GA Chapter Exec and Rep. Woodall Discuss Tariffs
Pension reform and the impact of steel tariffs were two topics Ginger Slaick, executive vice president of Georgia-SMACNA, raised when she met with Rep. Rob Woodall (R-7-Ga.). The issues of infrastructure investment and the importance of the Davis-Bacon Act were also discussed.
Rep. Woodall noted that the White House has indicated those concerned with the tariff plan should wait until the end of the third quarter before judging the impact of the tariffs on steel and other products and anticipating necessary modifications or policy changes.
Ms. Slaick explained to Rep. Woodall that the current defined benefit multiemployer system is fragile and needs modernization this year, not in the future and not just for failing plans. She emphasized that another year of inaction will result in fewer employers each year being able to make their ever-increasing contribution requirements putting a secure retirement for millions of active and retired construction craft workers in jeopardy. She also stressed employers need composite plan legislation passed this year as part of the Joint Select Committee actions or on their own. She also warned that Congress must be careful not to impose rules, regulations, or Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premium increases that will do more harm than good.
When discussing infrastructure needs of Georgia and the country, Ms. Slaick emphasized the need for more than Public Private Partnerships (PPPs or P3s). “The government needs to directly fund U.S. infrastructure projects and it is critical that they do it now,” she said. In addition, she reminded Rep. Woodall of SMACNA’s support for prevailing wage law and the need to include Davis-Bacon provisions in any type of innovative financing options, including P3s.
The congressman’s efforts for small business, infrastructure and economic development in the Atlanta area have made SMACNA a longtime supporter. Rep. Woodall serves on the House Committee on Rules, the House Budget Committee, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.