More than 200 electrical contractors gathered for the NECA 2019 National Legislative Conference this week in Washington, D.C., meeting with over 300 lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle on a range of issues impacting the electrical construction industry.
On the first day, attendees heard from political journalist Amy Walter, who provided an assessment of the current climate in Washington and what to watch for in the 2020 election.
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) then spoke about his work and took questions from contractors. He reiterated that Congress is working hard to come up with an infrastructure package, a possible area where a deal could be struck.
Attendees also heard remarks from NECA’s leadership, including NECA President Larry Beltramo, Government Affairs Committee Chairman Greg Rick, Political Leadership Council Chairman Ted Brady, and NECA CEO David Long.
Day two kicked off with Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) addressing the group. Rep. Velazquez, who chairs the Committee on Small Business in the House of Representatives, focused on areas such as federal contracting and infrastructure investment and the need for a bipartisan approach. Rep. Fitzpatrick said Republicans and Democrats will have to work together on any viable deal, and that should include incentivizing apprenticeships and other opportunities to address the current labor shortage. Rep. Bacon presented NECA contractor Greg Long with a framed copy of the Change Order Transparency for Federal Contractors Act. Long, a longtime NECA member and an electrician since 1979, testified on the change order legislation on behalf of NECA in 2017. “It was such a privilege for me to be able to work with you on this,” Bacon said.
This year in their meetings with legislators, NECA pushed for infrastructure investment; lower individual tax rates and a permanent pass-through deduction; a repeal of the estate tax and the 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” healthcare plans; an authorization of composite plans to modernize the multiemployer pension plan system; the use of 529 education savings plans to finance ancillary apprenticeship costs; and ensuring that small business federal contractors get paid in a timely manner for change orders.
NECA is very grateful to have such dedicated contractors come to Washington to make their voice heard. Thank you for your involvement in the political process and your hard work advancing NECA’s legislative agenda.