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.
Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) this week announced they have retained lobbying and public affairs firm, Impact Public Affairs, to represent the Association in Ottawa and throughout Canada.
“I am extremely pleased to welcome Impact to the AED team,” stated Brian P. McGuire, AED’s president and CEO. “Impact has an outstanding reputation as one of Canada’s premier public affairs firms. Their seasoned political consultants understand government and have their fingers on the pulse concerning the current administration’s motivations and constraints. I expect them to be a tremendous asset to AED’s growing Canadian presence,” he added.
Impact’s President Huw Williams will spearhead AED’s effort in Ottawa and beyond. Williams is a sought-after professional specializing in government and media relations. With extensive experience in the print and broadcast media, Williams has appeared frequently as a corporate spokesperson on CBC and CTV national news. In 2018, Williams was recognized as one of the Top 100 Lobbyists in Canada by the Hill Times Insider Guide. Mr. Williams’ government experience is diverse, having served as Acting Chief of Staff to the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada; as a Senior Special Assistant to the Minister of Constitutional Affairs; and as a Legislative Assistant to the Speaker of the Alberta Legislative Assembly among other high profile positions.
“Impact Public Affairs is excited to develop this new relationship with AED,” stated Williams. “AED is one of the premier trade associations in North America and their knowledge of, and commitment to, Canada is most impressive. We look forward to assisting them with legislative and public affairs issues as they endeavor to expand their footprint north of the border,” Williams concluded.
“AED is excited to work with the Impact team on issues important to the Canadian construction equipment industry,” said AED’s Vice President of Government Affairs Daniel B. Fisher. “With this partnership, AED members will see a new level of engagement in Canada that will increase the industry’s visibility among policymakers and result in policy solutions that induce economic growth and dealer profitability.”
About AED: AED is an international trade association representing companies involved in the distribution, rental and support of equipment used in construction, mining, energy, forestry, power generation, agriculture, and industrial applications. More information is available at www.aednet.org.
About Impact Canada: Building relationships for over 20 years, Impact Public Affairs is a full-service firm based in Canada’s capital with offices in Toronto and Montreal. More information is available at www.impactcanada.com
The U.S. Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued proposed regulations regarding two key provisions from the new tax law, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act.
One proposed rule pertains to Section 199A of the statute (“Qualified Business Income Deduction”), which includes the 20 percent deduction for pass-through businesses. The other deals with the law’s 100 percent bonus depreciation provision. Both are key parts of the new law for equipment dealers.
It’s imperative that equipment dealers consult with your CPA and tax attorney to determine the impact on your company. The IRS is accepting public comment on both proposals. Please provide any feedback and concerns to AED’s Vice President of Government Affairs Daniel B. Fisher as soon as possible.
Review the Section 199A proposal, a notice providing methods for calculating the deduction and a FAQ document here.
Review the 100 percent bonus depreciation proposal here.
Earlier today, the House approved the bipartisan Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353), sending the legislation to President Trump for his signature. Today’s action comes on the heels of Senate passage on July 23. AED made enactment of H.R. 2353 a key part of its legislative agenda this Congress.
The legislation reforms, modernizes and reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The Perkins Act, which hasn’t been updated in more than a decade, is the principal source of federal funding for the improvement of secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs across the nation.
“Today, Congress took a long overdue step toward addressing the nation’s skills gap by approving the Strengthening Career & Technical Education for the 21st Century Act,” said AED’s President & CEO Brian P. McGuire. “By reflecting current workforce needs, empowering state and local entities, and emphasizing work-based learning opportunities, the bipartisan legislation provides tools to better prepare workers for well-paying careers and ensure that U.S. companies can seize new business opportunities, making the United States more competitive in the global economy.”
“The greatest strategic challenge facing the construction equipment industry is the scarcity of skilled technical workers that is costing AED members more than $2.4 billion per year in lost revenue and economic activity. H.R. 2353 is an important part of the solution, which along with a commitment by businesses, schools and government officials to collectively tackling the technical education crisis at all levels, will help our nation’s students acquire the skills needed to meet employer demands. Thank you to the bill’s sponsors for their leadership on this issue. The construction equipment industry urges the president to sign this important legislation into law as soon as possible.”
The legislation will help:
• Align CTE programs to the needs of the regional, state and local labor markets.
• Support effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers.
• Increase student participation in work-based learning opportunities.
• Promote the use of industry recognized credentials and other recognized post-secondary credentials.
These improvements will more effectively spend federal dollars to help our nation’s students acquire the skills that they need and employers – including AED members – are demanding.
To view AED’s most recent letter of support for H.R. 2353 visit: http://aednet.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/AED-HR2353HouseVoteSupportLetter.pdf
The AED Foundation recently commissioned two studies by the College of William & Mary quantifying the skilled worker shortage’s impact on the construction equipment industry and analyzing career and technical education (CTE) programs on a state-by-state basis. Visit aedfoundation.org/research/ to learn more about The AED Foundation’s research.
