Due to the continuing debate over the Affordable Healthcare Act, the Federal Government shut down at 12am last night. What does this mean for wineries?
Services deemed non-essential have been suspended. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has suspended all regulatory functions, non-criminal investigative activities and audit functions. This means that all reviews of alcohol beverage labels, formulas and permits will be suspended until funding is reinstated. The TTB has been bogged down with label reviews for quite some time now, and any suspension or services will only exacerbate this problem. Meanwhile, all tax remittances will continue to be processed by the TTB as these functions are deemed necessary for safety and protection of property.
While Congress works to sort out government funding, issues important to wineries remain unaddressed.
- Farm Bill: If the Farm Bill is not reauthorized or extended this year, it will revert to the 1948 version, ending all funding for wine assistance programs.
Immigration Reform: Current law (H2-A) is cumbersome and ineffective. Labor shortages are common place and are causing crop and financial losses. We need bi-partisan cooperation to write legislation that works.
We urge you to contact your Members of Congress and Senators to encourage bipartisan cooperation to make sure TTB has the funds it needs to resume its operations and to further our issues in Congress. WineAmerica will continue to work for wineries here in Washington, DC.