Legislative Issues

ASA Legislative Updates

Below is a list of updated issues and activities related to the full ASA Legislative Agenda.

IMPACT Energy Act

This bill will establish a nonprofit foundation that will engage with the private sector to raise funds that support the creation, development, and commercialization of innovative technologies that address tomorrow’s energy challenges. The foundation would serve as the ideal framework to organize, connect, and lead such a diverse group of partners. This would bridge the gap between DOE and other federal agencies.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure will most likely be a bi-partisan win for the 116th Congress. When thinking about infrastructure, most people think of roads and transportation, but buildings are an important and essential part of infrastructure too. Including what goes into the buildings, such as plumbing and heating and cooling. As the next Congress goes into offices ASA has been meeting with congressional offices to ensure that resilient buildings do not get left when coming to the table for the BIG infrastructure bill that will be coming in 2019.

ASA signed onto a letter sent by The Clean Water Council to House and Senate 116th Congress Leadership, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The letter centered around the need for improvement on underground infrastructure and improved drinking water systems.

Marketplace Fairness- South Dakota v. Wayfair Guidance

This case was a win for brick and mortar businesses. In a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court, states may now charge sales tax to out of state businesses. Even without a physical presence in the state. However, Congress has still not implemented any type of guidance for companies selling out of state. If you are still looking for guidance on this issue, see a state by state chart and analysis of the sales tax rules or contact Catherine Treadwell, J.D., Director of Government Relations at ctreadwell@asa.net.

Tax Reform

As independent, small-and medium-sized businesses, as well as national wholesaler-distributers and manufacturers, members of ASA support tax reform that recognizes the diversity in our economy and the need to encourage growth through a business friendly environment.

On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law by President Trump. This overhauls America’s tax code and delivers huge tax relief to workers, families, and local job creators. However, permanency is still needed.

Tax 2.0

As the end of year closes, Chairman Brady of the Ways and Means Committee is working hard to ensure one more piece of legislation will pass. The Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018 would include several changed in the tax code, such as, tax extenders, technical corrections, retirement savings, and miscellaneous other provisions.

The tax extenders would extend a number of tax provisions that expired in 2017. The biofuel provision would extend to 2021.

The technical corrections clarify that qualified improvement property can be immediately deducted and clarifies an issues with the treatment of net operating losses.

The retirement savings provision has several changes to the administration of retirement accounts, and as they relate to small employers. Individuals will now be able to withdraw up to $7,500 without penalty from retirement accounts for the birth of a child or adoption. Additionally, individuals can contribute to IRS’s past the age of 70.5.

Trade-USMCA

President Trump signed the Unites States Mexica Canada Agreement on November 30, 2018. The agreement is a trilateral trade agreement with the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. The agreement will account for $1.2 Trillion in trade. This modernized agreement is essential part of securing a stronger trade deal for the United States economy and jobs. North American market is the biggest market for U.S. exports in the world. However, Congress still needs to review and ratify the agreement. ASA calls on Congress to act NOW, to review the USMCA before January. Read ASA’s letter of support for President Trump’s negotiation and signing of the USMCA.

Transportation—The Drive Safe Act

Transportation has been a huge issue for ASA members. There are several reasons that transportation issues have effected companies, but the lack of truck drivers available has plagued almost every industry across the U.S. The Drive Safe Act will allow 18-21 year olds to drive intrastate and interstate, with an additional 400 hours of training. This would create more truck driving jobs and help alleviate the pressure and burdens on the PHCP and PVF industry that ASA members are currently facing, pertaining to transportation. The Senate will reintroduce the Drive Safe Act in a few weeks as a bipartisan bill. ASA is part of the Drive Safe Coalition and took the lead in setting up a meeting with Senator Manchin’s (D-WV) office to see if he is interested in being a democrat co-sponsor for the bill. Please check back for updates!

Workforce Development

ASA supports more investment in applied technology training to return craft education to our schools and to encourage the next generation to join our workforce.

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act was signed by President Trump on July 31, 2018. This act reforms and reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which authorizes $1.2 billion for career and technical education in FY 2019, up from $1.1 billion in 2017. Funding for the next five years is authorized to rise modestly, reaching $1.3 billion in FY 2024. The law will take effect on July 1, 2019. This was a step in the right direction for The Administration and Congress. However, it is a long way from being finished.

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