Policy and Legal

Policy and Legal

Daines, Smucker Staffers Talk Pass-Through Deduction


What’s going on: On Thursday, as part of its 2025 tax campaign, “Manufacturing Wins,” the NAM hosted Noelle Britton, deputy chief of staff for Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), and Caroline Oakum, tax counsel for Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), in a virtual roundtable to discuss what’s being done in Congress to maintain the Section 199A pass-through deduction.

  • The 20% deduction—created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to help the many small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S.—is among several vital tax provisions scheduled to expire at the end of 2025. (Pass-throughs are companies whose profits are “passed through” to the owners, who then pay taxes on the entities’ incomes on their personal tax returns.)
  • Both Rep. Smucker, who leads the House Ways and Means Main Street Tax Team, and Sen. Daines are leaders of legislation that would make the deduction permanent.

What they’re doing: Sen. Daines introduced the Main Street Tax Certainty Act in the Senate last May, while Rep. Smucker introduced the House’s version of the measure last July.

  • The legislation would make the pass-through deduction permanent, providing much-needed certainty to the small and medium-sized manufacturers that have relied on it to increase investments and job creation.

What you can do: The House Ways and Means Committee Tax Teams are collecting companies’ perspectives on how the pass-through deduction has helped manufacturers and other businesses. Similarly, the NAM is collecting stories that can be used as part of our Manufacturing Wins tax campaign.

  • Manufacturers willing to share their own stories about the pass-through deduction can email [email protected] or contact the NAM’s tax team.
Policy and Legal

Sen. Daines: How We’re Working to Avert a Tax Crisis

Manufacturing-critical provisions from 2017 tax reform are set to expire at the end of next year—unless Congress acts. As part of our 2025 tax campaign, Manufacturing Wins, the NAM recently interviewed Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) to learn more about what these expirations would mean for manufacturers and what Congress is doing to prevent the resulting tax hikes.

Here’s the written interview.

NAM: Sen. Daines, many of tax reform’s pro-manufacturing policies expire at the end of 2025—including those with disproportionate impacts on small manufacturers, like the pass-through deduction and the individual income rate cuts. What is Congress doing to prevent these damaging tax increases?

Daines: The best defense against a looming tax hike is a good offense. Senate Finance Republicans have begun organizing to examine the [Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017] policies expiring next year, and the pass-through deduction is at the top of that list. We can’t allow these provisions to expire and let America’s working families, manufacturers and small businesses face a $6 trillion tax hike. That will make manufacturers less competitive against foreign competition by stifling investment and crushing their bottom line at a time when they should be looking for ways to increase wages and invest in innovation.

NAM: You have introduced the Main Street Tax Certainty Act in the Senate and been a champion for pass-throughs since the TCJA was signed into law. How would your bill prevent tax hikes for pass-through manufacturers?

Daines: The Main Street Tax Certainty Act provides much-needed certainty to America’s small businesses by making the pass-through tax deduction permanent. This helps create good-paying jobs and grows the economy. If it’s allowed to expire, small businesses face an immediate 20% tax hike.

NAM: The Senate Finance Committee has established tax working groups to examine the TCJA expirations. What will be your focus as the committee begins examining these scheduled tax changes?

Daines: My focus is on making the Trump era tax cuts permanent, which will create a more stable, growing economy.

Policy and Legal

The Pass-Through Deduction, Explained

Through the NAM’s recently launched 2025 tax campaign, Manufacturing Wins, manufacturers are calling on Congress to prevent several devastating tax increases from taking effect at the end of next year.

One of those scheduled increases is the expiration of the Section 199A pass-through deduction—a critical incentive, created by tax reform in 2017, designed to help thousands of small and medium-sized manufacturers invest in their businesses.

The NAM recently released a tax explainer on the pass-through deduction, breaking down what it is, what it does and why its preservation is vital to manufacturing in the U.S.  Here are the highlights.

Pass-through defined: The defining characteristic of a pass-through entity is that its business profits get “passed through” to the company owners, who then pay taxes on the business’s income on their personal tax returns.

