If you read Steve Toloken's story on testimony in a U.S. House of Representative's committee session, you'll know that some congressional Democrats are taking a closer look at health issues related to resin production and microplastics.
Members of both parties, meanwhile, are looking at ways to increase recycling and sustainability while also praising the industry's ability to respond to the need for protective equipment during the pandemic.
Political ties between lawmakers and industry are complex and go far beyond any simple story someone may try to spin claiming members of one party are better or worse for the long-term outlook for plastics.
Consider that on July 8, the Vinyl Institute gave its Congressional Champion Award to Rep. Grace Napolitano, a California Democrat, "in recognition of her longstanding support of investing in the nation's water infrastructure."
Napolitano is a co-sponsor of the Water Quality and Job Creation Act and the SMART Infrastructure Act, both of which would help the makers of plastic pipe compete for contracts in municipal water supplies.
"I want to thank the Vinyl Institute for its continued effort to champion open competition. ... The federal government should not be funding projects where local agencies are able to prohibit certain materials, especially if those materials meet all the safety standards and qualifications," she said in a video accepting the award.
JM Eagle CEO Walter Wang joined in the praise for Napolitano's work. But in addition, Napolitano is also a co-sponsor of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, which would impose new fees on the plastics industry.
Of course as Steve Toloken says, with Democrats running the House of Representatives, it doesn't hurt to praise industry-friendly efforts by their members. And pipe infrastructure doesn't carry the same political baggage as supporting single-use plastics.
And on the flip side, politicians from either side could back industry-supported proposals just to add a little shine to their image with business leaders, regardless of their personal beliefs.
In Washington, especially, Steve notes, nothing happens in a vacuum.