Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), right, speaking with Iowa electric co-op leaders on Capitol Hill during NRECA’s Legislative Conference.
Nearly 2,000 electric cooperative leaders at NRECA’s Legislative Conference had a direct impact on electric co-op priorities. The House voted (417-3) to pass the SECURE Act (H.R. 1994) on May 23 and moved it to the Senate. Co-ops helped get 58 House bill cosponsors prior to passage.
Co-op leaders also helped to build momentum for the RURAL Act (H.R. 2147, S. 1032) to preserve co-ops’ tax-exempt status when they receive federal, state and local government grants. Nearly 60 lawmakers are cosponsoring the House bill to resolve an unintended consequence of the 2017 tax law that leaves co-ops at risk of losing their tax-exempt status when they accept FEMA and broadband grants to address community needs.
Another result of co-ops’ advocacy is an effort to increase funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, grid resiliency and hydropower programs. NRECA and co-ops continue to work with lawmakers on passing that legislation.
Your co-ops also carried the message that anticipated infrastructure legislation must improve the economic outlook in rural America through investments to modernize the grid, expand rural broadband access and electrify the economy. The co-op surge on rural infrastructure priorities came as congressional Democratic leaders met with the president to discuss a plan that includes grid modernization and rural broadband expansion.