Sheet metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

Archive

Capitol Hill Update: Health care, infrastructure, jobs, and energy top SMACNA's agenda

May 10, 2017

Taxing employer-provided health-care benefits wrong

In a recent letter to the U.S. Senate, SMACNA expressed strong opposition to taxing employer-provided health-care benefits in any form or at any level. The Association also opposed taxing other employer-provided fringe-benefit programs negotiated through collective bargaining.

“We strongly believe that it is time for Congress to act to stop irresponsible employers who do not provide coverage for their workers, from shifting the cost of providing care for uninsured and underinsured workers to employers and employees who forgo wages and profit to secure health-care benefits for individuals and families,” Stanley E. Kolbe Jr., SMACNA director, legislative affairs explained.

Infrastructure investments—key priority

SMACNA expressed enthusiastic support for boosting comprehensive infrastructure investments as a key priority for any tax reform package by ensuring the FY 2018 budget resolution includes the necessary provision to initiate this process. Letters were sent to members of Congress, the U.S. Senate, and Senate leadership.

As the Senate prepares to advance an FY 2018 budget resolution, SMACNA noted, our organization would like to emphasize the importance of infrastructure, specifically the federal transportation investment to growing the U.S. economy and creating skilled jobs. The budget process provides several key opportunities for needed investment to maintain and upgrade the nation’s critical transportation infrastructure network.

Smart manufacturing leadership

"The Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act of 2017," S. 768, supports using supports using high-efficiency manufacturing technologies to improve the global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers. The legislation was introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

SMACNA encourages senators to cosponsor this vital legislation that will help America's manufacturers become more efficient by boosting energy retrofits and offer technical assistance to small- and medium-sized manufacturers. It also will encourage developing a national manufacturing plan with the Department of Energy and offer state leadership grants in smart manufacturing.

Energy savings through public-private partnerships

SMACNA supports "The Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act of 2017," S. 239, because it would help expand both energy efficiency and jobs, if Congress would move to expand the Use of Energy and Utility Saving Performance Contracts both inside and outside of government.

Under the performance contract financing mechanism, private-sector service companies finance and install new energy and water efficient equipment at minimal or no upfront cost to the federal government. Federal agencies repay this investment over time with funds saved on utility costs. The private-sector contractors measure, verify, and guarantee these energy savings.

In 2011, President Obama released a directive tasking federal agencies to issue more than $2 billion worth of performance-based contracting for energy savings over a two-year period.

SMACNA and its allied business efficiency coalitions supported that directive and now support its continuation. SMACNA’s membership from coast to coast urges the administration to extend this program for another five years.

Take action

How can you help the industry? Take action on these bills and more by reaching out to your members of Congress through SMACNA’s Advocacy webpage.

Act now on even more industry topics—find them on SMACNA’s Advocacy webpage under “Letters and Testimony.”