The BIFMA Government Affairs Committee works on legislative
and regulatory issues of interest to the association's members. The following
is a list of some of those issues. Contact BIFMA's Director of Advocacy & Sustainability, Brad Miller, for more information on the committee or
any of these issues.
General Services Administration (GSA)
BIFMA works closely with the GSA to provide guidance on standards and innovation within the industry. The association has been represented on the agency's Quality Partnership Council for many years and works closely on workplace furnishings and productivity issues with IWAC and other programs of the federal government.
GSA Commercial Platforms Initiative
A pilot program will be conducted in 2020 and 2021 to identify benefits and drawbacks of eCommerce tools in federal purchasing. BIFMA will monitor this process. The initiative was requested by the U.S. Congress in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to align federal purchasing practices and rules for commercial-off-the-shelf goods with commercially operated platforms for consumers.
BIFMA works with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Coordination Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on the importance of adherence to ANSI standards for safety and performance of products in federal offices. That is important for fiscally sound purchasing purposes (longer lasting products with less failures) but also for risk mitigation from injuries in the workplace.
A BIFMA Canadian Furniture Interest Group exists to
help the Canadian Government make smart furniture purchases without unduly limiting competition. Several years ago, a Government Office Furniture Advisory
Committee was established to advise procurement officials on the best solutions for purchasing and productivity.
BIFMA has long sought relief from a requirement in the
Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) that U.S. federal agencies buy products
from Federal Prison Industries (FPI) rather than the private sector. Over the
years, legislative actions have held this "mandatory source” status at bay
but language is still needed in the FAR to make it clear that all agencies are
free to purchase those products that best meet their needs.
Regulatory / Legislative Issues
Flame Retardants (FRs) - BIFMA supports the
elimination of hazardous fire retardants in furniture products and works with governments, manufacturers, and environmental groups to address the problem.
Formaldehyde - BIFMA worked with the Composite Panel Association, Sierra Club, and others to pass federal legislation making the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Rule a federal regulation. The law was passed and EPA has finalized the national rule.
Proposition 65 - BIFMA has a team of volunteers that monitors changes to the California list of chemicals and what needs to be done in the way of warning labels on products.
A New NAFTA - BIFMA believes a free trade agreement in North America benefits all trading partners and should be preserved and supports implementation of the US/Mexico/Canada Agreement (USMCA) as soon as possible to insure stability, certainty, and continuity among trading partners.
China Tariffs - BIFMA believes that all countries must abide by global trade rules and that disputes should be brought before the World Trade Organization (WTO). While BIFMA opposes unfair practices such as intellectual property violations and forced technology transfer, tariffs have a significant, negative, and lasting impact on businesses and the economy. BIFMA urges negotiations to address structural trading issues and improve global competitiveness as opposed to tariffs given their negative consequences.