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McCarty recounts successful trip to Washington D.C.

Our elected representatives in Congress are giving away too much authority, with no way to get it back.

That’s the central message brought to Washington D.C. by the leadership of Associated Industries of Missouri during its annual trip to Capitol Hill.

AIM president Ray McCarty says his group brought a long list of concerns to lawmakers on June 19 and 20. But making progress on those concerns relies on a strong legislative branch. McCarty says government bureaucrats have too much power without an appropriate check from the legislative branch.

“Congress has in essence abdicated its authority to executive agencies by divesting themselves of the power to set the regulations on a number of important programs such as the health care law and environmental regulations,” said McCarty in an interview earlier this week.

In the past, Congress has held the final say on unpopular bureaucratic regulations by withholding funds from the unpopular programs. But that’s not possible any more in Washington D.C. where continuing resolutions have replaced federal budgets for much of the past five years.

“We explained to each of the congressional members we met with that they will be blamed for decisions that are made by these executive agencies, and yet they have no real power over them,” said McCarty. “Some of them believed they maintained control through the appropriations process, but in the current environment, they do not.”

The group placed forward its concerns about the deep cuts being felt by the state’s defense contractors and sub-contractors due to federal sequestration. They also highlighted recent unreasonable EPA coal regulations that will drive up the cost of electricity for all Missouri consumers, including business and industrial consumers.

Other issues discussed by AIM with legislators:

  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. They also inquired about whether Medicaid expansion is necessary 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.

The group met with all eight members of the Missouri congressional delegation in the House of Representatives, and with Senator Blunt and a member of Senator Claire McCaskill’s staff.

McCarty says he hopes the group opened some eyes on Capitol Hill about the importance of passing a federal budget.

“If there was a take-away from the meetings, that may have been it,” said McCarty. “We brought to their attention that they have given away a lot of authority to the bureaucrats. Thinking they still have control through the appropriations process is a pipedream because they’re not approving federal budgets.”

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