Newhouse to unveil port slowdown bill

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, will visit Pasco on Monday to unveil legislation aimed at preventing port slowdowns.

Newhouse calls the proposed law Ensuring Continued Operations and No Other Major Incidents, Closures, or Slowdowns Act, or ECONOMICS Act.

Newhouse, joined by local business owners and industry representatives, will speak at 11:30 a.m. at Easterday Farms in Pasco.

His ECONOMICS Act is an answer to last winter’s work slowdown caused by a labor dispute at 29 West Coast ports between dockworkers and terminal managers that left many businesses unable to ship products to overseas customers.

The months-long slowdown cost Washington’s apple and pear industry about $95 million in lost sales opportunities and canceled orders, industry officials estimated.

Typically, Washington’s fruit producers export roughly one-third of their crops.