  • The vast majority of businesses in America—96%—are organized as pass-throughs, including S-corporations, partnerships, LLCs and sole proprietorships.
  • In manufacturing, pass-throughs are typically small, family-owned firms.

What it’s done for manufacturers: The Section 199A pass-through deduction allows pass-through manufacturers to deduct up to 20% of their qualified business income, decreasing their effective tax rate.

  • Combined with a lower individual income tax rate included in the 2017 reform (which reduced the top individual rate from 39.6% to 37%), the pass-through deduction has freed up significant capital for smaller manufacturers to reinvest in their businesses.
  • For example, 2018 was the best year for manufacturing job creation in 21 years and the best year for wage growth in 15 years.

What’s in jeopardy: Both the pass-through deduction and the lower individual income tax rates are set to expire at the end of 2025—and they’re certain to hit small and medium-sized manufacturers hard.

  •  In a recent NAM survey, 93% of pass-through manufacturers said their ability to grow, create jobs and invest in their companies will be stymied if the expirations are allowed to happen.

What should be done: Congress must make the pass-through deduction permanent and keep individual tax rates as low as possible.

The last word: “Small and medium-sized pass-throughs are the backbone of the manufacturing supply chain,” said NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain. “Congress must act before the end of 2025 to preserve the pass-through deduction and prevent devastating tax increases on small businesses throughout the manufacturing sector.”

Policy and Legal

NAM, Rep. Smucker Talk “Tax Armageddon”

Manufacturers face a tax cliff in 2025, but there is still time for Congress to prevent devastating tax increases. By acting before the end of next year, legislators can preserve the 2017 tax reform and ensure manufacturers can continue creating jobs and driving economic growth across the country.

What’s going on: As part of Manufacturing Wins, the NAM’s 2025 tax campaign, the NAM asked Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) for a download on what Congress is doing to prevent “Tax Armageddon” for manufacturers.

  • Smucker, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means’ recently formed Main Street Tax Team, is a champion of the Section 199A pass-through deduction, one of the manufacturing-critical provisions set to expire at the end of 2025.
  • Pass-throughs are companies whose owners pay tax on the business’s income on their personal tax returns—and most small and medium-sized manufacturers are organized as pass-through entities.
  • The loss of the pass-through deduction and an accompanying increase in individual tax rates—both scheduled for the end of 2025—would be a one-two punch for small manufacturers.

Below is the written interview.

NAM: Congress is facing a Tax Armageddon next year, as crucial provisions from 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are set to expire. As the leader of the Ways and Means Main Street Tax Team, what is your focus moving into next year’s debate?

Smucker: The Main Street Tax Team is tasked with examining the areas of the tax code that impact main street businesses. Looking ahead to what parts of the code are set to expire in 2025, one of the most important provisions our team is focused on is extending the Section 199A deduction for pass-through businesses. This 20% deduction was enacted as a part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and helped create tax parity for millions of American businesses with their larger corporate competitors while incentivizing reinvestment back into their business and employees.

If Congress does not act, Section 199A will expire at the end of 2025, and main street businesses could face a 43.4% tax rate. Our tax team is working to build awareness of the pending tax hike if Section 199A expires, while laying the groundwork for making this important provision permanent by hearing directly from businesses on the impact this deduction has had on their ability to grow and increase productivity. 

NAM: Most small manufacturers are organized as pass-throughs, which means that they pay tax on their owners’ returns. The scheduled increase in individual tax rates combined with the loss of the pass-through deduction—a 20% deduction that lowers these companies’ tax obligations—will mean that these businesses are the hardest hit by the 2025 tax cliff. What is Congress doing to protect small businesses from tax hikes? 

Smucker: To protect businesses from devastating tax hikes, the Ways and Means Committee has gone on the road holding field hearings throughout the nation to hear directly from small business owners about how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act improved their ability to compete and grow. During these field hearings, we’ve heard from many businesses, including manufacturers, how the TCJA helped improve the quality of life of hardworking Americans. We’re continuing to use this model by having each tax team host at least one field event to reach more communities.

