NCBA CLUSA is pleased to announce that the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration late last month accepted the registration of the long-awaited bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus for the 114th Congress.
Co-chaired by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), the caucus is tasked to promote the cooperative business model as a viable market solution and policy option to help solve today’s public policy challenges. The caucus will also serve to educate and inform policymakers on those issues before Congress, the Administration and the broader public.
“We are thrilled by the formation of this historic caucus dedicated to advancing the role of cooperatives in the nation’s economy at the federal level,” said Judy Ziewacz, interim CEO and president of NCBA CLUSA. “We worked hard on behalf of our members and co-ops across the country to secure this caucus as an outlet for raising awareness of and advancing the cooperative business model.”
NCBA CLUSA will formally launch the Congressional Cooperative Business Conference at the kickoff event for its 100th anniversary. The January 13 event is expected to draw top co-op executives and lawmakers—including the caucus co-chairs—to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The caucus is a tangible result of last year’s Hike the Hill effort during NCBA CLUSA’s first advocacy-themed Annual Cooperatives Conference. During meetings with more than one-third of the Senate, NCBA CLUSA members and supporters asked lawmakers to support a cross-sector Congressional platform that would unite co-ops around their shared values and objectives.
Since then, NCBA CLUSA has worked with lawmakers to identify the scope and purpose of the Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus. Its key responsibilities are as follows:
- Provide opportunities and platforms to host leading cooperative experts and model practitioners to speak and demonstrate how their work advances the mission and goals of the caucus.
- Provide opportunities to connect likeminded and influential policymakers to leading cooperative experts and model practitioners.
- Organize occasional media announcements and events during pivotal times in the policy process to ensure that the caucus’ voice is heard and reflected in those discussions.
- Work to establish periods of recognition and/or awards that recognize the importance and leadership in the advancement of cooperative business.
The caucus comes during a time when NCBA CLUSA is making strides to advance the cooperative agenda at the federal level. In October 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture held the first meeting of the Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development—a provision NCBA CLUSA worked hard to ensure the inclusion of in the Farm Bill. In May 2016, NCBA CLUSA will host its second annual advocacy-themed Annual Cooperatives Conference.
“Going forward, this caucus will drive a significant portion of our advocacy work at NCBA CLUSA,” NCBA CLUSA’s Vice President for Advocacy, Alan Knapp, said. “The caucus will provide greater visibility, education and awareness of cooperative businesses among our federal policymakers and will work to demonstrate the impact those businesses have on our nation’s economy,” he said.
The caucus’ role dovetails with NCBA CLUSA’s wider objective, which is to convene and unify the cooperative sectors together around the common purpose of promoting the central goals, values and ideals of the cooperative business model, Knapp added.