Dear Chamber Friend,
We are excited to update you on a few important legislative victories we achieved last week beginning with the passage of H.R. 22, the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.” The FAST Act represents the culmination of years of work by the business community, and would not have been possible without your support and hard work. Please take a moment to reach out and thank your members of the House and Senate that supported this landmark legislation. Click HERE to see how your senators voted, andHERE to see how your member of Congress voted.
First, the FAST Act comes at a critical time when our nation’s infrastructure is in desperate need of rebuilding. It provides a needed five-year reauthorization of the nation’s transportation programs, thus giving states and localities the predictability they need to plan long-term highway and infrastructure projects. Furthermore, it gives Congress time to discuss longer-term solutions for providing consistent funding for the Highway Trust Fund without the looming threat of another short-term extension deadline. We applaud the House and Senate for working together and passing this important legislation.
Second, it revives the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im). For 80 years, Ex-Im has provided vital financing and insurance services to U.S.-based firms that sell to customers abroad. However, the Bank’s authorization was allowed to lapse earlier this year, and we immediately saw how American companies are severely disadvantaged in global markets without its support. Over the course of five months, numerous U.S. exporters lost sales and workers lost jobs to their overseas competitors because they were unable to obtain the services provided by Ex-Im. Now, with overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, Ex-Im will resume its important work and continue to help American companies grow and create jobs.
Finally, the FAST Act includes permit streamlining provisions, which will coordinate and speed up the review and approval of permitting for significant infrastructure and manufacturing projects. Improving the federal permitting process to make our system swift but safe – one of the Chamber’s longstanding regulatory and legislative priorities – is essential for investment, development, and growth of the American economy.
While the FAST Act marks a significant victory for the business community, more is left to do before the end of the year. Congress still must pass an omnibus appropriations bill that keeps the lights on at the federal agencies and avoids a government shutdown, and it must pass a package of the so-called tax extenders. A few provisions within the package of tax extenders that we are hoping Congress makes permanent for American businesses include the Expanded section 179 extension, Small Business Expensing, and the R&D Tax Credit. Moreover, we are hopeful that the package will also include a repeal of the ACA Excise Tax (Cadillac Tax).
Thank you to all who have supported our efforts with this coalition letter, you continued support is much appreciated.
Monique, John and Carolyn
Southwest/South Central Region Office
The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association was named 2013 Chamber of the Year by ACCE!