SMACNA at the White House & SMACNA Endorses Bipartisan Bill on Substance Abuse

SMACNA was asked to be part of a policy roundtable on supply chain for highly efficient heat pumps and related decarbonization technologies that are key parts of whole house retrofits.

SMACNA was asked to be part of a policy roundtable on supply chain for highly efficient heat pumps and related decarbonization technologies that are key parts of whole house retrofits. SMACNA’s Executive Director of Government & Political Affairs, Stan Kolbe, joined incoming SMART President Mike Coleman at the off-the-record policy discussion in April. This roundtable was closed to the press and public to foster candid dialogue.

At the roundtable, the White House and Energy Secretary Granholm convened heat pump manufacturer, contractor and distributor executives and labor leaders to discuss how America can lead in growing the global clean energy economy by investing in America’s workers and creating good, union jobs here at home. 

The discussion focused on how pairing public and private investments with new Inflation Reduction Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Defense Production Act programs — such as tax credits, rebates, grants and loans — will spur deployment of and help meet residential and commercial demand for heat pumps. Taken together, these efforts will also support good jobs, boost American competitiveness, reduce emissions and lower energy costs for families and small businesses.

Executives and labor leaders discussed how supply and demand side signals from the private and public sectors can spur even more investment in heat pump manufacturing, while scaling workforce development and training.

America’s manufacturing resurgence continues, as the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to working with key partners to reap the economic and pollution-reduction benefits of investing in an American-made clean energy economy.

SMACNA Endorses bill on substance abuse (S. 644/H.R. 1359).
Major identical bipartisan bills were just introduced to assist workers and others suffering from opioid and related substance abuse in their communities with the support of trained medical professionals. The Senate bill, S. 644, the Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act (MOTA), was sponsored by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). The bill would increase access to care for people, often in the workforce, experiencing opioid use disorder (OUD) by reforming outdated regulations governing the prescription and dispensing of methadone and related effective medications for treatment and recovery. This long overdue legislation was introduced March 2nd and cosponsored by Senators Sanders (I-VT), Braun (R-IN), Booker (D-NJ) and Hassan (D-NH).

In the House, H.R. 1359, the Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act (MOTA), was sponsored by Rep. Don Norcross (D-NJ-1) and Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE-2). This long overdue legislation was introduced March 6th and cosponsored by Reps. Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1), Tonko (D-NY-20), Kim (D-NJ-3), Kuster (D-NH-2), Trone (D-MD-6) and Pettersen (D-CO-7).

As we know, the construction industry has one of the highest injury rates in the U.S., and opioids have commonly been prescribed to construction workers to treat the pain caused by these occupational injuries. Construction workers are at greater risk for overdose, with studies — most recently in both Massachusetts and Ohio — showing that they were seven times more likely to die of opioid-related overdoses than the average worker. Since use of opioids has led to addiction and overdose deaths, it is important for workers and employers, as well as policy makers, to understand the risks and needed alternatives.

SMACNA members have long encouraged and supported established substance abuse assessment and treatment programs, as well as outreach initiatives across the nation. Our association and its hundreds of chapters provide our member firms resources on mental health, suicide and drugs and alcohol prevention. We are also members of the Construction Alliance for Suicide Prevention. In addition, we make available support toolkits that include fact sheets, safety talks, reports and more. A significant number of our corporate members implement a workplace program on opioids from the National Safety Council. Further, SMACNA provides support for the Center for Construction Research and Training, which provides resources to the Prevent Opioid Deaths in the Construction Industry (PODCI) program.

Status: Both bills are awaiting hearings and SMACNA has urged all members of Congress to co-sponsor this legislation and seek its amending to any related bills advancing in Congress. I have met with many of the House sponsors individually on H.R. 1359 and have contacted Senate sponsors as well. Further I have reached out to our industry management and labor partners to seek their help in gaining greater momentum for both bipartisan bills.