On April 18 and 19, members of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) met in Washington, D.C. for its annual Spring Meeting and Legislative Conference. Attendees enjoyed the hotel, speakers and great weather during their visit to the nation’s capital, which was highlighted by their visits with lawmakers on issues of importance to the lumber and building material industry.
After a morning of NLBMDA committee meetings on April 18, attendees heard political analysis from Michael Steele, the former Maryland Lt. Governor who served as Republican National Committee Chairman from 2009 to 2011. Steele said voters were fed up with both political parties and that it was a partial explanation for the success of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in their campaigns to win the Republican and Democrat presidential nominations, respectively.
NLBMDA concluded its business in the afternoon of the first day and then held an early-evening reception and silent auction at the Renaissance Dupont Hotel. The event was well attended and proceeds from the silent auction benefited the political activities of NLBMDA.
Bright and early the next morning during the Washington Briefing Breakfast, featured speakers Sen. John Barrasso (RWY) and Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) thanked those who had made the trip to the Beltway.
In a wide-ranging speech, Sen. Barrasso discussed lessons he learned from his parents, why being politically active is important as citizens and the need to retain Republican control of the Senate. He also took questions from the audience and expressed uncertainty over how the Republican nomination would ultimately be decided.
Rep. Tipton then spoke about his 30 years of experience as a small business owner and how excessive regulations are hurting the economy. He highlighted the need for regulatory reform and opening up federal forests to advance healthy forest management and prevent wildfire.
Before going to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers, dealers were briefed one last time on the issues that included health care reform, regulatory reform and legal reform. On health care reform, dealers advocated for repeal of the health insurance tax (HIT). The Jobs and Premium Protection Act (H.R. 928, S. 183) introduced in both the House and Senate would permanently repeal the HIT on fully-insured health care plans, which are usually offered by small business—such as lumber dealers—that provide health care coverage to their employees.