Earlier this week, AED’s 2019 Chairman Michael Brennan (Brandeis Machinery & Supply Co.) led the association’s executive committee for meetings on Capitol Hill and at the White House to push for long-term, robustly funded infrastructure investment legislation.
Brennan was joined by AED’s Immediate Past Chairwoman Diane Benck (West Side Tractor Sales Co.), Vice President of Finance Gayle Humphries (Low Country Machinery), Vice President of Membership Michael Vazquez (MECO Miami) and Vice President of Political Action Wes Stowers (Stowers Machinery).
Participants told a bipartisan group of leading lawmakers and Trump administration officials that the construction equipment industry and the broader economy need a long-term infrastructure bill with increased investment levels, including:
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.);
- House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.);
- Senate Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee Chairman Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.);
- House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.);
- House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.);
- Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.); and
- Senior staff from the president’s National Economic Council.
Infrastructure investment is a top priority for the House, Senate and the White House. However, the lawmakers made it clear that legislation won’t get across the finish line without AED and its members delivering the message that further delay is unacceptable. Attending the 2019 Washington Fly-In on June 11-13 is critical to ensuring as many lawmakers as possible hear directly from construction equipment dealers about the importance of infrastructure investment.
Be sure to register today and join us in Washington to help make a long-term, robustly funded infrastructure bill a reality.
Brian P. McGuire, president and CEO of Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), issued the following statement after President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union address.
“AED commends President Trump for once again highlighting the decrepit state of our nation’s infrastructure and for calling on lawmakers to provide the resources necessary to rebuild America. With economic growth, quality of life and international competitiveness at stake, further delay is unacceptable. The American people demand results and it’s time for talk and promises to finally turn into congressional action by providing the essential investments needed to return the United States’ infrastructure to the envy of the world.”
On Friday, February 9, AED’s newly appointed Vice President of Political Action, Wes Stowers (CEO of Stowers Machinery), participated in an infrastructure panel discussion at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The event was hosted by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and No Labels, an organization dedicated to bringing together both political parties to solve the nation’s biggest issues in a non-partisan manner.
In addition to Stowers, panelists included representatives from Volvo Construction Equipment, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. Covered on C-Span, the town hall discussion featured Republican and Democrat members of Congress and U.S. business leaders, exploring the prospects for movement on a long-term, comprehensive infrastructure bill in the 116th Congress.
Stowers emphasized the need for infrastructure funding certainty, saying, “It’s irresponsible if we aren’t able to fund long-term projects with long-term money.” Regarding Congress’ failure to act to provide for substantial and sustainable infrastructure investments, Stowers said, “It has safety impacts, quality of life impacts and certainly it’s critical for the continued success of our economy. Infrastructure is one of the most competitive advantages the United States has worldwide. But, other countries are improving and modernizing their infrastructure and we’ve got catching up to do.”
Immediately preceding the stakeholder panel, lawmakers from the Problem Solvers Caucus, including Reps. John Katko (R-N.Y.), Kurt Schroeder (D-Ore.) and Jim Costa (D-Cal.), discussed the prospects for infrastructure legislation in 2019. All agreed that Democrats and Republicans should work together to do what’s necessary to address America’s crumbling infrastructure during the 116th congressional session.
To view the stakeholder panel discussion visit: https://www.c-span.org/video/?457708-3/infrastructure-town-hall-discussion-industry-stakeholders
To view the lawmaker panel discussion visit: https://www.c-span.org/video/?457708-2/infrastructure-town-hall-discussion-house-members
Be sure to register today for the 2019 AED Washington Fly-In, June 11-13, on Capitol Hill, where infrastructure investment will top the agenda. Gain valuable political intelligence from leading lawmakers and administration officials and advocate on behalf of your company and the industry. AED will schedule meetings with your House and Senate representatives. Just show up ready to learn and have fun!
On January 25, AED delivered a letter to Congress outlining the construction equipment industry’s legislative priorities for the 116th congressional session, which includes infrastructure investment, addressing the skills gap, tax permanency and pursuing pro-growth trade and energy policies.
“AED members are ready for Congress to work together in a bipartisan manner to enact pro-growth, job-creating policies that will ensure the country’s economic vitality for decades to come,” AED’s President and CEO Brian P. McGuire told congressional leadership.
