Concrete Masonry Checkoff Program Authorization Passes US Congress

On October 3, 2018, the United States Senate passed the Concrete Masonry Products Research, Education and Promotion Act, providing Congressional authorization for the concrete masonry products industry to develop its own commodity checkoff program to support needed industry initiatives.

The concrete masonry products bill was included in H.R. 302 as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018. It was adopted into law on October 5, 2018.

“This is a great day for our industry,” said Major Ogilvie of CEMEX USA, national chair of the concrete masonry checkoff initiative since 2010. “We demonstrated a level of perseverance on this initiative that is only matched by the resilience of the products that we manufacture."

"By standing together, we will not only strengthen our industry, but our communities. We applaud the members of Congress for recognizing that the small businesses in our industry can accomplish even greater things together if we can more effectively pool our resources to promote ourselves.”

An industry referendum on program creation would likely occur in mid-to-late 2019, with every company that manufactures concrete masonry products being provided the opportunity to vote.

Numerous commodity checkoff programs already exist. Most of these programs relate to agricultural products under the management of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) oversees two such programs: propane and heating oil. Concrete masonry products would be the second such program related to construction products, the other being softwood lumber under USDA, and the first under the Department of Commerce.

Ogilvie expressed pride in the manner in which the advocacy effort was conducted.

“Manufacturers and contractors in our industry invested a lot of time and energy to get to know their representatives and to share the impact of their businesses on local communities. We visited hundreds of congressional offices, secured nearly 300 bi-partisan co-sponsors when we were a stand-alone bill, and we were frequently praised on Capitol Hill for doing this the ‘right way’.”

Ogilvie also praised the hard work of the bill sponsors who worked within a bipartisan approach to figure out how to move the legislation in a challenging environment.

Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) and Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) and have each acted as bill sponsors for the last three congressional terms.

Another notable inclusion in the FAA reauthorization was the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, which represents an unprecedented shift in disaster resilience policy in the U.S. The concrete masonry industry is an active partner in the BuildStrong Coalition advocating for enhanced pre-disaster mitigation funding.

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