The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International is pleased to announce that the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration on Friday formally recognized the bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus—co-chaired by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)—for the 115th Congress.
“We are thrilled that this historic caucus dedicated to advancing the role of cooperatives in the nation’s economy has been continued in the new Congress,” NCBA CLUSA president and CEO Judy Ziewacz said. “We encourage lawmakers to recognize the critical role co-ops play in their districts by joining this bipartisan caucus.”
First established in 2016, NCBA CLUSA helped establish the caucus that has served as an outlet for raising awareness of and advancing the cooperative business model before Congress and the Administration.
In May, the caucus—seeking to end a decades-long absence of federally reported data on co-ops in the U.S.—asked the U.S. Department of Commerce to reinstate a question recognizing cooperative businesses on the 2017 Economic Census. Since then, the question has undergone feasibility and field testing and is poised for approval by the Office of Business and Management.
Rep. Royce—who, along with Rep. Pocan, has helped spur movement on this issue and others—said he looks forward to using his role as caucus co-chair to continue highlighting the benefits of cooperatives. “Cooperative businesses provide valuable goods and services, build wealth in local communities and offer their members a piece of their success,” he said in a January 30 press release.
Royce is a longtime advocate of cooperative businesses—from California’s credit unions and mutual insurers to Africa’s rural electric co-ops. Wisconsin’s Dane Country, which Pocan represents, is home to 80 cooperatives—the highest number of co-ops per capita of any county in the nation.
“I’m proud that my district is home to thriving cooperatives, from Willy Street Food Co-op to UW Credit Union,” Pocan said in the release. “I look forward to continue working with Rep. Royce to promote greater awareness of the cooperative business model and to advocate on federal policy issues unique to the co-op community.
On Wednesday, February 1, Royce and Pocan are expected to speak at a reception hosted by NCBA CLUSA to welcome freshmen members of the 115th Congress and invite them to join the Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus.
The January 31 issue of Co-op Weekly incorrectly identified Rep. Ed Royce as a Democrat. Rep. Royce is a Republican representing California’s 39th District. NCBA CLUSA regrets the error.