AED’s Political Initiatives

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AED’s 2018 Legislative Priorities

When you engage your elected leaders, know what to say on behalf of the construction equipment industry.

Download the 2018 Legislative Priorities brochure.

Rebuild our nation’s infrastructure

America’s power grid is operating at full capacity. Most of the U. S. energy system dates to the mid-20th century. The time is long overdue for a major upgrade to our energy infrastructure. Congress must focus greater attention on replacing aging equipment and accommodating increased demand. Additionally, investments are necessary to ensure that broadband infrastructure keeps pace with growing demands for internet access.

Restore certainty and predictability to the tax code

While the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act contained many pro-growth policies, including lowering the tax burden for pass-throughs, full expensing of new and used equipment purchases and business interest limitations tied to EBITDA, these provisions are temporary. Congress must work to make these important capital investment incentives a permanent part of the tax code to provide certainty for construction equipment dealers, manufacturers and customers.

Protect equipment distributors from harmful and unnecessary regulations

In recent years, AED members and other businesses have faced a deluge of new regulatory mandates from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Labor (DOL), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other federal agencies. Congress and the new administration should carefully review recent regulatory actions, including EPA’s “Water of United States” and greenhouse gas emissions rulemakings, OSHA’s crystalline silica exposure mandate, DOL’s overtime rules, and NLRB ‘s proposal to completely alter the current employment framework by redefining “joint employer” to unnecessarily ensnare businesses in the labor disputes of its outside contractors and suppliers. Congress should also enact regulatory reform legislation to permanently impose more accountability on regulators and enhance the role of the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy.

Invest in the next generation of skilled, technical workers

A recent AED Foundation study found that shortage of equipment technicians is costing dealers $2.4 billion per year in lost economic opportunity. Other industries that rely on skilled labor are similarly suffering. Congress must channel resources to training a new generation of technical workers. Policymakers should update laws to reflect current workforce needs and to allow greater flexibility for state and local entities, nongovernmental organizations, community colleges and technical schools, and industry to work together to address the skilled worker deficiency. Finally, Congress must ensure federal training and educational programs, such as the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, receive adequate funding to build a skilled and dynamic technical workforce.

Expand domestic energy production

The United States must continue to develop its energy resources and become an even more significant global energy producer. Congress should ensure that shale energy development is allowed to continue across the country and must recognize that its benefits are best measured and understood at the state level. Congress and the administration should work together to renew the vitality of other energy sectors – including coal – that have been undermined by federal policy in recent years. Finally, speeding the construction of new infrastructure to transport and process energy must also be a priority.

Increase water infrastructure investment

Government and industry studies have estimated the nation’s water infrastructure needs over the next two decades in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure a D-, the lowest grade of any infrastructure category. Investment in water infrastructure projects is a win-win for everyone, including government. Researchers at the College of William & Mary found that over twenty years, investing $1 in sewer systems and water infrastructure generates $2.03 in tax receipts ($1.35 for the federal government). AED encourages Congress to preserve and increase funding for the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. Lawmakers should also adopt alternative financing mechanisms, such as bipartisan legislation lifting the state volume cap on private activity bonds for water infrastructure projects to leverage private capital. Additionally, Congress should create a Clean Water Trust Fund to ensure stable funding for water infrastructure investments.

 

Promote international trade and commerce

The United States operates in global economy. While protectionist rhetoric makes good campaign soundbites, the reality is American companies rely heavily on free trade agreements and other accords that permit accessible and efficient international trade. Congress must continue to promote free trade by lifting the embargo of Cuba, ensuring the long-term viability of the Export-Import Bank, and building closer relationships with Canada, our closest ally and trading partner.