Specialty Manufacturers to Push Competitiveness, Market Expansion During 113 th Congress, Second Obama TermWASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With more than 90 new members of Congress joining their elected colleagues to tackle key legislative issues in the coming year, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) has kicked off its "First 100 Days" initiative to educate Congress and regulatory agencies about issues important to the specialty chemical industry."With 47 percent of senators just in their first six-year term and others only days into serving their second term, this initiative is important in ensuring these legislators know about the importance of specialty chemical manufacturing," said Bill Allmond, SOCMA's Vice President for Government and Public Relations. Specifically, SOCMA plans to visit new members of Congress and new heads of various regulatory agencies to introduce the organization and advocate for policies to help specialty manufacturers be more competitive and expand their markets. "The government can do things that can severely harm our industry's competitiveness, such as overregulation and outdated tax systems, but it can also help us better compete by strengthening policies that make growth and innovation a top priority," Allmond said. There are concerns the Obama administration is sitting on numerous significant regulations, from environmental to health to economic, that it will unleash this year, Allmond said. For example, EPA's Chemical Manufacturing Area Sources Rule is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per facility in return for minimal environmental or health benefit. These expenses will be taken from budgets that would otherwise be directed towards creating the next new innovation. On the legislative front, passage of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), which suspends duties on products not manufactured in the U.S. and allows manufacturers to keep their products at globally competitive prices, is a high priority for SOCMA. All duty suspensions expired at the end of 2012, creating a sense of urgency for legislative action. SOCMA will also advocate for reforming the nation's regulatory process, making the R&D tax credit permanent, protecting intellectual property and confidential business information, seeking new free trade agreements, reauthorizing chemical security standards and revising chemical risk management rules.