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December 21, 2009
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Charlie McCrudden, ACCA vice president of govenrment relations

A new president, voted in on a platform of change, signaled a significant shift in White House politics this year. With President Obama came strategic appointments of key White House figures, such as Carol Browner, assistant to the president for energy and climate change and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.

Added to the mix were large pieces of legislation introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman and Sen. Max Baucus, among others. Congress didn’t waste any time in proposing new laws dealing with health care, climate change, and multiple other regulatory issues. Still waiting for final votes from the Senate on two of the largest pieces of legislation in 2009 - the American Clean Energy and Security Act, H.R. 2454, and the Affordable Health Care for America Act, H.R. 3962 - congressional members continue to debate the best solutions for the country.

Standing guard in the midst of these legislative issues is Charlie McCrudden, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA’s) vice president of government relations. Having been at his post in Arlington, Va., for the last three years, McCrudden has been monitoring Capitol Hill activities that could potentially affect the HVACR industry. Proposed rules and regulations coming from diverse federal agencies have made his 2009 schedule rather busy, and he is expecting the rulemaking pace to remain the same in the year to come.

“The next year will not see a slow down in the pace of legislation because too much of Congress’ agenda remains unfinished,” McCrudden explained. “Even if certain high-priority bills fail, Congress will want to make major changes in other areas that will have an impact on the small businesses of the HVACR industry.”

On the chance that these high profile bills do not fail, there will be a significant change to the HVACR industry, even if it doesn’t happen until 2010.

“The potential of legislation on global warming and climate change is looming,” explained McCrudden. “It will hit the HVACR industry through an increase in the cost of raw materials, energy, fuel, and its proposed phaseout of HFC refrigerants.”

Beyond health care and climate change, small business reform, taxes, and worker verification all became centerpieces of debate throughout the course of 2009. McCrudden tracked such intricacies informing ACCA’s membership via updates, articles, blogs, charts, graphs, and general knowledge.

“Certainly the increase in the residential energy tax credits proved to be an influence on the industry in the last year,” said McCrudden. “Unfortunately the changes to the qualifying standards created confusion and has limited their beneficial impact.”

Navigating the often confusing waters of the legislative process, he effectively kept contractors in the know as to what a 2,000-page bill would mean to them and their business. Issuing calls to action and filing comments on proposed rules and regulations with the regulatory agencies also topped McCrudden’s list of duties.

With 2009 almost in the record books, mass speculation breeds uncertainty in the 2010 legislative arena. One thing is for certain, McCrudden will continue at his post, faithfully informing the industry of the law changes to come.

Charlie McCrudden (center), vice president of government relations, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) stands with Stan Johnson (left), ACCA chairman, and Rep. Geoff Davis, who offered an amendment to the stimulus bill to increase the energy tax credits to a $5,000 maximum.

Sidebar: 2009 Newsmakers

NAME: Charlie McCrudden

TITLE: Vice president of government relations

COMPANY: Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)

LOCATION: Arlington, Va.

NOTABLE QUOTE: “The potential of legislation on global warming and climate change is looming. It will hit the HVACR industry through an increase in the cost of raw materials, energy, fuel, and its proposed phaseout of HFC refrigerants.”

Publication date: 12/21/2009

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