The Main Street Tax Team will be heading to my district in the coming weeks to hear from Pennsylvania businesses about the importance of preserving Section 199A. I also encourage NAM members across the U.S. to share with their representatives what this provision, and other parts of the tax code, mean for their business. The public can share information on the impact of higher taxes directly with my colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee too by visiting our public comment portal.

NAM: Pass-through manufacturers generally pay tax at the top individual tax rate—currently 37%—but this bracket is scheduled to increase to 39.6% next year. Is your team examining how these rates impact pass-through businesses? 

Smucker: Yes, in addition to the field event, my team members and I will be meeting with stakeholders in each of our districts throughout the rest of this year to discuss the impact higher taxes will have on our constituent’s families, businesses and communities. My team will also be hosting several D.C.-based roundtables with tax experts and economists to examine the impact of changes to the code.

NAM: Thank you for being a champion for manufacturing pass-throughs across the country. What can our members do to stay involved and be a resource for your tax team’s work? 

Smucker: Continue to share your stories about how Section 199A has helped your businesses, and how tax hikes would be harmful. I strongly encourage NAM members to invite their representatives for site visits to your businesses so they can see firsthand the benefits of a competitive tax code. Finally, I’d close with a request to have NAM members ask their representatives to cosponsor H.R. 4721, the Main Street Tax Certainty Act, my legislation to make Section 199A permanent. I am working to build as much backing as possible for the bill heading into our tax reform discussions next year to send a signal that preserving this deduction is important. 

Policy and Legal

NAM Legal Center Talks Chevron

The Supreme Court’s ruling in the closely watched Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo is a watershed decision for administrative law with significant implications for the business community. The NAM Legal Center provided us with an overview.

What’s going on: Late last month, the Supreme Court overturned the “Chevron doctrine,” which since 1984 had required federal courts to defer to an administrative agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous statute—so long as the interpretation was reasonable.

What it means: The end of the doctrine means less power for federal agencies, potentially fewer regulations and a guaranteed surge in regulatory litigation, according to the Legal Center.

  • When Congress leaves ambiguities or gaps in statutes, agencies can no longer exploit those gaps to enact overreaching rules or regulations (read the NAM’s statement on the decision here).
  • Although Chevron had not been cited by the Supreme Court since 2016, it is the basis for 70 Supreme Court opinions and approximately 17,000 lower court decisions. Those holdings remain intact for now but could be challenged anew by litigants under the new standard. 

The majority opinion: Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts relied on a plain-text reading of the Administrative Procedure Act, which directs courts—not agencies—“to decide all questions of law.”

  • “The APA, in short, incorporates the traditional understanding of the judicial function, under which courts must exercise independent judgment in determining the meaning of statutory provisions,” he wrote.
  • Absent an explicit delegation by Congress, agency interpretations can guide or inform courts, but in keeping with the APA, they cannot be given binding deference. According to the court, all statutes “have a single, best meaning,” and “courts use every tool at their disposal to determine the best reading of the statute and resolve the ambiguity.” 

The dissent: Writing for the liberal justices in dissent, Justice Elena Kagan expressed concerns with overturning this “cornerstone” of regulatory law by shifting interpretative authority from “expert, experienced and politically accountable agenc[ies]” to courts that have “no special competence.”

In sum: The decision will result in a broad reduction in the power of executive branch agencies, with that power shifting to federal courts.

  • Thus, regardless of the party in power or its pro- or anti-regulatory leaning, much less regulatory discretion will be afforded to the agencies.

The NAM predicts: Looking forward, the NAM sees Congress and regulators turning to industry for input as policies are adopted and statutes are interpreted, giving manufacturers an opportunity to play a more significant role in shaping outcomes.

What we’re doing: The NAM Legal Center is currently leading regulatory challenges against the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission. It will continue to push back on overreaching agency actions that threaten manufacturing competitiveness—now on a more even playing field.

