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NEMA Welcomes Senate Approval of Helium Bill and Urges Prompt House Passage

09/19/2013 3:00PM

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) welcomed passage today by the United States Senate of compromise legislation to reauthorize, extend, and improve operations of the Federal Helium Reserve in Texas and called on the House of Representatives to vote as soon as possible to approve the Senate-passed bill.

The Senate’s approval of HR 527, the High Tech Jobs Preservation Act, by a vote of 97-2 represents a major step toward providing greater assurance of access to domestic supplies of refined helium to many NEMA member companies.

"I commend Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for their leadership in reaching a compromise proposal that addresses the priorities of industrial end users of helium, including manufacturers of magnetic resonance imaging equipment and solid-state lighting,” said NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis. “I urge the House to act on the Senate-passed bill as soon as possible this month.”

If Congress fails to act on any helium legislation before October 7, the Federal Helium Reserve will cease operations. U.S. users of helium acquire much of their supply via industrial gas refining companies associated with the reserve, which currently holds approximately 30 percent of global supply of the gas.

NEMA is the association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers, founded in 1926 and headquartered in Rosslyn, Virginia. Nearly 400 members strong, its companies manufacture a diverse set of products including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, factory automation and control systems, and medical  imaging and radiation therapy systems. Total U.S. shipments for electroindustry products exceed $100 billion annually.

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