While Congress has been preoccupied with organizational tasks, such as committee assignments, and resolving the partial government shutdown, it’s expected lawmakers will turn to other priorities in the near future, with infrastructure near the top of the agenda.
With more than 100 new faces settling in on Capitol Hill, it’s more important than ever that AED members engage in the process to educate and advocate for the industry’s policy priorities. Be sure to attend the AED Summit in Orlando on February 4-7 to hear more about the Association’s public policy agenda and mark your calendars for AED’s 2019 Washington Fly-In on June 11-13.
Brian P. McGuire, president and CEO of Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), issued the following statement after the swearing-in of the 116th Congress and commencement of the new congressional session.
“Congratulations to the newly sworn-in members of the 116th Congress. AED is ready to work with all lawmakers to pursue pro-growth policies that will encourage economic expansion and the creation of well-paying jobs across America.
“Congress should immediately resolve an issue with bipartisan support – addressing the nation’s decaying infrastructure. The 116th Congress has a choice to work together to provide significant, long-term investments to rebuild America or watch the country’s infrastructure continue to crumble, international competitiveness and quality of life suffer, and economic growth begin to sputter. The construction equipment industry looks forward to helping the 116th Congress make good on prior unfulfilled promises and provide the American people the modern infrastructure network they demand. Further delay is unacceptable.”
Brian P. McGuire, president & CEO of Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), issued the following statement following the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“AED commends the Trump administration for reaching a new, modernized trade agreement with two key U.S. allies – Canada and Mexico,” said AED’s President & CEO Brian P. McGuire. “It’s now imperative that Congress works expeditiously to review the USMCA in a timely manner. The construction equipment industry needs trade certainty to continue to invest, create well-paying jobs and help rebuild our country.”
Read the full statement here.
The midterm elections are in the rearview and just a few races are still “to close to call.” Nonetheless, it’s clear Republicans will continue to control the Senate (51-46 with two races undecided and a run-off set for Nov. 27 in Mississippi) and the Democrats will lead the House of Representatives (227-198 with 10 races uncalled).
“AED looks forward to working with all lawmakers, regardless of political party, to pursue pro-growth policies that expand equipment markets and lower our members’ cost-of-doing business,” said AED President & CEO Brian P. McGuire. “During the past two years, AED has laid the groundwork to engage Republicans and Democrats in Washington, positioning the association to work on a bipartisan basis regardless of party control. Divided government provides a unique opportunity for Congress and the president to work across the aisle to solve the biggest issues facing the United States, such as rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.”
There’s significant jockeying and uncertainty in both caucuses as party and committee leadership posts are determined during the next few weeks. However, as far as AED’s legislative agenda goes, there’s early optimism about one of the equipment industry’s top legislative priorities – infrastructure investment.
With Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), an outspoken advocate for substantial, long-term and user-funded federal infrastructure programs, taking the reins of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, construction industry groups are hopeful that the House will consider legislation early in 2019. President Donald Trump made infrastructure investment a key part of his domestic agenda, and moving into a presidential cycle he’s signaled a willingness to work with Democrats to achieve his campaign promise to rebuild the country. Infrastructure investment was also a pillar of the Democrat’s “A Better Deal” agenda, which served as the campaign platform for many of their newly-elected candidates.
House Democrats will focus time and energy on rigorous oversight of the Trump administration and expect hearings on the new tax law, increasing the minimum wage, climate change, health care, immigration, gun control, Russia electoral interference and a host of hot-button issues. However, with the Senate still in GOP hands (and a high likelihood Republicans will add to that majority), only bipartisan legislation will finds it way to the president’s desk. There won’t be Tax Cuts 2.0 enacted, but it also means the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act won’t be repealed. House Democrats will make every effort to counter the administration’s regulatory reform agenda, but aside from hearings and rhetoric, there’s little that can be done by one congressional chamber to reverse President Trump’s agency actions.
Other areas of bipartisan compromise could be workforce development and ratifying the renegotiated NAFTA (known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canadian Agreement).
With the number of retirements and ousted incumbents in both chambers, there’s a significant amount of work to be done to introduce the equipment industry and AED’s legislative priorities to the biggest freshman class of lawmakers in recent memory. Dealer engagement in this process is key to educating lawmakers and advocating for pro-growth policies, so be sure to mark your calendars for the 2019 AED Washington Fly-In on June 11-13.
