By Staff Writer, PHCC-National Association
During PHCC’s Legislative Conference held May 7-8, 2019, a very focused and energetic group of professional PHCC contractors, association executives and industry partners took to Capitol Hill to advocate for PHCC members before Congressional members to ensure:
- legislation is passed to address America’s infrastructure needs, especially water system upgrades;
- a regulatory environment that promotes fair competition; and
- affordable health care access for small businesses through Association Health Plans.
PHCC President Ken Nielsen kicked off the event by telling the more than 110 registrants that, “I am pleased to report that PHCC continues to position itself as THE voice of the p-h-c industry. PHCC’s continued commitment to protecting the interests of our members, our industry and health and safety of the nation is critical.”
Conference attendees were treated to a presentation on the current political climate by keynote speaker Carl Cannon, Washington Bureau Chief of RealClearPolitics and Executive Editor of RealClear Media Group, who underscored the importance of grassroots involvement as part of an effective advocacy campaign.
During an issue briefing prior to departing for meetings on Capitol Hill, PHCC members were armed with information about how Association Health Plans will improve health care access and affordability for small businesses and families. PHCC, which has been pursuing the formation of an AHP, supports solutions offered in S.1170 in the Senate sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and HR.2294 in the House sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI). “These companion bills would allow contractors who would otherwise be prohibited under the ruling in N.Y.et al vs. U.S. Department of Labor to participate in an AHP,” Nielsen said. “The ability for small businesses and self-employed tradespeople to have a variety of healthcare options from which to choose ensures a competitive healthcare marketplace that keeps costs low.”
The briefing also focused on other key issues, including unfair utility competition. PHCC supports a regulatory environment that promotes fair competition by requiring total separation between a publicly- or investor-owned utility and their related affiliates, and prohibiting the use of ratepayer funds or any other anti-competitive advantage gained as a government sanctioned monopoly to enter a marketplace outside of the provision of utilities. “Taking these steps will ensure a fair and competitive marketplace for the thousands of small and family-owned businesses we represent,” Nielsen said.
At the PHCC Congressional Reception in the U.S. Capitol, lawmakers including Reps. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Jim Langevin (D-RI) and David Schweikert (R-AZ) encouraged PHCC attendees by stating that infrastructure spending is the one issue on which Republicans and Democrats can agree. In a May 14 speech to road construction stakeholders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told industry stakeholders “I’m confident that it will happen.” Her sentiment echoes comments made by President Trump during his Feb. 5 State of the Union: “I know that the Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill, and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment…This is not an option. This is a necessity.” PHCC will meet again with White House officials to follow-up on discussions about PHCC members’ role in rebuilding America’s infrastructure..
Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), the featured speaker at the PHCC Congressional Breakfast on May 8, shared his regional approach in Long Island to address workforce shortages. “We need plumbers, electricians, welders, computer machinists…People have to get the skills to meet demand,” he said. A bipartisan proposal to include career and technical education funding in a potential infrastructure package lists Rep. Suozzi as an original co-signer, and enjoys the support of PHCC.
PHCC’s next advocacy event will be an education session at CONNECT 2019 featuring legislative and regulatory updates on key issues from PHCC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chuck White and Director of Legislative Affairs Mark Valentini.
The 2020 PHCC Legislative Conference is scheduled for May 26-27, 2020, on Capitol Hill. Visit www.phccweb.org for the latest updates.
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The PHCC National Association, formed in 1883, provides legislative advocacy, education and training to approximately 3,600 plumbing and HVACR businesses who employee roughly 65,000 technicians. Members of PHCC have access to a wide variety of services designed to increase their professionalism, grow their business and improve profitability.