Tomorrow, June 7, leaders from the burgeoning RV industry, a sector that now injects a hefty $140 billion annually into the US economy, will be making their way to Capitol Hill. Their mission? To advocate for legislation that not only bolsters the outdoor industry but also enhances the experiences of the countless families and individuals who relish the country’s magnificent outdoors.
Jason Rano, vice president of government affairs at the RV Industry Association (RVIA), in a News & Insights report, underscores the significance of this mission.
“The RV industry is an integral part of the American economy,” he said. “We’re looking forward to explaining to Congress how vital legislation can enable us to play an even greater role in supporting rural communities, conserving state and federal parklands, and contributing to the physical and mental well-being of their constituents.”
The legislative agenda is comprehensive, with several key pieces of legislation at the forefront. These include the America’s Outdoors Recreation Act, the Farm Bill, the reauthorization of the Generalized System of Preferences and reform of Competitive Need Limitations, and the Travel Trailer and Camper Tax Parity Act.
America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (S.873) is a critical piece of legislation, especially considering the 72 million Americans planning an RV trip this year. This act aims to expand on the 2020 Great American Outdoors Act by providing technical and financial assistance to gateway community campgrounds, extending public land shoulder seasons, bringing much-needed broadband/Wi-Fi to front-country sites, and establishing pilot programs to create jobs and help strained federal land agencies sustainably reopen, operate, and modernize campgrounds across the country.
The Farm Bill, which reauthorizes federal agriculture programs every five years, is another key piece of legislation. It offers an opportunity to help rural communities respond to an increased demand for outdoor recreation through technical assistance and funding. Provisions within the Farm Bill can also ensure that the US Forest Service is accounting for outdoor recreation in its strategic planning.
RV advocates will tomorrow urge members of the Congress to use existing programs within the Rural Development Title to support sustainable, economy-stimulating outdoor recreation investments; incorporate opportunities to restore sustainable access to the outdoor recreation infrastructure; and include report language to develop a 10-year outdoor recreation strategy for national forests that include rural economic development of local communities.
The RV industry also relies heavily on the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the longest-running U.S. trade preference program, to import duty-free plywood made exclusively from a tropical tree known as lauan from Indonesia.
The industry is currently burdened by an 8% tariff on this product, costing roughly $1.5 million per month. RV industry representatives will be asking Congress to retroactively reauthorize the GSP program for a six-year or longer renewal term.
Another area of focus is the Competitive Need Limitations (CNL), which are built-in import ceilings under the GSP program. The RV industry is seeking the introduction of an updated version of the Competitive Need Limitations Update Act that includes changes to the volume threshold, especially for products such as the Indonesian-grown lauan, for which there is no domestic alternative.
Finally, the Travel Trailer and Camper Tax Parity Act is on the agenda. This act aims to ensure that towable RVs, which now constitute over 85% of the RVs on the market, are included in the floor plan interest financing deductibility provisions of the tax code and establishing language that would include all RVs in the definition of “motor vehicle.”
As the RV industry representatives meet with Congress, their goal is clear: to ensure that the laws of the land support the continued growth and prosperity of the RV industry and the millions of Americans who love the great outdoors.
They will also be seeking to build a powerful congressional alliance by urging the members with whom they meet to join the RV Caucus, co-chaired in the Senate by Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), and in the House, by Rep. Rudy Yakym (R-IN-2) and Rep. Dina Titus(D-NV-1). As RV Caucus members, they will provide critical support for and educate their congressional colleagues about future issues around tariffs, federal housing definitions, and campground modernization and expansion.