10/15 – Update – U.S. House passed Homeland Security Appropriations bill (H.R. 2892) which includes Amendment to Switchblade Act. Not law yet…headed to Senate.
AKTI in D.C. – 9/15-17
Several AKTI representatives were in Washington, D.C. on September 15-16, along with the NRA, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and Knife Rights, to meet with staffers on key House committees. We asked them to accept the language of Senate amendment 1447 on H.R. 2892 – the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill in a Senate/House conference committee to determine final bill language.
In the meantime, an entire industry is stuck in place, guessing about what the future holds for various models of folding knives. Stay tuned.
AKTI – House Bill H.R. 2892 on Hold (Update on 10/12/09)
The fate of AKTI’s attempt to save all folding knives from a proposed revocation of import rules for assisted-openers by U.S. Customs now appears stalled on a debate centering on the fate of prisoners at Guantanamo and the length of a proposed southern U.S. border fence.
In the meantime, AKTI and the knife industry coalition supporting action against the revocation have been to D.C. again. That was part of a focused effort to gain acceptance with key House committees and subcommittees.
As we told you in early August, and again in late August, the Customs fight is NOT over. During and after the August Congressional recess, AKTI’s DC lobbyists continued contacting staffers of important House committees and subcommittees.
Our focus has been getting key House committee chairs to support House adoption of Senate amendment 1447 to the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2892). This amendment would add a fifth exemption to the Federal Switchblade Act at Section 1244 that would exempt any folding knife with a bias toward closure from being declared a switchblade.
Customs supported this amendment in a conference call with key Senators in July where the AKTI lobbyists were the only lobbyist participants. Then in mid-September the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) introduced so-called “perfecting language” that would have thrown four months of work into the garbage. We can tell you now that a lobbyist working on behalf of Benchmade Knives was instrumental in getting DHS to drop that language. Then U.S. Customs went back to Capitol Hill to fully inform all parties that the language of Senate amendment 1447 was still intact and supported by every stakeholder in this process.
In the meantime, AKTI focused on key committee chairs. We asked several of you to contact U.S. Representative Henry Waxman of California because of potential opposition we saw there. Thank you to those who responded. Rep. Waxman has reportedly dropped any opposition to amendment 1447.
We then focused on House appropriation committee chairs to make sure they understood the broad range of support from their constituents and the entire sporting knife industry. We are now optimistic we will have support in a House/Senate conference committee on H.R. 2892 by both Rep. David Obey (D- WI) and Rep. David Price (D-NC). We again thank those who were asked to reach out to these lawmakers to register their support.
AKTI – Keeps Working in House in August (Update on 8/26/09)
As we told you in early August, the Customs fight is NOT over. During this August recess, AKTI’s DC lobbyists are contacting staffers of important House committees and subcommittees. With their bosses typically spending time in their home districts, staffers have more time to meet in August.
AKTI’s lobbyists are focusing on key committees to get them to support House adoption of Senate amendment 1447 to the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2892). This amendment would add a fifth exemption to the Federal Switchblade Act at Section 1244 that would exempt any folding knife with a bias toward closure from being declared a switchblade.
Customs supported this amendment in a conference call with key Senators in July where the AKTI lobbyists were the only lobbyist participants. AKTI keeps working on this critical effort because it is so vital and is not done until the bill becomes law.
If you are a constituent of any committee chairs or ranking members, please contact me so we can work on these key lawmaker contacts ASAP. I am putting together a list of contact information. AKTI has also developed model letters.
Here is a summary from our DC lobbyist about the committees and subcommittees where we need support and are working to get it.
“As we discussed, just briefly, I will summarize with whom we have been meeting on the Switchblade issue.
“There are three committees in the House of Representatives that are involved. The Senate passed an appropriations bill with extra-jurisdictional legislation attached. Meaning, the appropriations committee deals with the budget issues of an agency, they do not deal in making new laws. However, as you all know, we were able to get the Senate appropriations committee to accept legislation that would amend the 1958 Switchblade Act.
“In the House the Appropriations Committee has jurisdiction over the DHS appropriations bill. The Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee each have some jurisdiction over the 1958 Switchblade Act. Thus we are working with these committees and the subcommittees of jurisdiction to keep the bill intact.
“I wanted to share the names and states of those members whom we are contacting in case you have some members that might have facilities in or live in, or workers that live in these members’ districts that we can use as a direct contact.
“On the Appropriations Committee we are working with the Chairman’s office, Rep Obey, (WI) and the ranking member Rep Jerry Lewis (CA). On the Homeland Security Subcommittee, we are working with Chairman Price (NC) and ranking member Rep Rogers (KY).
“On the Energy and Commerce Committee, we are working with Chairman Waxman (CA) and ranking member Rep. Barton (TX) and the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chair Rep Rush (IL) and ranking member Rep Radanovich (CA).
“On the Ways and Means Committee, Chairman Rangel (NY) and ranking member Rep. Camp (MI), and subcommittee on Trade Chair Rep Levin (MI) and ranking member Rep. Brady (TX).
“September is coming next week and Congress will kick back into high gear. We need to be ready.”
Remember, AKTI needs your help with these lawmakers. We will issue a call to action very soon. In the meantime, AKTI needs your financial support to keep this going. And we need you to join the Grassroots Supporter group at www.akti.org. That’s how you’ll get first notice of important calls to action coming soon.