Government Affairs Update and Honors for Stan Kolbe

The 118th Congress is now over half over and just seven months of activity remains before the election.

The 118th Congress is now over half over and just seven months of activity remains before the election. Although seemingly endless political debate and issue activity has produced few new bills or laws passed to show for all the tension, dysfunction and inter party warfare, we remain heavily engaged in legislative, political and regulatory activity to build on the progress of the last Congress. 

This includes filing detailed and consequential regulatory comments, as well as increasing policy meetings with the administration to help shape consequential new laws resulting from historic wins in the legislative arena. In addition, we are aggressively advocating and advancing key policy priorities and initiatives as part of our regulatory comments for the new programs funded by the landmark infrastructure, tax and CHIPS and Science laws. Contentious party politics may distract most commentators, but we have identified key legislative opportunities for SMACNA on the Hill agenda for the first half of 2024.

The House GOP majority has nearly disappeared since last year with the Senate majority even closer. Nevertheless, we have focused upon the members working in the middle of the field as they will control the destiny of our key bills and amendments, and those are the members of Congress we are generally closest to and support with our PAC efforts. Fracturing in the House majority along regional and ideological lines actually plays into our issue agenda with reasonable and moderate members of both parties — on both sides of Capitol Hill — eager to address our issues.

As you recall, by agreeing to a SMACNA endorsed spending deal last fall, the government did something it has rarely done this year: enact a bill or resolution. There have been only 14 bills and resolutions that have become law since the start of this Congress last January, prior to this stopgap measure to keep the government open. If that strikes you as a small number even for a dysfunctional House, it is. Since 1973, an average of about 70 bills or resolutions have been enacted through October 1st. Even in a Congress in which the House and presidency are controlled by different parties, this is the fewest in nearly a century

The deeply split and often distracted GOP majority has attempted to repeal many of our gains from the 117th Congress in tax reforms, infrastructure, CHIPS projects and much more. In most cases, we have skillfully battled misguided attempts by bitter partisans to repeal trillions of dollars of construction incentives and infrastructure grants. Without question, our high-level political engagement and legislative strategies have been key to holding key gains and building on them.

Additionally, Stan Kolbe, SMACNA’s Executive Director of Legislative and Political Affairs, was named as one of ACHR’s 2023 Newsmakers by the Air Conditioning Heating Refrigeration (ACHR) News. Kolbe was also named one of The Hill’s top lobbyists in Washington, D.C. for 2023.

In talking about his honors, Kolbe was quick to recognize the work done by all of SMACNA. “Our challenges and hours are often difficult,” he says, “but without us sharing our policy experience and brainpower every day, it would not be possible for SMACNA (and me) to be viewed in such a positive way across the government and business sectors.”