Policy and Legal

CISA Should Revise Draft Cyber Rule

Requirements proposed earlier this year by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are overbroad and would prove burdensome to manufacturers if adopted, the NAM told the Biden administration last week.

What’s going on: In April, CISA published draft rulemaking under the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022—scheduled to go into effect next year—that would require “covered entities” in “critical infrastructure sector[s]” to report major cyber incidents to CISA within 72 hours. It also mandated that any ransomware payments be reported within just 24 hours.

Why it’s a problem: The proposed rulemaking could affect more than 300,000 entities, according to CISA’s own estimate (JD Supra). Many of these organizations are either not truly “critical infrastructure” or too small to have the resources to undertake the outlined actions in the specified time, the NAM told CISA.

  • Furthermore, the regulations themselves are too expansive, mandating the reporting of incidents that do not even affect the operation of critical infrastructure.
  • They also require huge amounts of information in a short period—from companies in the throes of recovery from devastating cyberattacks.

The NAM says: “[T]he NAM respectfully encourages the agency to drastically reduce the number of entities required to report, and the number of incidents they have to report,” NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain told the agency during the public comment period on the proposed regulation, which ended last week.

  • “Doing so will ensure that CISA receives useful information about cybersecurity incidents—without overburdening manufacturers with overbroad and unworkable disclosure requirements.”

What to do: In addition to narrowing the scope of “covered entities,” CISA should revise several aspects of the rulemaking before implementing it, the NAM said. Changes should include:

  • Limiting the volume of reported cyber-incident information;
  • Narrowing the scope of reportable cyber incidents; and
  • Lightening and safeguarding the contents of cyber-incident reports.
Policy and Legal

Q&A: The Looming 2025 Tax Challenge

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The NAM recently launched “Manufacturing Wins,” the manufacturing industry’s campaign to preserve the benefits of the 2017 tax reforms that are currently scheduled to disappear in 2025—particularly those tax incentives that make it easier for small manufacturers to hire employees and raise wages, invest in equipment, grow their businesses and contribute more to their communities.

NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain explains what’s at stake in 2025 and how manufacturers can get involved in the effort to prevent tax increases.

Q: Manufacturers are facing “tax Armageddon” at the end of 2025. Can you explain what’s happening?

Crain: Tax reform in 2017 was rocket fuel for manufacturers, leading to record job creation, capital investment and economic growth. For example, manufacturing production grew 2.7% in 2018, with December 2018 being the best month for manufacturing output since May 2008. Manufacturing capital spending grew 4.5% and 5.7% in 2018 and 2019, respectively—this shows the direct impact of pro-growth tax incentives on manufacturers investing in new equipment and facilities. But many of tax reform’s pro-manufacturing provisions will expire at the end of 2025. If these provisions are allowed to expire, virtually every manufacturer will face devastating tax increases.

Q: What policies will sunset in 2025, and how will their expiration impact SMMs?

Crain: For small manufacturers organized as pass-throughs—meaning the business’s owners pay tax on the business’s income on their personal returns—two key changes are coming down the pike. First, their tax rate will increase, from 37% to 39.6%. Second, they will lose the pass-through deduction, which provides a tax deduction equal to 20% of the business’s income. In combination, these tax hikes will increase pass-throughs’ effective tax rate by at least 10 percentage points (from 29.6% to 39.6%), resulting in significantly less capital available for equipment purchases, job creation and community investment.

For small manufacturers organized as corporations, the NAM is fighting to prevent any increases in the corporate tax rate. The corporate rate decreased from 35% to 21% in 2017 and is not scheduled to expire—but President Joe Biden has proposed increasing the rate to 28%. The NAM remains staunchly opposed to corporate tax rate increases that punish manufacturers for investing and creating jobs here in America.

