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The “Voice of Missouri Business” heard in the U.S. Capitol

June 14, 2019 – This week, a team of business leaders from Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) discussed many important business issues with their representatives in Congress during two days of meetings in Washington, D.C.

Attending the meetings were: Tony Reinhart, Ford Motor Company; Jarah Hauger, Deere & Company; Gail Hinshaw, AIM Board; Dusty Cruise, Missouri Enterprise; Shaun Garrison, Ameren; Rod Reid, Shepherd Hills Factory Outlets; Jim Carter, Emerson; John Frederick, Boeing; and Tom Hall, Orscheln Management Company. Candice Allen of AIM staffed the meetings and Ray McCarty, President and CEO of AIM, helped lead the discussions.

The group reeived a briefing of important federal issues with leadership of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). AIM is the sole designated partner of the NAM in Missouri.

The group was able to meet with all the Missouri delegation members or their staff. In fact, all but three were able to make the meetings work with their calendars and they personally attended the meetings or followed up afterwards. “We attended on a busy day in the Capitol and we greatly appreciate the special effort exhibited by our delegation in meeting with us,” said McCarty.

The group discussed the importance of the Export-Import Bank (including the need to reauthorize the Bank in September), heard an update on the USMCA agreement to replace NAFTA and the Members’ thoughts on the positive and negative impact of tariffs. Letters in support of the Ex-Im Bank were delivered to U.S. Senators Blunt and Hawley.

Transportation was also a topic of discussion. The group gave each Member copies of letters from AIM and the Missouri Transportation and Development Council in support of a potential INFRA Grant to replace the I-70 Rocheport Bridge and expressed concern with FAST Act rescission of funds that could reallocate $200-$250 million in federal funds from Missouri transportation projects to other states. The group pointed out recent bonding authority may provide some necessary matching funds to use more of the federal money that would otherwise be reallocated. Of course, a major topic was long-range funding of transportation infrastructure projects. The group expressed concern with using a “vehicle miles traveled” (VMT) method of highway funding with regard to vehicles using traditional or alternative fuels and discussed limiting that approach to vehicles that solely use electricity, increasing the federal fuel tax, and developing an equivalency formula to ensure users of alternative fuels pay approximately the same amount as users of traditional fuels for the use of the roads.

The group reiterated opposition to allowing agencies to deposit fines and penalties in “slush fund” accounts that may be spent without appropriation authority and the incentive that provides government regulators to issue such fines and penalties. The group supported refiling a bill similar to H.R. 850, the Agency Accountability Act of 2017, that would restore Congressional oversight of such funds. That measure was co-sponsored by many members of the Missouri delegation.

Federal regulations were also a topic of discussion as the leaders expressed support for the repeal of regulations under President Trump. Support was also given for a newly proposed regulation that would strengthen transparency in the regulatory science used to develop regulations. The group expressed concern with EPA Vapor Intrusion and Regional Screening Level guidance and the dangers of issuing guidance that were neither regulations nor law, asking the Congressional delegation to request the repeal of such EPA guidance. Business leaders also discussed conflicting regulations that exemplified the need for Congressional oversight of such regulations.

Finally, the business leaders thanked the delegation for supporting the Tax Cut and Jobs Act and the positive impact the tax cut has had on the economy. The group reminded the delegation of the importance of extending and making permanent all of the income tax provisions, including the higher threshold for estate tax liability.

It was a whirlwind tour over two days and all who attended felt the time was well spent and the visits were effective and enjoyable. Planning will begin for next year’s trip right away and we hope you may join us next year!

Here are some pictures from the trip – thanks again to all the Members of Congress that met with us:

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