Review of FIA's Lobby Day 2012
This year’s Forging Industry Association’s Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. proved to be a golden opportunity for FIA members from around the country to meet with Senators, Representatives and their staffs and speak out on behalf of the forging industry.
Among the top-priority issues discussed this year were: energy policy, overreach by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the possibility of comprehensive tax reform and the looming crisis in workforce development. Other issues included the impact of defense budget cuts on the forging industry, continuing concerns about healthcare costs and the burdensome cumulative effects of regulations.
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA 3) was the keynote speaker at a dinner for Lobby Day attendees on April 16. The freshman from western Pennsylvania, elected in 2010, has quickly become known as an advocate for fiscal responsibility, reduced regulatory burdens and reining in the size and scope of government. On April 17, following a breakfast briefing on key issues, attendees divided into five teams and fanned out across Capitol Hill to deliver the key messages on FIA’s top-priority issues: energy policy, overreach by the National Labor Relations Board, comprehensive tax reform and workforce development. By day’s end, these FIA volunteers had conducted more than three dozen meetings with members of Congress and their staffs.
One of those teams, made up of FIA’s current, future and past chairmen and its top executive, focused on meetings with Congressional leadership and committee staffs in order to better understand the inner workings of Congress and the committee process. In particular, this team met with staff for the Senate Finance Committee to discuss comprehensive tax reform; the Senate Small Business Committee to inform them of the significant number of small and medium-sized enterprises in the U.S. forging industry; and the House Education and Workforce Committee to hear about the Committee’s efforts to rein in the National Labor Relations Board and to enact comprehensive workforce training legislation. They also met with the House Majority Whip’s Coalitions Director to learn about the priorities of the House Republicans, specifically about how a small-business tax cut might pass the House.
While in Washington, FIA Executive Vice President Roy Hardy attended a dinner with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1), chairman of the House Budget Committee and a recognized expert on the looming fiscal crisis facing the U.S. due to rising debt and budget deficits. Rep. Ryan is very familiar with forging and has visited forging operations in his district.
Lobby Day attendees from Ohio also attended a breakfast with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) on April 18. They spoke personally to the Senator about the forging industry and their concerns.
FIA’s Annual Lobby Day has become an important part of our industry’s ongoing public policy program, and 2012 was no exception. Congressional activity has slowed a bit in recent weeks, and the 2012 election season has begun in earnest. Nonetheless, forgers have made an impression (pun intended) in Washington, and the industry’s ability to understand and influence public policy relating to forging will only grow stronger.