Weekly Legislative Update - January 13, 2020
The Economy is the Strongest it Has Been in Years
A new year and a new decade. For so many reasons, 2020 is a momentous year. America is at a crossroad economically, politically, and globally.
What challenges require our attention? What is our place in the global economy, what can we reasonably get done in 2020?
The state of business in America is uncertain, but positive, growing, and hopeful.
What happens in Washington is perhaps the biggest question mark. The high drama of impeachment continues to unfold, and once that gets resolved, we can get back to POLITICS.
Conventional wisdom says that in an election year, it will be difficult to get any meaningful legislations through congress.
But a great deal can be accomplished. Now is the time for strong leadership, smart decision-making, and meaningful action.
- An infrastructure deal to modernize the physical platform of our economy.
- Reform to our immigration system to ensure that businesses have the workers they need.
- Bipartisan bills that can help address climate change through innovation and investment.
As we begin our efforts in the new year and the new decade, Roy and I have been busy at events designed to look at where we are and where we should focus our efforts.
I. Small Business Council Retreat--Roy and I attended this valuable conference of small business associations that develop a priority list of legislative issues important to the small business community. Those issues will be formally sent to the White House and Congress later this month.
For the second year in a row, Roy and I were asked to make a presentation. This year our topic was "Engaging Association Members in Government Affair Activities".
We outlined the major public policy efforts that TIA will feature in 2020--Federal Lobby Day, National Environmental Summit, and the International Industry Summit. We then explained the "hot button" issues we will focus on in the International Summit, and how we will address, analyze, and develop policy throughout the year on those issues.
II. State of American Energy--We attended the annual overview of energy, hosted by the American Petroleum Institute. Guest Included members of Congress, leaders of the nation's oil and energy companies, leaders of organized labor, and leaders of every major energy related association in the nation's Capital. TIA was recognized for its efforts in the program opening.
Over the past seven presidential administrations, the bipartisan effort has moved America from a nation dependent on sometimes hostile nations for oil and other forms of energy, to the world's top suppliers of energy and now the world's greatest exporters of energy. The benefits of the American energy revolutions have strengthened our position as the top economy in the world.
III. Maryland Session Opens--Roy Attended the opening of the Maryland state legislative session. In 2019, TIA was instrumental in defeating legislation to greatly restrict crumb rubber usage in athletic fields and to declare crumb rubber as a hazardous waste.
The liability issue and the cost of closing and cleaning up athletic fields using crumb rubber would have been crippling to our industry.
IV. The State of American Business--Hosted by the U.S Chamber of Commerce, the sessions focused on the 32.6 domestic companies that power the United States economy. The message was that despite the impeachment proceedings, the political divide, the elections, and the uncertainty, American businesses--large and small--cannot take the year off. Inaction in not an option. TIA members especially understand.
Nothing was "suppose to happen" at the end of 2019. While the discussions in Washington captured the headlines, Congress made bipartisan progress on a number of significant business policies.
- After a long process of negotiating the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement through eight rounds of negotiations, it passed the House of Representatives and is headed to the Senate.
Congress also passed and the President signed into law:
- A top TIA legislative priority--full repeal of the Cadillac Tax, the Health Insurance Tax, and the Medical Device Tax.
- Extension of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit-- another TIA priority.
- A seven-year extension of the U.S Export-Import bank.
- Allow retirement options for small business.
- Renewal of critical awareness programs to cover flood and terrorism attacks.
TIA recognizes that there are lawmakers of both political parties who are committed to doing the nations business. We continue to call for bipartisan compromise and legislative leadership--good old-fashioned governing.