ARA’s National Legislative Caucus
ARA’s National Legislative Caucus brings ARA leaders to Washington, D.C., to visit, educate and build relationships with their federal representatives in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. New attendees and Caucus veterans alike learn about issues important to ARA at the national level and how to communicate those issues to their state’s representatives in Congress. As one of ARA’s premiere leadership opportunities, this event also is designed to help participants learn how to use those same techniques back at home to educate and influence people at the state level whose decisions affect the bottom line of their businesses every single day. Grassroots advocacy is critical to the success of business in today’s world, and ARA gives its members the tools and know-how to successfully promote their businesses and their industry.
ARA's 2014 National Legislative Caucus
April 1-3, 2014
2013 National Legislative Caucus, April 16 - 18
More than 80 ARA members from throughout the U.S. attended ARA’s 2013 National Legislative Caucus. Three members of Congress addressed the group at various events throughout their time in Washington, D.C., and hundreds of appointments were made with legislators and their staff members.
Those attending Caucus know that in addition to reviewing the materials from ARA , making their own preparations and scheduling appointments, flexibility is key to a successful experience. Attendees may not find out whether they will meet with a member or staff until the very last minute. Meetings may be canceled entirely. As was the case this year, they may end up talking about the very issues on which their member of Congress is preparing to vote.
The Wednesday morning session opened with Rep. Jim Matheson (D-2-Utah), who is the lead cosponsor of H.R. 763 which amends the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and repeals the HIT provision. In addition to offering details about HIT, he stressed that, “This is not about the broader bill. This is about a tax on small businesses that is not equitable and will have a negative effect on your ability to hire and grow your business. You really are providing a service by being here to raise awareness of this bill,” he said.
After additional comments from Amanda Austin, director of federal public policy for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) regarding the HIT issue, Caucus attendees headed to Capitol Hill for afternoon visits with their Senators, House members and their staff.
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-3-La.), lead sponsor of H.R. 763, spoke at Wednesday evening’s ARA Political Action Committee (ARAPAC) reception, where he highlighted the importance of ARA’s activity on the Hill and the issues participants addressed.
Caucus ended with a closing luncheon at The Capitol Hill Club on Thursday, which featured Rep. Dave Camp (R-4-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, as the speaker. He addressed tax reform in general and reiterated the importance of ARA’s presence in Washington, D.C. and at the state level.
Grassroots involvement can take many forms--be creative!
Members were encouraged to take their experience, knowledge and expertise back home to use at the grassroots level. Members were encouraged to tell others what they had seen, experienced and learned at Caucus and to get others involved in advocacy at the state level.
- Plan a state legislative day.
- Organize a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) event at your store for membership to come and learn how they can get their employees and others involved in the upcoming elections.
- Ask a Congressman to come to your meeting or your store to learn about the issues that affect your business day in and day out.
Section 179 expensing: Rental businesses of all sizes are sensitive to changes in the tax code. All rental businesses require significant capitalization, thus provisions that affect depreciation and expensing rules can have a significant impact on capital formation in the equipment rental industry. ARA supports comprehensive tax reform and will continue to work with members of Congress on provisions that will help equipment rental businesses lower their taxes and strengthen their businesses. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has released a discussion draft on tax provisions related to small businesses that would make Section 179 expensing permanent. ARA member requested the support of all legislators for this provision.
Health Insurance Tax (HIT): The HIT, which is a tax mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), would require health insurance companies to pay an annual fee which would then be passed on to those purchasing health insurance. Small businesses, such as equipment rental stores that are not self-insured, would likely end up paying $500 more per employee for health insurance. ARA members urged their elected officials to support a repeal of this provision by cosponsoring H.R. 763/S.B. 603.
Thank you to state associations!
Without the financial support of the state associations, this critical advocacy effort wouldn’t be possible. Therefore, ARA would like to extend sincere thanks to the following ARA state associations for their financial support of caucus, through sponsorship of their members and additional contributions to help offset the cost of the event: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
Take a look at how your friends and colleagues represented the equipment rental industry in Washington, D.C.!
Want to know how YOU can be part of the 2013 ARA National Legislative Caucus experience?
Contact Alysia Ryan (800)334-2177 ext. 271 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Marie Foster (800)334-2177 ext. 254 or email@example.com for more information. Hope to see you next year!
--Your ARA Government Affairs Team