AED Washington Insights Newsletter|
Prepared by Christian A. Klein, AED Vice President of Government Affairs
and the AED Washington team
In this Issue:
Next Week's Washington Fly-In to Give Industry Leaders a Leg-Up|
AED's Washington Fly-In, May 22-23, the premier public policy event for the equipment industry, is primed to be a first-rate experience for equipment leaders seeking business intelligence, networking opportunities, and the chance to meet face-to-face with lawmakers on the issues most important to the industry.
The first day of the agenda features several panel discussions on various topics of interest to equipment distributors. Following a briefing by AED's Government Affairs Office, participants will hear from top energy policy experts discuss the economic outlook and policy issues surrounding coal, natural gas, tight oil and renewables – and how their impacts on end markets in power generation, transportation, manufacturing inputs and exports will affect production and infrastructure development. Speakers include:
Toby Mack, President & CEO, AED (moderator)
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Member, Senate Energy & Natural Resources and Appropriations Committees (invited)
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), Energy & Commerce Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee Chairman
Hal Quinn, President & CEO, National Mining Association
Marty Durbin, President & CEO, America's Natural Gas Alliance
Dr. Karen Obenshain, Director, Fuels, Technology and Commercial Policy, Edison Electric Institute.
After a luncheon featuring keynote speaker Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) attendees will engage with tax reform panelists Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors Senior Vice-President Jade West; ASSET Estate Tax Coalition President & CEO Jack Fitzgerald; and Caterpillar Manager of U.S. Government Affairs Chris Myers.
At the conclusion of the tax panel, attendees will be able to choose between two breakout sessions: (1.) House Highways & Transit Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-Wis.) will provide a briefing on surface transportation infrastructure issues, including the highway reauthorization process. (2.) The other session will be a panel discussion on hot regulatory topics affecting dealer costs of doing business. Confirmed participants are National Federation of Independent Business Director of Federal Policy Amanda Austin; National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators Executive Director Graham Brent; and Associated Builders & Contractors Vice President of Federal Affairs Geoffrey Burr.
The first day will conclude with an opportunity to network with fellow industry leaders and AED's construction allies in Washington on the rooftop of the Newseum Residences overlooking the nation's most iconic memorials and monuments.
Day two will kick-off with AED PAC's annual congressional breakfast. Members who provided AED PAC solicitation consent will eat breakfast with lawmakers making their mark in Washington: Reps. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) and Steve Stivers, R-Ohio. Equipment distributors will then be unleashed on Capitol Hill to meet with their representatives and senators about the industry's top legislative priorities.
After a busy day of advocacy, attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy refreshments with members of Congress, congressional staff, and industry allies in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building.
This terrific event may be only a few days away, but AED's government affairs team is willing to do whatever possible to help you make last-minute arrangements. If your calendar has opened up and you would like to come to Washington, D.C. on May 22 and/or 23, please contact AED's Senior Manager of Government Affairs Josh Pudnos at 703-739-9513.
Time for Washington Fly-In, Time for AED PAC
In the weeks and months following Fly-In, AED's government affairs team will use the political action committee's (PAC) war chest to elevate the visibility of the equipment distribution industry with key lawmakers in Washington. Now is the time to ensure that your company gave solicitation consent to AED PAC for 2013 so you are on the ground floor of the industry's most important political operation. Click here to grant AED PAC consent.
There are no obligations associated with granting AED PAC consent; it simply allows the association to comply with federal law in order to discuss its political activities openly with you.
The following companies provided consent for 2013:
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WRDA Moves Beyond the Senate|
On May 15, the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2013 (S. 601), 83-14, after encountering various hurdles during the legislative process. Despite breezing through committee by a unanimous vote, bill supporters were forced to deal with hundreds of amendments and opposition by lawmakers who do not understand the value of water infrastructure investment. The bill now heads for what is expected to be a long, arduous battle in the House.
The legislation, which authorizes important Army Corps of Engineers projects that will create jobs, spur economic growth, and enhance the nation's economic competiveness, is a top priority for Senate Environment & Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member David Vitter (R-La.)
According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate, over the next five years the government would authorize approximately $3.4 billion for waterway and watershed management projects, including the construction of locks and dams. The bill would inject $443 million during that time for the development of a levee safety program to strengthen the country's flood preparedness in the case of natural disasters. The CBO also concluded WRDA would invest $235 million through 2018 to implement provisions related to harbor maintenance.
Finally, the legislation would set aside $40 million for a pilot project seeking to lower the cost of capital and increase private investment in water and wastewater infrastructure. Modeled after the Transportation Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act, the program would provide credit assistance in the form of direct loans and loan guarantees to finance water projects of national significance.
In a May 8 letter to Senate leaders, AED urged strong support for the chamber's WRDA legislation.
Visit AEDaction.org today to press your lawmakers to invest in our nation's crumbling water infrastructure.
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Obama Taps Charlotte Mayor for Top DOT Job|
On April 29, President Obama nominated Anthony Foxx, mayor of Charlotte, N.C., to replace outgoing U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Foxx must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before assuming the top spot at the Transportation Department.
