Legislative Issues

Legislative Issues Overview: 2017

2017 Legislative and Regulatory Agenda 

ASA’s legislative and regulatory initiatives focus on those issues that specifically impact supply chain partners throughout the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, and Piping (PHCP) and industrial Pipe, Valves and Fittings (PVF) industry. Many share the unique qualities that come with being small, independent and family owned businesses from one generation to the next.

Tax Issues

ASA supports policies that enables our members to operate productive, efficient businesses. Congress should keep the tax rates paid by individuals and corporations at similar, low levels. Encouraging manufacturers and small businesses to invest in capital improvements and equipment purchases, and to increase domestic production.

LIFO Repeal: ASA opposes repeal of the last-in, first-out (LIFO) method of accounting for inventory. Repeal will create serious tax liabilities for many wholesalers and manufacturers. LIFO is a measurement tool widely used for accounting; it is not a preference in the tax code.

Border Adjustment Tax (BAT): Businesses cannot simply flip a switch and source materials made exclusively in the United States. A BAT would negatively impact consumers of nearly every single item in our economy, from fruits and seafood to clothing and plumbing equipment that we use every day.

Sales Tax Fairness: ASA supports leveling the playing field between brick-and-mortar businesses like our members and those who sell online-only.

Comprehensive Tax Reform: ASA strongly supports reforms made to both corporate and individual rates and would oppose any effort to do one without the other. Splitting business income and taxing it at significantly different rates would encourage planning to circumvent the higher rates, resulting in wasted resources and lower growth.

Permanent Repeal of the Death Tax: ASA supports full repeal of the death tax, which threatens the transfer of small businesses from one generation to the next.

Encouraging Home-ownership: ASA supports provisions in the tax code that rewards home ownership by retaining the deduction of mortgage interest.

Health Care Reform

Health Insurance Tax (HIT): ASA opposes the HIT, which is levied on participants in the fully-insured market, where 87% of small businesses purchase their health insurance. 95% of small business owners have seen their health plan premiums increase in recent years. Over a decade, 152,000 to 286,000 private sector jobs will be lost as a result of the HIT, 57% of which will come from small businesses.

Association Health Plans: ASA supports association health plans (AHP’s), which would make health insurance more affordable by spreading risk among a much larger group. The plans would also ensure that small businesses would be able to continue to provide health insurance to their employees. 

Ending Excessive Mandates: ASA supports leaving the definition of “small group” with the states, protecting employers with between 50 and 100 workers from the much-higher premium costs and more burdensome mandates seen in the small-group market. ASA also supports defining full-time work as 40 hours rather than 30 hours as redefined in the Affordable Care Act.

Energy, Environment & Water Infrastructure

ASA supports and promotes policies which conserve our nation’s natural resources, protects our environment and advances the restoration of our nation’s water infrastructure.

Water Infrastructure: ASA supports legislation to adequately finance America’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. According to the EPA, CBO, and the GAO, the projected shortfall in clean water infrastructure investment will approach $500 billion over the next two decades.

Increasing our Energy Supply: As a key channel partner in the oil and gas industry, ASA supports the final approval of the Keystone XL pipeline as well as limiting restrictions on hydraulic fracturing. Our members take pride in helping to safely transport gases and liquids to the benefit of the American economy.

WaterSense Partnership: ASA is a partner in EPA’s WaterSense program. A voluntary public-private partnership program, WaterSense seeks to promote water efficiency products through its partners. ASA supports legislation authorizing WaterSense. ASA also supports legislation granting tax credits for use of WaterSense products

Copper Theft Prevention: ASA supports the Metal Theft Prevention Act, requiring the transactions between the sellers of copper and secondary metal recyclers to be documented and for penalties to be assessed for noncompliance.                

Labor Management and Workforce Policy

ASA supports federal policies that allow employers and employees to work together. Most importantly, ASA supports policies that increase investment in training to return craft education to our schools and encourages the next general to join our workforce. 

Increasing Craft Training: ASA supports legislation that invests in the next generation of workers needed to meet the demands in the distribution, construction and plumbing industry. According to ASA's 2015 Labor Study on the Future of our Workforce, by the year 2025, nearly 50,000 employees in the plumbing and PVF distribution will have retired, calling for a critical need to hire and train qualified replacements, which begins with returning craft training to our high schools.

Preserve the Secret Ballot: ASA supports the right of workers to choose whether or not to be represented by a labor organization. The right to vote free of coercion is fundamental to the democratic election process. “Ambush Elections” deny employees’ access to critical information about unions and stripping employers of free speech and due process rights.

Persuader Rule: ASA opposes the DOL's recently enacted "Persuader Rule", which has been halted by a federal judge. The persuader rule significantly broadens the reporting requirements for employers, attorneys, trade associations and other third-party advisers under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act by redefining what is meant by labor relations “advice.”

Blacklisting: ASA opposed the executive order known as “Blacklisting.” If not stopped by the courts, it prevents many federal contractors from winning future federal contracts, discourages qualified businesses from pursuing federal contracts, threaten the stability of millions of Americans and increase costs to taxpayers.

Workplace Health and Safety

ASA recognizes the importance of the health and safety of our employees. We work each day with our member companies to promote safe and responsible policies in the workplace.

OSHA Alliance: From 2009 - 2015, ASA and OSHA had a formal alliance to provide ASA members with information and access to training resources to foster safer and more healthy workplaces. ASA encourages the Trump Administration to pursue such alliances. 

Asbestos Liability: ASA supports legislation bringing a resolution to the asbestos litigation crisis. The long time between the sale of a product and the time of a lawsuit presents issues concerning which company is responsible for sales made decades ago. Many companies are the result of mergers, acquisitions and the sale of assets of former companies. Mergers transfer the liabilities of the merged company to the surviving company, causing significant challenges often unknown to many businesses.

Injury and Illness Reporting: ASA opposes OSHA’s proposal requiring employers to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours, all in-patient hospitalizations and amputations in 24 hours. The uncertainties placed on the employer; during a period when they are addressing employee safety is overly burdensome. ASA also opposes OSHA’s requirement to make injury and illness reports publically available.

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