On October 31, AED Chairwoman Diane Benck of West Side Tractor Sales Co., attended a White House-hosted discussion with President Donald J. Trump, Advisor Ivanka Trump and National Economic Council Chairman Larry Kudlow about workforce development and the economy. AED was among a select group of organizations and companies invited to participate.
The event highlighted the Trump administration’s “Pledge to America’s Workers,” an initiative seeking commitments from organizations and companies to train workers for skilled careers. AED and The AED Foundation have pledged to train and retrain 10,000 individuals during the next five years through AED Foundation accredited diesel technology programs, association educational seminars and courses, and our individual dealers, who invest millions of dollars annually to provide their employees the skills the industry demands. To learn more about supporting The AED Foundation’s efforts, click here.
“It was an honor to represent AED and equipment dealers across the country to support President Trump and his administration’s efforts to ensure workers have the training required to fill in-demand jobs,” said Chairwoman Benck. “The greatest challenge facing the equipment industry is the technician shortage, which is costing AED members more than $2.4 billion per year in lost revenue and economic activity. AED commends the president and Ms. Trump for their leadership and recognizing the responsibility the private sector must shoulder to ensure our nation’s workforce acquires the skills AED members demand.”
Chairwoman Benck was accompanied by Andrew Roge, a field service technician for West Side Tractor Sales Co., based out of South Holland, Ill. Roge, a Marine veteran, has benefited from more than 100 hours of training provided by West Side Tractor since joining the company earlier this year.
To watch video of the event, click here.
On October 10, AED submitted comments in response to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeking input about reforms to the federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.
The Association has requested that the agency grant a “service truck exemption” from HOS requirements. Given that operating a commercial motor vehicle is incidental to a service technician’s primary job responsibilities and they do not face the same demands or fatigue concerns as long-haul truck drivers, AED asserts that a blanket exemption from the HOS regulations for equipment service trucks is the most efficient and safest approach.
In the event the FMCSA declines to exempt service trucks from HOS regulations, AED supports certain reforms that will provide some regulatory relief for equipment dealers, including:
- Providing one set of HOS rules for short-haul operations, wherein a CDL driver would be exempt from the requirements if the driver operates within 150 air-miles of the work reporting location and completes the work day within 14 hours;
- Eliminating the short-haul rule’s return to work reporting location requirement to allow the driver to establish the origin point for that duty period, as opposed to returning back to the normal work reporting location;
- Granting drivers the flexibility to extend the 14-hour daily duty window by up to three hours in a single off-duty break; and
- Allowing drivers to drive for an additional two hours beyond the 14-hour driving window during adverse conditions, such as inclement weather.
Following review of the comments, the FMCSA is expected to release a proposed rule in the coming months. AED will continue to work with FMCSA and congressional allies to provide regulatory relief to equipment dealers from the burdensome hours-of-service regulations.
To view AED’s comments please visit: http://aednet.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/AED-CommentstoDocket-No.-FMCSA-2018-0248-1.pdf
Contact AED’s Vice President of Government Affairs Daniel B. Fisher with questions or input related to the HOS comments or other policy issues.
After more than a year of tense negotiations, earlier this week, the United States, Canada and Mexico unveiled an updated trade agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The new accord, which will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), must now be signed by all parties (expected before Dec. 1) and then ratified within each country, a process that could take months or even years. Meanwhile, NAFTA will remain in effect until it is either replaced by USMCA or the United States, Mexico or Canada unilaterally withdraw.
Significantly, the USMCA is silent regarding the United States’ existing Section 232 tariffs on aluminum and steel from Canada and Mexico.
“AED welcomes the announcement that a new trade agreement has been reached and it includes two key U.S. allies – Canada and Mexico,” said AED’s President and CEO Brian P. McGuire. “We now encourage the administration to build on this momentum and work diligently to come to a resolution with Canada and Mexico on steel tariffs, which are disrupting supply chains, increasing costs for equipment purchasers and exasperating shortages of new construction equipment to rebuild America.”
To view the final text of the agreement click here.
AED is reviewing the text and working with our partners to determine the agreement’s impact on the broader industry, including equipment manufacturers and your customers. Please provide your input and comments regarding the USMCA and it’s possible impact on equipment dealers to AED’s Vice President of Government Affairs Daniel B. Fisher.