Foxx is known for launching several transportation initiatives as mayor, including the Charlotte Streetcar Project, the Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility connecting freight from Charlotte to global ports, and the construction of a third runway at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
AED looks forward to learning more about Foxx during his upcoming U.S. Senate confirmation hearings. Stay tuned as the story progresses.
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Federal Appeals Court Unpins NLRB Poster Rule|
On May 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed a lower court decision and struck down a 2010 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regulation requiring most private-sector employers to post a government-drafted notice of employee rights.
The court found the NLRB rule would violate employers' first amendment rights by forcing the display of language that favors unionization. The court held:
"[T]he Board's rule requires employers to disseminate such information, upon pain of being held to have committed an unfair labor practice. But that difference hardly ends the matter. The right to disseminate another's speech necessarily includes the right to decide not to disseminate it."
AED joined its allies at the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) in opposition of the NLRB rule, arguing it would require nearly six million businesses to post notices amounting to little more than advertisements for union membership.
The posting notice issue is far from settled. Another challenge to the rule is pending before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is hearing an NLRB appeal from a South Carolina federal district court that also struck down the rule. Depending on the outcome, the Supreme Court may choose to take on the case. For now, however, employers are free from displaying this contentious poster against their will.
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AED Study Helps Congress Understand Highway Funding Challenges|
A recent AED-sponsored study by researchers from the College of William & Mary is being used by lawmakers to demonstrate the Highway Trust Fund's (HTF) treacherous path toward insolvency.
On April 24, the House Budget Committee held a hearing, "State of the Highway Trust Fund: Long-Term Solutions for Solvency," to focus on long-term investment for surface transportation infrastructure. During the proceedings, Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) inserted the AED report, "The Impact of Fuel Use Trends on the Highway Trust Fund's Present and Future," into the official record.
In the study, College of William & Mary researchers project that over the next 23 years gasoline consumption will decline as Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards rise, leading to a drop in gas tax payments to the HTF. Failing to change the existing tax structure, while maintaining current investment levels, will incur a $365.5 billion deficit to the fund during that time, the report concludes.
AED continues to engage our nation's policymakers to make surface transportation investment a top priority. To urge your lawmakers to find new revenue streams for the HTF, visit AEDaction.org.
Construction Coalition Sets Record Straight on Highway Program
In conjunction with the panel's highway funding hearing, AED reinforced its successful efforts to shed a different perspective on the surface transportation infrastructure funding gap joining the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) in a letter to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
While urging a greater national role in infrastructure, the TCC refuted many common claims made by opponents of robust federal highway and bridge investments.
The coalition letter can be viewed here.
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Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Boost State Revolving Funds|
On May 10, House Transportation & Infrastructure members Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced legislation that invests in water infrastructure projects by providing funds to the Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) and other financing mechanisms.
The Water Quality Protection & Job Creation Act (H.R. 1877) authorizes $13.8 billion over five years for the Clean Water SRF program, which provides low-interest loans and additional loan subsidizations to communities for wastewater infrastructure projects. The bill would also provide additional help, like principal forgiveness and negative interest loans, to states meeting certain criteria.
In addition, the Rahall-Young bill would create a Clean Water Trust Fund providing capitalization grants for Clean Water SRFs and the implementation of best water management practices.
Finally, the legislation would authorize a federal loan and loan guarantee program modeled after the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act in order to spur private investment in public infrastructure. Such credit assistance could provide improved access to capital markets, flexible repayment terms, and potentially more favorable interest rates.
Visit AEDaction.org to urge your lawmakers to make water infrastructure investment a top priority.
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AED, Industry Colleagues Support TRIP Bond Legislation|
AED joined eight infrastructure allies in support of legislation to provide $50 billion over six years for new transportation infrastructure bonds that will empower states and local government to complete significant new projects across all modes of transportation, including roads, bridges, transit, rail, and waterways.
In a May 8 letter to bill sponsors Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) AED and its allies said the Transportation and Regional Infrastructure Projects (TRIP) legislation will generate significant economic growth, improve transportation infrastructure, and save lives through enhanced transportation safety, without adding to the national deficit. Based on the findings of a 2012 AED study, the association projects the bonds would generate $160.5 billion in economic output (GDP) over a 20-year period and produce many jobs.
The signatories committed to working with the senators to help enact the supplemental financing program.
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Bipartisan, Bicameral Leaders Launch Tax Reform Campaign|
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) have joined forces to launch an online campaign aimed at engaging the general public in the comprehensive tax reform process.
Developed in partnership with the Joint Committee on Taxation, TaxReform.gov offers tools to inform the public about why reform is needed and what actions are already underway. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to share stories and ideas about the tax code. The public can also submit comments via Twitter to the handle @simplertaxes. Lawmakers will use this input as they craft legislation.
AED has remained actively engaged with leaders in Washington throughout the comprehensive tax reform debate by providing congressional testimony and submitting comments on the Ways & Means' small business tax reform discussion draft.
AED urges its members to tell their story using TaxReform.gov and to visit AEDaction.org to press lawmakers on restoring tax certainty.
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