2019 State of the Union Analysis

February 12, 2019
By Mark Riso, Vice President of Legislative Affairs

In his second State of the Union (SOTU) on Feb. 5, President Trump called for compromise and national unity–on his terms–as he addressed a joint session of Congress. In the 82-minute speech, the president touched on many economic and social issues that are common to all SOTUs.  The President talked about:

  •             tax reform
  •             deregulation
  •             infrastructure spending
  •             immigration
  •             foreign policy
  •             among others….

However, most Americans watching the speech wanted to hear about how President Trump would approach the issues of immigration (the “wall”), and the recent government shutdown.  In that regard, President Trump didn’t disappoint. He indicated he would not back down on his position on border security, stating that “ “walls work and walls save lives,” and “I will get it built.”

Of significance to PHCC…

Infrastructure Spending

President Trump again stated that part of the Administration’s focus will be on infrastructure spending….though he did not specifically detail which aspects of infrastructure spending.  Typically, the issue of infrastructure on Capitol Hill identifies with the development or maintenance of highways, bridges, and roads. However, PHCC (with our allied organizations) have been educating Capitol Hill on infrastructure pertaining to water systems (by the way, great job to the members of PHCC!).   The members of PHCC should understand how their work on educating Capitol Hill on water spending resulted in increased funding for low-interest loans to municipalities who are looking to rebuild their water systems (a federal program called the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act). PHCC will again push Congress at this year’s Legislative Conference May 7-8 and we will continue to educate Members of Congress on this important issue.


President Trump also spoke of the Administration’s continued fight against overly burdensome regulation, which are typically a derivative of a bureaucracy. Two years ago, the Administration (by way of an Executive Order) announced that there would be a focus on cutting back two existing regulations for every new one created.  The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors—National Association has applauded this initiative. We have, as an industry, as an association, and as those who protect the health and safety of a nation, benefitted from the President’s Executive Order.

All in all, the President’s SOTU was an important communication to the American people and to Members of the House and Senate.  The issue of immigration reform and the building of the “Wall” will continue to be debated on Capitol Hill.

Vice President of Legislative Affairs
, PHCC-National Association
Mark Riso is the Vice President of Legislative Affairs for PHCC—National Association. He combines more than three decades of experience in politics with the grassroots efforts of PHCC chapters to represent the p-h-c industry on Capitol Hill.

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