Advocacy Success: TRSAPAC Dinner Draws DC Elites

Posted December 8, 2017 at 5:42 pm



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U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) talked about taxes, education, reforming federal benefit programs and more to a group of seven TRSA members at an early-evening reception on Dec. 6 at the Capitol Hill Club. The meeting kicked off TRSA’s exclusive semiannual “TRSAPAC Fly-In” program in which TRSAPAC supporters are invited to Washington DC for an evening reception/dinner followed by a morning of meetings with lawmakers and/or federal agency execs, plus a luncheon on Capitol Hill.

In an interview after her meeting with the TRSA attendees, Rep. Foxx, who chairs the Committee on Education and the Workforce, predicted that Congress ultimately will enact the tax bill recently approved by both the House and Senate. The congresswoman predicted that the tax measure will boost growth nationwide. “We’re at 3.4% (GDP growth) right now and we have been for two quarters in anticipation of the tax cuts,” Rep. Foxx said. “I think the economy’s going to take off like gangbusters.”

When asked if she’s concerned about deficits that could result from reduced tax revenues related to the bill – including a provision that could cut corporate taxes from 35% to as little as 20% – Rep. Foxx said she’s confident that robust growth will more than make up the difference.

As for obstacles to final passage of the bill, Rep. Foxx predicted that they’ll likely be some individual lawmakers who raise last-minute concerns. However, momentum toward a final agreement is building. What’s more, enacting the tax bill will free up GOP lawmakers to pursue other items on their agenda. “This tax reform is what’s staring us in the face,” she said. “We get that out of the way, it’ll clear the deck for a lot of other things.”

Those issues include efforts to reform federal benefit programs that discourage people from pursuing paid employment, Rep. Foxx said.

The congresswoman also commented on several other issues that were high on TRSA’s agenda for this month’s Fly-In, including:

Regulatory Reform: Rep. Foxx said she supports this effort and has introduced a bill, the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act (UMITA) that’s designed to make federal agencies more accountable to the public.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Changes: Rep. Foxx noted that Congress already has acted to reverse some policies dating from the administration of President Barack Obama, such as the Joint Employer Rule. A more balanced NLRB with a greater awareness of the impact of labor rules on the economy is emerging as President Donald Trump appoints new members to serve on the NLRB. A new chairman is expected to succeed Philip Miscimarra, an Obama appointee, later this month, she said.

Transportation Funding: Rep. Foxx said she favors more road building and related projects, but not if entails a hike in taxes or tolls. Instead, she favors regulatory reform as a way to help improve transportation systems across the U.S. “Right now, I don’t think there is any appetite for raising taxes,” she said. “So again, regulatory reform would go a long way.” For example, Rep. Foxx said she’s repeatedly introduced and/or supported legislation that would modify, or do away with the David Bacon Act, which requires the payment of union-scale wages on all highway projects that receive federal funding. “That would save 15% in costs for highway construction,” Rep. Foxx said, regarding the lifting of Davis Bacon rules. “So you start out with things like that, where you can get more money without raising taxes. You find savings. You look for ways that you can speed projects up. When it takes 15 years from an idea to starting a project, you’ve got a problem. That’s got to change. We’ve got to be able to move projects along.”

After the meeting with Rep. Foxx, the TRSA attendees attended a dinner in downtown Washington. There, they met with another high-ranking lawmaker, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), who also discussed the effort to pass tax reform and its likely impact on businesses in his Southern Illinois district and across the U.S. Rep. Shimkus was named by the House leadership as one of nine House members who’ll serve on a conference committee with members of the Senate. The two sides will try to hammer out a final version of the tax bill that can pass both houses and be signed by President Trump. Rep. Shimkus also chairs the Environment Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce.

For more on TRSA’s Fly-In program and other advocacy/outreach efforts to federal, state and local government leaders, contact Kevin Schwalb, TRSA’s vice president of government relations at kschwalb@trsa.org or call 877.770.9274, ext. 107.