ABI Goes to Washington, D.C.

November 10, 2017 | Companies put employees first, enhance work life Brad Hartkopf, Coordinator, Public Policy, bhartkopf@iowaabi.org

The Iowa Association of Business and Industry is known for its strong advocacy and public policy work on state-level issues that affect Iowa employers. You may not know, however, that ABI plans a biannual trip to Washington, D.C. This trip allows ABI members to engage with ABI partners and have high-value conversations with Iowa’s federal delegation to discuss ABI member concerns and issues that are vital to their businesses. Several ABI leaders recently returned from a successful fly-in to the nation’s capital, which took place on Oct. 2-4, and this article provides an overview of our D.C. visit.

On Monday we arrived in Washington and traveled downtown to meet with Jim Gerlach, president and CEO of BIPAC. BIPAC is an organization that provides voter education and outreach information to companies and associations throughout the country. Jim gave an update on the state of federal affairs including an analysis of where congressional and Senate races stand across the country right now going into the midterm elections. Stephanie Groen, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ state-federal relations director, updated members on issues closer to home including Iowa’s individual health insurance marketplace, workforce efforts such as STEM and apprenticeships, water quality, the Renewable Fuel Standard and the Water of the Unites States rule (WOTUS).

On Tuesday ABI members had coffee and doughnuts with Congressmen David Young and Dave Loebsack before traveling to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Top policy experts in tax, trade and infrastructure provided an in-depth, thorough analysis of where Congress stands concerning those incredibly important topics. Following NAM, ABI members headed to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for a briefing with the White House Office of Political Affairs. We listened to the deputy assistant secretary for tax and budget in the Department of Treasury discuss tax reform at a very detailed level. Our first meeting of the afternoon was with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where members heard from leading experts in the fields of education, workforce, health care and trade.

The second day concluded with conversations with Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst. Both senators indicated their support for comprehensive tax reform, which will help allow Iowa businesses to be globally competitive. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also presented Sen. Ernst with a “Spirit of Enterprise” award during our visit to recognize her strong support of pro-business legislation.

The last day of ABI’s fly-in included visits with the entire congressional delegation. Members engaged in dialogue with the delegation about issues including tax reform, trade, workforce, health care and infrastructure. As a member of the ABI public policy team who had the opportunity to visit Washington representing members, I’m grateful to the members who took time out of their busy schedules to join the trip and advocate on behalf of all Iowa job creators for policies that will keep Iowa competitive. It’s clear that Iowa’s congressional delegation listens to ABI members. If you are interested in learning more about ABI’s position on federal issues or specific policies we talked about while in Washington, or are interested in joining the next Washington, D.C. fly-in, please contact me at 515-235-0576.