPA seeks input on new formaldehyde regs
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it is forming an “advocacy review panel” of small business owners to focus on formaldehyde in the wood products industry. The advisory panel will help the agency prepare for the implementation of the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, enacted in July 2010. The new standards will establish formaldehyde limits for composite wood products (hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard and particleboard) so these products meet emission standards.
Formaldehyde is a known eye, nose and throat irritant, and in 1991, the EPA classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen. Formaldehyde-based resins are sometimes used as adhesives in composite wood products.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires the EPA to establish a federal panel for rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small organizations. The panel will include representatives from the Small Business Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, and the EPA. The panel will also ask a selected group of small entity representatives (SERs) to provide advice and recommendations on behalf of their company, community or organization to inform the panel on impacts of the proposed rule.
The EPA seeks self-nominations directly from the small organizations that may be subject to the rule requirements to facilitate the selection of SERs. Self-nominations may be submitted through epa.gov/sbrefa/formaldehyde.htm and must be received by Nov. 2, 2010.
Obituary: Carter Lumber’s Rollie Haring, 70
Long-time Carter lumber veteran and company executive Roland “Rollie” Haring died Oct. 24 at the age of 70.
“The Carter Lumber family of companies lost a good friend over the weekend as Rollie Haring passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, after a courageous and hard-fought 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer,” read a statement from the company.
“In 1958, Rollie began his career with Carter Lumber unloading box cars in Medina, Ohio. After spending over 20 years in the stores, Rollie moved to the purchasing department at the corporate office. By combining his infectious personality with his negotiation skills, Rollie was soon promoted to VP purchasing. In addition to his work on the executive committee, Rollie was also a member of the board of directors and assumed other roles such as VP logistics, a position he held until his death.
“While at Carter Lumber, Rollie won the hearts and friendships of all who knew him, and he will be sorely missed.”
Haring’s obituary on Ohio.com describes him as a sports fan, a man with many friends in and out of the lumber industry, and a neighbor who embraced the tradition of Christmas with an impressive annual Christmas-lights display.
Rolland Edwin Haring was born Aug. 5, 1940, in Lodi, Ohio.