For more information please contact Daniel B. Fisher, AED’s Vice President of Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While not formally introduced as legislation, Chairman Shuster intends it to serve as a basis for comprehensive infrastructure investment legislation later in 2018 or during the next congressional session.
“AED is greatly appreciative to Chairman Shuster for championing policies to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure in a sustainable manner,” said AED’s President Brian P. McGuire. “The Chairman’s proposal acknowledges solutions that AED has urged Congress to enact for the past decade, including increasing the current user fee, ensuring drivers of electric vehicles pay their fair share into the Highway Trust Fund and shifting the nation towards a per-miles-traveled charge or another solution to ensure the long-term viability of the federal highway program.”
“Chairman Shuster has demonstrated leadership and advanced a transformative plan to rebuild America. His congressional colleagues must now accept their responsibility and pass legislation this year that will show the country that Washington is serious about investing our nation’s infrastructure. The American people have waited far too long and it’s time to turn words into action.”
Key components of Chairman Shuster’s plan include:
• Maintaining the Highway Trust Fund’s solvency through 2028, by phasing-in, over three calendar years, a 15-cent per gallon gas tax and 20-cent per gallon diesel increase (following the three-year phase-in period, the gas/diesel tax will be indexed to inflation).
• Buttressing the Highway Trust Fund by establishing a 10 percent fee on the wholesale price of electric batteries used to propel motor vehicles and a 10 percent fee on the wholesale price of adult bicycle tires.
• Eliminating the federal gas tax by September 30, 2028, and replacing it with a new vehicle-miles-traveled program or other similar solution.
• Streamlining the federal permitting process for infrastructure projects.
View Chairman Shuster’s vision statement here:https://transportation.house.gov/uploadedfiles/infrastructure_vision_statement.pdf
View the discussion draft here: https://transportation.house.gov/uploadedfiles/infra_001_xml.pdf
View a section-by-section analysis of the discussion draft here: https://transportation.house.gov/uploadedfiles/section_by_section_.pdf
For more information please contact Daniel B. Fisher, AED’s Vice President of Government Affairs at email@example.com.
Brian P. McGuire, president and CEO of Associated Equipment Distributors, issued the following statement following President Donald J. Trump’s executive order signing that addresses the nation’s skilled workforce challenges and establishes the National Council for the American Worker.
“AED commends President Trump for his leadership in addressing the nation’s skills gap. Businesses, schools and government officials must collectively commit to tackling the technical workforce shortage, and the president’s executive order is a positive step to giving students and workers the necessary skills to thrive in today’s economy.
“The greatest strategic challenge facing the construction equipment industry is the scarcity of skilled technical workers. In fact, the industry’s technician shortage is costing AED members more than $2.4 billion per year in lost revenue and economic activity. Preparing workers for well-paying careers will ensure that U.S. companies can seize new business opportunities, making the United States more competitive in the global economy. The construction equipment industry looks forward to working with President Trump and his administration to help our nation’s students acquire the skills that they need and employers – including AED members – demand.”
This article was originally posted in Transportation Today. To view the original article, click here.
During a recent visit to Luby Equipment Services in Caseyville, Ill., U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), who serves on the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, discussed opportunities to develop larger ports along the Mississippi River in order to drive commerce to Illinois and Missouri, and the importance of strengthening the nation’s infrastructure.
The congressman’s tour of Luby Equipment Services’ facilities and a panel discussion took place on May 30 and was arranged by the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), a trade group representing companies that distribute, rent and support equipment used in construction, energy, agriculture and other sectors.
The health of southern Illinois’ infrastructure, particularly its highways, rail lines and waterways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Each year nearly $3 trillion in goods are shipped to, from and within Illinois, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges, according to TRIP, a national transportation research group. The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Illinois supports about 154,000 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy, the group says.
Bost, who represents 12 counties in southern Illinois, said he was pleased with the visit to Luby Equipment Services, which deals in construction equipment at six locations in Illinois and Missouri. “They continue to be leaders in the community and I appreciate the good jobs they provide as they service the heavy equipment industry,” Bost said.
Other issues of importance to the industrial equipment industry Bost touched on during the visit included taxes and workforce issues.
David Kedney, sales manager at Luby Equipment Services, said, “The key takeaway was the dialogue regarding the countless benefits from investments in our nation’s infrastructure and roads,” Kedney said. “We feel that having budget stability for larger road jobs will provide confidence to contractors at all levels to invest in equipment purchases.”
“Infrastructure is vitally important to our economy,” Bost said, “and I will take their input back to Congress as I continue my work on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.”