For family-owned small manufacturers, their estate tax obligations are scheduled to increase. Tax reform doubled the value of assets that can be passed on without incurring the estate tax; at the end of 2025, the estate tax exemption threshold is scheduled to be reduced by half. The NAM is calling on Congress to maintain the increased exemption—or to repeal the estate tax entirely, preventing family-owned businesses from being sold for parts to pay a tax bill when a loved one passes away.

Q: What else is at stake in 2025?

Crain: Manufacturers of all sizes continue to face uncertainty about the tax code’s treatment of R&D expenses, capital equipment purchases and interest on business loans. Immediate R&D expensing—which allows manufacturers to write off the entire cost of R&D spending in the year incurred—expired in 2022. So did a tax reform provision that allowed businesses to deduct more of the interest they pay on loans when they debt finance a project. And in 2023, 100% accelerated depreciation—which reduces the cost of capital equipment purchases—began to phase down. These expired provisions are vital to manufacturing growth, and the NAM is working to restore and extend them as Congress prepares for the 2025 tax fight.

Q: How can SMMs learn more?

Crain: The NAM recently published “What’s At Stake: Manufacturers Face Devastating Tax Increases in 2025,” which highlights the tax reform provisions that will expire at the end of 2025. The NAM calls on Congress to act to prevent these expirations from stunting manufacturing job creation, growth and innovation.

Q: How can SMMs get involved?

Crain: Manufacturing voices are crucial to the 2025 tax fight. NAM members with a story to tell about the impact of 2017 tax reform on their business—or the damage that the 2025 expirations could inflict—are encouraged to reach out to their NAM membership advisor or to the NAM tax team.

You can also take a few minutes to record a video testimonial calling on Congress to prevent devastating tax hikes on manufacturers. Instructions for submitting a video testimonial are available here—it’s as easy as having a coworker use a smartphone to film a video of you on your shop floor! Completed testimonials can be emailed to the Manufacturing Wins team to be posted to our campaign site: NAM.org/MfgWins

Press Releases

Supreme Court Decision is Game-Changing Transformation for Legal and Regulatory Landscape for Manufacturers

Washington, D.C. – Today, the United States Supreme Court overruled the Chevron doctrine—a requirement that federal courts defer to an administrative agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous statute—that had proven unworkable and incoherent.

“The legal and regulatory landscape has transformed in the blink of an eye. Manufacturers will not waste a moment in seizing this opportunity—an opportunity that we have never seen before—to leverage this decision to rein in the regulations that are holding back manufacturers from improving lives,” said National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM Legal Center and our best-in-class advocacy team will be on the field, leveraging this decision and the new tools it gives us, to fight back new regulations we are facing today as well as whatever may come our way in the next administration. For anyone who wants to see manufacturing grow and succeed in America, today heralds the possibility for a much brighter future.”

“Today’s ruling is a game changer for manufacturers as Chevron was at least partly to blame for the unpredictability and overreach that have become synonymous with the modern regulatory state,” said NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly. “We are hopeful that this marks the end of an overbearing regulatory system that had become complex, and compliance in many cases that was contradictory from agency to agency. For the past 40 years, Chevron has tipped the scales in favor of unelected officials and against the regulated public. Now the onus is on Congress to provide clear guardrails and guidelines in its intent to ensure that laws are implemented in a manner that achieves their goal. Manufacturers are eager to work with lawmakers to develop policies that promote innovation, job creation, economic growth and improved quality of life for all Americans.”

“Manufacturers have been the subject of a regulatory onslaught, with agencies’ far-reaching decisions affecting companies of all sizes,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Policy Chris Netram. “The EPA, SEC and DOL—the aggressive nature of rulemaking and enforcement actions that exceed authority come from the alphabet soup of regulators. The NAM has been successful in fighting key rules in court, and today’s decision gives us the ability to challenge even more actions while ensuring future agency actions do not exceed the authority mandated by Congress.”


The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.89 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Policy and Legal

NAM to Tax Teams: Preserve Tax Provisions Before They Expire

Raising taxes on manufacturers would damage the industry and the U.S. economy as a whole, the NAM told the House Ways and Means Committee this week. That’s why it’s crucial that Congress preserve set-to-expire tax reform provisions.

