A Day in the Life of AED’s Washington StaffWritten By: CHRISTIAN KLEIN
Article Date: 09-03-2007
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
Our full schedule keeps AED's agenda moving forward.
Every month we use this space to bring you insights about what AED's Washington office is doing to advance distributors' interests in Washington. But did you ever wonder how we do it? This look at how I spent just one day this past summer should give you some idea: 8 a.m. - Americans for Transportation (ATM) Breakfast with Rep. John Mica (R-FL) at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Capitol Hill Townhouse. ATM is a coalition run by the Chamber that works to focus attention on America's looming highway funding crisis. AED is a member of the ATM's Steering Committee. Rep. Mica, the senior Republican on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, tells our group that he sees a need for a comprehensive "master plan" to deal with the nation's transportation problems. He also stresses the importance of getting to work on highway reauthorization sooner rather than later.
10:30 a.m. - Death Tax Repeal Working Group Meeting. The Death Tax Repeal Working Group is a coalition run by the American Family Business Institute. At our meeting, we discuss the status of the various death tax bills in the House and Senate. No one is overly optimistic about our prospects this year. A glimmer of hope is a new Supreme Court decision that will make it easier to run ads about the death tax and other issues closer to next year's elections.
Noon - Lunch with Don Barnes at Vidalia. A favorite restaurant of the K Street lobbying crowd is the setting for lunch with Don Barnes. Barnes is a tax lawyer who has worked closely with AED's Washington office on several issues, including preventing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from eliminating depreciation for rent-to-own equipment, our recent replacement cost revenue procedure petition, and preventing LIFO repeal. We touch base, among other things, about pending tax legislation and mechanic tool reimbursement programs.
2:30 p.m. - Meeting with Jeff Choudry, legislative director for Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ). After lunch, we're back on Capitol Hill for a meeting with Rep. Franks' senior legislative staffer to try to persuade him to co-sponsor H.R. 1023, a bill that would repeal the new withholding tax on government contractors. We provide a list of our members in Arizona and explain how this issue will affect distributors who do business with state and local governments. We've invited a colleague from the Associated Builders and Contractors to join us for the meeting to show the range of opposition to the new law. Choudry promises to discuss the issue with Rep. Franks ASAP.
4 p.m. - Meeting with senior staff for Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) to discuss asbestos legislation. For several weeks, AED has been supporting efforts by the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) to ensure that a bill Sen. Murray is drafting to ban the use of asbestos doesn't misclassify harmless, common rocks ("non-asbestiform minerals"). The consequences of misclassification would be enormous: quarries could be forced to close, building materials could cease to be available in some places, and property values in regions where certain minerals are common could plummet. Murray is unable to make the meeting (last minute scheduling changes are par for the course on Capitol Hill), but we discuss our concerns with her chief of staff and the senior staffer on the subcommittee she chairs. Afterward, we have a quick coalition meeting in the hallway outside Murray's office to coordinate outreach to other key senators and discuss next steps. We seem to be making progress.
With a few phone calls and e-mails still to respond to, we near the end of another busy day, but one that demonstrates as well as any other how AED's Washington team works - both independently and with industry partners - on a broad range of issues that affect markets for your products and your costs of doing business.
Now let's see what's on the calendar for tomorrow...
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