U.S. GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS PROGRAM & POLICY PRIORITIES
AED’s 2021 focus is on urging Congress and the administration to work together in a bipartisan manner to enact pro-growth, job-creating policies to ensure the country’s economic vitality and the long-term viability of the equipment industry. Infrastructure investment, workforce development, tax and trade certainty, and pro-growth energy and regulatory policies are at the top of AED’s 2021 advocacy agenda.
Whether it’s attending the AED Washington Fly-In, supporting the AED Political Action Committee (PAC), or hosting a congressional facility visit, equipment dealers must be involved to help ensure positive policy outcomes. Contact AED’s Vice President of Government Affairs Daniel B. Fisher for further information.
MONTHLY U.S. POLICY BRIEF NEWSLETTER
AED members have access to a monthly newsletter, the US Policy Brief. This newsletter contains valuable policy updates and political intelligence about issues impacting the equipment industry and the broader business community. If you’re an AED member and you’re not receiving this newsletter, please contact Dominic Filipponi.
“For better or for worse, what happens in our nation’s capital has a significant impact on your company’s bottom line and profitability. AED will get you up to speed on everything you need to know, including the top issues impacting the industry, how to effectively advocate for your company and what to say in your meetings with congressional offices.”
Rebuild Our Nation’s Infrastructure
The United States’ infrastructure is crumbling and our leaders in Washington must work in a bipartisan manner to provide long-term certainty and increased investments in federal infrastructure programs. A modern infrastructure system is essential to the nation’s economy and to ensure the efficient movement of all goods to customers and ports. With the current highway bill (the FAST Act) set to expire in 2021 and the Highway Trust Fund approaching insolvency, Congress must identify new revenue sources to restore the federal highway program’s long-term fiscal stability and increase investment levels. Our nation also faces a significant shortfall in dams, levees, airports, broadband, pipes and water system investments. Rural infrastructure is particularly underfunded. Congress and the administration must make rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure a top priority.
Invest in the Next Generation of Skilled, Technical Workers
One of the greatest challenges facing equipment dealers is the lack of skilled service technicians. Federal laws should be updated to reflect current workforce needs. Congress must also increase funding for the Carl D. Perkins Act and other programs that support providing skilled technical education opportunities while expanding access to loan and grant programs for individuals pursuing career and technical education programs. Additionally, lawmakers should create and expand tax benefits to incentivize individuals to pursue technical education and induce employers to reimburse for such costs.
Promote International Trade and Commerce
The United States operates in a global economy. Equipment dealers and manufacturers rely on free trade agreements and other accords that permit accessible and efficient international trade. The Biden administration should review current tariffs and refrain from implementing new ones. Tariffs, particularly on our key trading partners, increase the cost of imports, invite retaliation, and create market uncertainty, detrimentally impacting equipment dealers, manufacturers, contractors, farmers, and U.S. consumers. The United States must also pursue greater regulatory harmonization with Canada and improve the movement of goods across the northern border.
Support Tax Policy That Drives Job Creation, Growth
The strength in the nation’s pre-pandemic economy was due in large part due to pro-growth tax policies that incentivized capital investment and job creation. Provisions from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, including the reduced tax burden for job creating businesses, full expensing of new and used equipment purchases, business interest limitations tied to EBITDA and increased estate tax exemption levels, contributed to a robust economy. Congress must work to preserve these temporary capital investment incentives and make them a permanent part of the tax code to provide certainty for equipment dealers, manufacturers, and their customers.
Pursue a Balanced Regulatory Approach
Regulatory relief helped unlock economic growth prior the pandemic. Policymakers must strike the right balance between health, labor, safety and environmental regulations and a robust inclusive economy for all. The negative impact burdensome mandates and one-size-fits-all approaches have on small-medium-sized businesses and their employees must be recognized as an impediment for growth. Additionally, Congress and the administration should continue to streamline federal permitting for infrastructure projects to reduce costs and establish a more efficient process.
Maintain United States Energy Leadership
The United States must continue to develop its natural resources even as the country moves toward renewables and alternative energy sources. A comprehensive approach to energy resources, that includes fossil fuel development, is a bridge to meet green energy goals in the future. In the past decade, states and communities across the country have been positively transformed due to the economic benefits and lower costs of domestic energy production. Policies regarding energy development must embrace investment, risk-taking and job creation, and recognize that pipelines, such as Keystone XL, are the safest and most efficient means to deliver energy to intermediate and end markets.
Reform the Broken Immigration System
The United States’ immigration system is broken, which is hindering economic growth and prosperity. Congress and the administration must work in a bipartisan manner to reform the nation’s immigration laws to strengthen national security, enforce the rule of law, address workforce shortages and provide certainty to employers and employees. Strong border security is essential to overhauling the country’s immigration system. Additionally, the United States’ immigration laws must be modified to address current employer needs, such as expanding visa categories to fill in-demand jobs like equipment service technicians. Furthermore, a pathway toward legal status should be available to law-abiding, undocumented workers and individuals brought to the United States illegally as children by their parents (“Dreamers”).