NLBMDA’s Spring Meeting & Legislative Conference kicked off Monday, March 19. The annual event focuses on bringing lumberyard owners and industry service providers to Washington D.C. to raise their collective voice on Capitol Hill.
Day 1 started with a Lumber Dealers Political Action Committee (LuDPAC) Luncheon featuring Chris Stirewalt, Political Editor for Fox News Channel. Following the luncheon, attendees had a chance to sit in on a discussion with Chad Moutray, Chief Economist, from the National Association of Manufacturers, who discussed the overall economic conditions along with challenges companies face in developing workers.
Up next was Dr. Joseph Johnson, Executive Director Federal Regulatory Process Review & Analysis Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs Division for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Joseph discussed the current status of regulatory reform, identified key areas of focus by lawmakers, and explored the possible impact on the industry.
On Tuesday, the day began with the Washington Briefing Breakfast featuring Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Congressman David Young (R-IA).
Ernst, elected in 2014, discussed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act along with the current softwood lumber dispute between the United States and Canada. “The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a monumental moment for our nation,” Ernst said, noting that nearly 4 million Americans received some form of bonus from their employers.
In regards to the softwood lumber agreement, Ernst stated “Negotiations are moving slowly but we believe free and fair trade is very important.” The senator said she has met with President Donald Trump several times to discuss the subject, along with talks about NAFTA.
Rep. David Young (R-Iowa), also elected in 2014, agreed that NAFTA needs to be updated and discussed current Capitol Hill topics including an overload of federal regulations. “We think the federal government is regulating us to death,” Young said. “The government likes to do one size fits all. But New York is not like Iowa and not like Idaho.”
Following the breakfast briefing, attendees had the opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate NLBMDA positions on key issues to members of Congress during the NLBMDA Issues Briefing session. This session was led by NLBMDA’s Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs, Ben Gann and Jeff Keller, Director of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs at the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association.
Conference attendees then went to Capitol Hill and met with lawmakers regarding the softwood lumber dispute between the U.S. and Canada, Innocent Sellers Fairness Act, reform of the EPA Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule, and workforce development. The day was capped off with a reception on Capitol Hill.