What’s going on: In a continuation of its Manufacturing Wins campaign, the NAM conveyed a clear message to six of the committee’s specialized “Tax Teams”: act now to protect manufacturers from tax increases.

Why it’s important: Failure to act before the end of next year, when key provisions from 2017 tax reform are set to expire, would result in higher taxes on virtually all manufacturers—which “will cost millions of jobs and put the American manufacturing sector at a severe disadvantage globally,” the NAM wrote.

What’s at stake: The NAM highlighted manufacturers’ top tax priorities for the Tax Teams, discussing why preserving pro-growth tax policy is vital for manufacturers in the United States:

  • In communication with the Main Street Tax Team, the NAM called on Congress to preserve tax reform’s reduced individual income tax rates and maintain the 20% pass-through deduction. It emphasized for the Supply Chain Tax Team the importance of tax reform’s reduction in the corporate tax rate, which brought the U.S. from one of the highest rates in the world to a globally competitive 21%. The Global Competitiveness Tax Team received a similar message.
  • The NAM detailed for the Rural America Tax Team the damage the estate tax imposes on family-owned manufacturers, and why Congress should not allow more family-owned businesses’ assets to be subject to the estate tax at the end of 2025.
  • The NAM continued to push for pro-growth, pro-innovation R&D tax incentives with the U.S. Innovation Tax Team, and it enumerated for the Manufacturing Tax Team the full range of policies that will impact manufacturers at the end of 2025—and called for urgent congressional action to protect manufacturers from tax hikes.

The final word: “Manufacturers of all sizes, throughout the supply chain, are calling on Congress to preserve tax reform in its entirety,” said NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain. “Manufacturers and manufacturing families simply cannot afford the devastating tax increases scheduled for the end of 2025 if Congress fails to act.”

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Score Victory on Proxy Firms

The NAM achieved a significant victory in court Wednesday in a case that sought to bring needed oversight to proxy advisory firms—and, more broadly, to ensure regulatory certainty for manufacturers.

The background: Proxy firms make recommendations regarding the way shareholders should vote on proxy ballot proposals that come before public companies.

  • These firms operate with minimal oversight despite their outsized influence and even though their decisions can have significant and sometimes harmful impacts.

The fight: In 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission finalized an NAM-backed rule that included a range of modest but critical reforms to proxy firms’ business models.

  • In particular, the 2020 rule ensured that companies had more information about the firms’ voting recommendations and provided investors with companies’ responses to those recommendations.
  • But in 2022, the SEC rescinded critical portions of that rule.
  • The NAM sued the SEC, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to strike down this arbitrary and capricious agency action.

The victory: This week—in news covered by Reuters, POLITICO Pro (subscription), Law360 (subscription), Pensions & Investments (subscription) and Bloomberg (subscription)—the Fifth Circuit ruled in the NAM’s favor, deciding that the SEC acted unlawfully in rescinding the 2020 rule. In particular, the court made two critical points:

  • The court held that the SEC’s stated justification for its decisions to rescind NAM-supported proxy firm reforms didn’t pass muster and called the agency’s reasoning “facially irrational” and not “reasonable [or] reasonably explained.”
  • The court also ruled that a government agency reversing course despite no change in its underlying factual findings must “explain its about-face” by “giv[ing] a more detailed explanation” than the SEC provided.
  • This ruling builds on existing case law that prevents agencies from arbitrarily reversing policies after administrations change, thus encouraging regulatory certainty for manufacturers.

Our take: “This decision confirms that federal agencies are bound by the rule of law, even as administrations change,” said NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly.

  • “Manufacturers depend on the SEC to be a steady regulatory hand at the wheel of America’s world-leading capital markets—an obligation the agency abandoned in rescinding the commonsense, compromise 2020 proxy advisory firm rule. … We will continue to fight in court to uphold the 2020 rule—and to work with the SEC and with Congress to ensure appropriate oversight of these powerful actors.”
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