1. House Holds Hearing on the Effects of Tax Reform on Energy Sector
On June 20, 2018, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), held a hearing, titled “The Benefits of Tax Reform on the Energy Sector and Consumers”.
NECA’s Look Ahead: This hearing highlighted the important results of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for consumers. During the hearing, Chairman Upton and Republican members argued that families and businesses are paying lower utility rates for electricity, gas and water service as the utilities pass the benefits of the recent tax cuts through to consumers. During the course of the hearing the Chairman said that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is also acting to ensure that tax savings benefitting electric transmission and natural gas pipeline companies are also passed on to consumers. This hearing is the first political hearing for the committee as members prepare for the November elections. NECA will continue to advocate for comprehensive energy reform and urge members to take up the issue in the lame duck session.
2. House Takes Action on Opioid Crisis
Late last week, the House passed 38 bills all centered around opioids and the crisis that faces our country. These mostly bipartisan bills sought to address the issue over a number of different areas from creating programs at the National Institute of Health to research the issue, to requiring doctors to take into account a patient’s previous substance abuse history prior to prescribing opioids. While the majority of these bills do not directly address the construction industry, our sector faces some of the highest levels of addiction and workplace incidents resulting from opioid use.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Congress intends to vote on an additional 20 or more bills relating to this crisis by the end of this week. NECA will continue to advocate for any and all attempts to mitigate the issue and to remove these drugs that have the potential to plague the construction industry workforce nationwide.
3. DNC Aims to Purge Oil and Gas Related Support
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) adopted a resolution last week that would no longer permit the Committee to accept campaign donations from firms associated with the fossil fuel industry, an initiative aimed to emphasize the Democrats’ stance on environmentalism.
NECA’s Look Ahead: As a result, NECA signed onto a letter with several other organizations urging the DNC to reconsider this resolution in favor of a more balanced statement and policy that recognizes the tremendous contributions that the fossil fuel industry’s businesses and workers make to America’s standard of living, economic well-being and national security.