Weekly 5: U.S. Senate, House pass WRDA

The BI Weekly 5 is a collection of tips, news and data affecting the boating industry this week. Be sure to look for the BI Weekly 5 every week on BoatingIndustry.com.

1. U.S. Senate, House pass WRDA

The U.S Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act over the weekend, clearing the way for 30 new infrastructure projects around the country including dredging, waterway upkeep and more.

The bill also includes drought relief for California and clear the way for funding to address the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich.

With approval from the U.S. House last week, the bill now moves on to the White House for President Obama's signature.

2. President signs Outdoor REC Act into law

President Obama has signed the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016 into law, a move that is being supported by many in the industry, including NMMA and BoatUS.

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Better known as the REC Act, it will instruct the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Department of Commerce (DOC) to assess and analyze the U.S. outdoor recreation economy and its effects on the overall U.S. economy.

“NMMA celebrates the passage of the REC Act passage, which ensures boating and outdoor recreation access for generations to come by highlighting the economic value of recreation, an industry that supports an estimated 6 million jobs and $646 billion in economic activity,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “We’re excited to be a part of the team that will work with the Bureau of Economic Analysis to shape how outdoor recreation is defined and ensure the boating and outdoor recreation industries economic reach are recognized.”

3. 21st Century Cures Act changes employer healthcare options

Small businesses can now realize increased tax benefits by offering Healthcare Reimbursement Accounts under the new 21st Century Cures Act passed by the U.S. Senate, the Washington Post reports.

The act removes some of the limits on HRAs that were part of the Affordable Care Act. Employers can contribute up to $4,950 for individuals and $10,000 for families to an employee’s account who can then use that money as reimbursement for out of pocket medical expenses. The contributions are tax free to the employee yet tax deductible to the employer.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill.

4. Atlanta Boat Show set for January

The Atlanta Boat Show will return to the Georgia World Congress Center, Jan. 12-15, 2017, Lakeside News reported.

Organizers said they are planning for more boats and exhibitors, as well as an increased schedule of activities for the 55th anniversary of the show.

5. Boat show signs five-year deal to stay in Atlantic City

The Atlantic City Boat Show signed a five-year contract to return to the Atlantic City Convention Center, the Press of Atlantic City reported.

“We are thrilled to announce that the Progressive Insurance Atlantic City Boat Show has signed a five year contract to continue their annual show in Atlantic City at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the years of 2019-2023,” said Jim Wood, president and CEO for Meet AC.

The 2017 show will be March 1-5.

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