In The Hill today, Rick Helfenbein wrote an amazing article about the the “hidden fiasco” that is Congress’ continued inaction on GSP. As he writes about expiration:
small operators were suddenly forced to pay an unexpected tax in the form of previously waived duties. Real profits were yanked right out of their bottom line, and operational costs skyrocketed. By failing to act, Congress placed a direct hit on the small business community of America.
That direct hit happened 18 months ago, but the pain continues. So we remain vocal about the damage being done to American companies and workers as a result. This call to action is loud and clear in the article:
We must remind everyone (who will listen) that the tax clock ticks every single day for a small business owner. This core of American business needs to be protected, and it remains our responsibility to see that it is done.
The GSP Coalition attempts to do this every day. We know many individual companies and associations do too, whether that’s joining us for congressional meetings, writing letters to congressional offices, or allowing us to tell you story to anyone and everyone that will listen. The article is not just a call to action for GSP supporters, but Congress itself. As Rick concludes:
Congress, please do renew GSP quickly. Try to get into the heads and hearts of the small business operators and understand that their GSP problem is caused solely by your inaction. Their pain should be your pain and, only then, will it finally get the attention it needs and the resolve it deserves.
It’s hard to envision a scenario where Congress would forgo its salaries or lay off its staff for a full 18 months. Yet if that was Congress’ choice – find a way to pass (bipartisan) legislation or face the consequences personally – it’s easy to envision Members of Congress coming together to strike a deal. After 18 long months, let’s hope they internal their constituents’ pain and redouble their efforts to renew GSP immediately.