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  • Writer's pictureAIM Team

AIM board members take issues to Capitol Hill

Associated Industries of Missouri president Ray McCarty headed a group of business leaders as they made their annual visit to Capitol Hill this week. Leaders in the Missouri healthcare, retail, utility, manufacturing and mining industries were in attendance.  Attendees included small and large Missouri employers.

All the way from sequestration’s impact on Missouri business to President Obama’s appointees to the Export-Import Bank board of directors, AIM board members made an impact while visiting the state’s congressional delegation.

“This is an annual trip that AIM board members make to our nation’s capital to weigh in on issues at the federal level that are important to all Missouri businesses,” said McCarty.

The touring group worked with a list of at least nine concerns they have with federal policies that affect the way Missouri employers do business. One of the main topics of conversation was the way budget sequestration is hitting the state’s vital defense contractors and sub-contractors. McCarty says the arbitrary system of allowing deep cuts is affecting vital programs.

“You can’t just say that you’re going to cut the budget, then come up with these crazy cuts that nobody wanted to happen and then say, well, since we can’t find agreement, they have to go into effect,” said McCarty. “The administration needs to work with Congress to address spending in a responsible way, rather than just allowing these draconian cuts to go into effect.”

The group also made sure the state’s congressional delegation understood that the EPA New Source Performance Standards Regulation makes the use of coal for electricity generation virtually impossible and threatens Missouri’s low utility rates.

Other topics included:

  1. Obamacare’s impact on employers. Especially those close to the 50 FTE threshold. Obamacare would also give power to the Independent Payment Advisory Board to reduce provider reimbursement rates, and elected officials have little oversight over bureaucratic rule writing authority.

  2. Medicaid expansion’s impact on healthcare providers. AIM members are concerned about the loss of disproportionate share (DSH) funds that currently help offset the costs to hospitals for uncompensated care. The group also wants to find out whether it’s necessary to expand Medicaid in order to be able to use waivers that would transform the system and make it more efficient.

  3. AIM opposes mandatory rebates in the Medicare Part D program that could raise the costs of drug plans for private employers and Medicaid beneficiaries.

  4. The OSHA Letter Ruling on walk-around representatives, which allows union representatives and other non-employees to participate in OSHA walk-around inspections at non-union facilities.

  5. India’s lack of intellectual property protection.

  6. The Marketplace Fairness Act. AIM believes the final version must eliminate unfair competitive advantage without unduly burdening internet retailers.

  7. The Senate must confirm the appointees to the Export-Import Bank Board. The bank is important for Missouri exporters.

McCarty says most of the problems with federal programs and their interaction with Missouri employers arise because Washington bureaucrats are given too much power to affect policies that ultimately wind up being a detriment to business.

“We would rather elected officials take control and make decisions on important topics rather than punting to the administration and allowing them to do everything by rule,” said McCarty.

The group traveling to Washington from Missouri may be small, but it is mighty. McCarty says the Associated Industries trip has a history of leading to legislative change.

“Even though we’re not lobbying, we are visiting our congressional representatives as constituents and letting them know in a general way what impacts they could have on employers in Missouri.”

Watch here as Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo. 2) speaks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives about the overreach of the federal government and its detriment to U.S. businesses.



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