WASHINGTON - Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) recently concluded its third Congressional fly-in, May 18-19, again in cooperation with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Over 50 HARDI distributor and supplier members met in Washington, D.C., to hold a record-setting 161 meetings with legislators’ offices in eight hours.

This year’s event kicked off with an energy-efficiency panel featuring David Calabrese, senior vice president of government affairs for the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI); Steven Nadel, president of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE); and Deborah Estes, senior counsel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. This policy discussion was followed by an Energy Star panel featuring Abigail Daken, product labeling; Ted Leopkey, quality installation; Chandler Von Shrader, Home Performance with Energy Star; and Sam Rashkin, Energy Star New Homes.

Attendees then participated in a thorough lobbying day orientation session led by advocacy guru Stephanie Vance. She was followed by an extensive issue briefing, which included the latest intelligence from the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors’ (NAW) senior vice president of government relations, Jade West. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson then provided political insights as the evening’s keynote speaker.

On the second day of the fly-in, attendees had breakfast with Representatives Geoff Davis, R-Ky.; Jason Altmire, D-Pa.; Leonard Lance, R-N.J.; and Wally Herger, R-Calif. The representatives discussed key small business issues and thanked members for making their voices heard and being active participants in the political process.

Then attendees headed off to Capitol Hill for 161 meetings with House and Senate offices. In their meetings, HARDI members advocated for an extension of the 25(c) residential tax credits, passage of HVAC contractor-friendly Home Star and commercial-focused Building Star bills, correction in the depreciation period for HVACR equipment, long-term estate tax relief, continued opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, and support for the Last In, First Out (LIFO) accounting method. In some meetings, HARDI members also outlined how detrimental a Value Added Tax (VAT) would be to the economy, and especially to wholesale distributors.

Publication date:06/21/2010