U.S. Senate Steel Caucus announced

PARKERSBURG – U.S. senators from West Virginia, Ohio, Alabama and Pennsylvania have formed the new Senate Steel Caucus.

Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., will be chairmen and Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., will be vice chairmen.

“I have fought to level the playing field for the hard working men and women in the steel industry, though we have still seen the strains from unfair competition abroad that these workers have faced,” Rockefeller said. “We need to make sure our steelworkers can compete on a level playing field and that we’re helping to keep those jobs here at home.”

The steel industry is pivotal to Ohio’s already strong manufacturing base, Brown said.

“I will continue to fight for Ohio steel producers and workers, especially against unfair imports,” Brown said. “Our state is adding manufacturing jobs for the first time since the 1990s and the Steel Caucus will help to continue that progress.”

The bipartisan coalition will promote American manufacturing and the steel industry and be a forum for policy discussions on issues affecting the United States steel industry.

In the House of Representatives, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., introduced the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act. House Resolution 1830 sets a goal of ending deaths from breast cancer by 2020.

“This Mother’s Day, my husband’s family and many more across the country will be without their mother due to breast cancer. As breast cancer continues to claim tens of thousands of lives each year, Congress should do everything it can to prevent this life threatening disease,” Capito said.

A woman in the United States has a 1-8 chance of developing breast cancer, up from 1-11 in 1975.

The bill doesn’t spend more money on the problem, but leverages public and private resources to make response to the disease more effective, Capito said.

It also:

* Establishes a commission comprised of the best minds in biomedical research, business, breast cancer advocacy and other related and unrelated disciplines to identify promising opportunities and ideas not being prioritized by the public and private sectors.

* Focuses on identifying strategies for the primary prevention of breast cancer and identifying methods to prevent breast cancer metastasis, thereby saving lives.

* Ensures limited research dollars are funding the most promising science in the area of breast cancer.

Capito, co-chairman of the Congressional Coal Caucus, also introduced the Coal Jobs Protection Act, H.R. 1829, on Tuesday. The legislation limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s powers in the permitting process. The EPA last year retroactively vetoed a permit for the Spruce Mine in Logan County.

The veto was overruled by a district court, however, the lower court’s decision was recently overturned by a federal appellate court.

In other business, the Marketplace Fairness Act that will allow states to charge sales taxes on online sale will make competition fairer for businesses competing with online stores, according to Rockefeller said.

Existing law allows states to charge a tax if the retailer has a physical presence in the state, giving online retailers such as amazon.com an advantage.

Rockefeller was a cosponsor of the bill, which passed 69 to 27. It next goes to the House of Representatives.

The act would give states a flexibility to collect sales taxes on online purchases. Online businesses with less than $1 million in remote sales are exempt under the act.

West Virginia could make from $56 million to $103 million a year by taxing online sales.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin last week signed into law a bill requiring internet businesses with a store or distribution center to charge the sales tax. Amazon opened a distribution facility in Charleston.