FALLS CHURCH, Va. — The 2017 Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) Legislative Conference, held June 13-14 in Washington, District of Columbia, brought contractors and association executives from across the country together to convey a unified message of the need for tax reform, workforce development (reauthorization of Carl D. Perkins Act), and Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) reform.

Setting the stage at the opening session, Patrick Wallner, president, PHCC, stated, “These are extraordinary times in Washington, D.C., as well as for our entire nation. Lawmakers are faced with difficult challenges on a number of national issues impacting all of us.”

Wallner reminded attendees that while PHCC leadership can lobby Washington regarding general issues, grassroots involvement by members is essential to making a difference at home. 

During the opening session, Sofie Miller, senior policy analyst at George Washington’s University Regulatory Studies Center, shared statistics on how a spike in energy-efficiency standards enacted over the past several years, including those affecting energy-efficient appliances and light trucks/tractors, has resulted in increased costs and little return on investment rather than benefits for consumers and businesses.

“It may be time to reform the Energy Policy & Conservation Act of 1975. As for predictions of what’s ahead,” she said.

Miller anticipates congressional action on the Regulatory Accountability Act and a re-opened review of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards on light trucks/tractors.

Following Miller’s presentation, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor and columnist at RealClearPolitics, provided an insider’s view of the current political climate in Washington, particularly with regard to tax reform.

“Congressional republicans have a challenging path to tax reform this year but feel a great sense of urgency to accomplish it as soon as possible,” said Stoddard. “Until and unless they decide to craft bipartisan tax legislation with democrats, republicans have a very steep path ahead.”

One of the highlights of this year’s conference was a congressional reception at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Several members of congress attended the reception and spoke passionately about the need for workforce education, additional funding for the Carl D. Perkins Act, and the importance of tax reform.

At the congressional breakfast, Rep. Kurt Schraeder, D-Ore., and Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., gave their perspectives about critical issues directly impacting PHCC’s members.

“There is a big interest right now [about career and technical education] on Capitol Hill,” said Rep. Schraeder. “You picked a great time to come here.” Rep. Shimkus agreed, stating, “Workforce development is key to the future of our country.”

PHCC of Louisiana member and past national president (2011-2012) Keith Bienvenu was scheduled to meet with shooting victim Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., that day and was interviewed by WUSA9 in Scalise’s congressional office.

“We are so proud of how PHCC members kept focused on their advocacy roles at the conference while also showing compassion as Americans,” said Wallner. “They truly displayed professionalism despite difficult circumstances. We look forward to continuing to work with the 115th Congress, and I am pleased that our efforts are making an impact in Washington D.C.”

For more information, visit www.phccweb.org.

Publication date: 6/27/2017

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