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Legislative victories

During 2016-17, NRCA was active in communicating the views and concerns of our members to policymakers in Washington, D.C. NRCA achieved several important policy victories regarding key issues during the fiscal year, and ROOFPAC, NRCA's political action committee and the voice of the roofing industry in Washington, D.C., was active in the 2016 congressional elections.

In June 2016, NRCA worked with House Republicans to develop a tax reform blueprint that would fundamentally change the tax code by lowering tax rates and promoting pro-growth policies. The proposal reduces the top corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and the top individual rate from 39.6 percent to 33 percent. For pass-through businesses, all active business income would be taxed separately at 25 percent, down from the top rate of 39.6 percent. Other key provisions include full and immediate expensing of tangible property (such as equipment and buildings, including commercial roofs) and intangible assets; allowance of individuals to deduct 50 percent of dividends, capital gains, and interest received from stocks and mutual funds; and repeal of the estate and alternative minimum taxes. NRCA continued meeting with lawmakers throughout 2016-17 in support of comprehensive tax reform that is beneficial to the roofing industry.

During NRCA's Midyear Meetings, ROOFPAC hosted an evening at Chicago's historic Navy Pier. Nearly 100 participants enjoyed great food, drinks and networking with their industry colleagues while celebrating the 100th anniversary of Navy Pier. All proceeds benefited ROOFPAC. Additionally, the Government Relations and PAC Advisory committees met to discuss and establish goals for NRCA's government relations agenda for the new fiscal year.

In September 2016, NRCA scored a legislative victory when the House approved the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587) on a bipartisan vote of 405-5. This legislation would reform and improve career and technical education (CTE) programs operated under the federal Perkins Act by including recommendations from NRCA and allied groups designed to make CTE programs more responsive to employers' workforce-development needs. NRCA believes this legislation will provide new opportunities for roofing contractors to address their future workforce needs through improved CTE programs.

In October 2016, NRCA scored a major victory when the Treasury Department issued its final rule under Section 385 of the tax code aimed at curtailing corporate inversions. The final rule allows the IRS to reclassify certain related-party debt as equity (stock), in whole or in part, for federal income tax purposes in an effort to curtail earning stripping transactions. NRCA aggressively opposed the proposed regulations and undertook numerous efforts to have member concerns addressed in the final rule, which includes nearly all the changes requested.

ROOFPAC was active in support of pro-growth candidates in the 2016 congressional elections, achieving a 90 percent success rate for candidates supported. ROOFPAC's efforts in support of candidates helped retain a pro-business majority in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. ROOFPAC contributions to candidates in the 2015-16 election cycle totaled $345,500 to more than 100 candidates. ROOFPAC raised $410,510 in the 2015-16 election cycle, an increase of 11 percent over the previous election cycle and the second highest two-year total ever.

In November 2016, more than 100 NRCA members and affiliate executives attended NRCA's Fall Meetings at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Chicago. The Government Relations Committee discussed NRCA's advocacy efforts regarding tax issues, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, workforce development and other issues of importance to the roofing industry. Members also enjoyed a reception benefiting ROOFPAC, NRCA's political action committee. Finally, the PAC Advisory Committee met to discuss NRCA's efforts to strengthen and expand ROOFPAC, which is critical to advancing NRCA's message on Capitol Hill.

In January, NRCA launched the NRCA Grassroots Advocacy Network, a new website specifically designed to transform our advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. The new website, roofingadvocacy.nrca.net, is a great addition to the existing tools NRCA uses to advance our government policy objectives. Through this new platform, NRCA members now can quickly and effectively contact their elected officials, share helpful anecdotal stories that can be used in advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill, and share information about relationships members have with their elected officials.

ROOFPAC hosted four events at NRCA's 130th Annual Convention and the International Roofing Expo® (IRE) in Las Vegas to help raise critically needed funds to support pro-growth congressional candidates. More than 110 NRCA members participated in the annual ROOFPAC Golf Tournament. ROOFPAC also held a sporting clays tournament with more than 50 attendees. ROOFPAC held its annual Silent Auction in the NRCA booth at IRE and the ROOFPAC Reception at Skyfall Lounge at the Delano hotel. These events raised more than $52,000 in ROOFPAC funding to directly support the advancement of NRCA's pro-growth policy agenda in Washington, D.C.

With a new administration and Congress in early 2017, NRCA focused on exploring opportunities to delay, modify and/or repeal problematic regulations issued during the past year by OSHA.

In March, NRCA scored a major victory when Congress passed House Joint Resolution 83, a Resolution of Disapproval of an OSHA regulation to extend the statute of limitations on certain recordkeeping citations from six months to five years. NRCA opposed the regulation because of concerns it was unlawful and did nothing to improve workplace safety and worked with congressional allies to repeal the regulation under the terms of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The House and Senate approved H.J. Res. 83 in March, and President Trump signed it into law April 3.

On April 6, OSHA announced a delay of 90 days—from June 23 to Sept. 23—in implementation of the regulation to dramatically reduce the permissible exposure level for silica dust on construction sites. The regulation will require contractors to implement new engineering controls to comply with the stricter limits in some roofing operations and may require workers to use wet cutting methods and respiratory protection. NRCA opposed the regulation because of member concerns that compliance will be infeasible and mandated engineering controls will increase fall hazards for workers. The delay came soon after NRCA and allied groups sent a letter to the acting secretary of labor urging a delay of the effective date given continuing concern that compliance with the regulation is infeasible for contractors.

In March, NRCA worked in support of House Joint Resolution 37, a Resolution of Disapproval to repeal the Department of Labor's Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces regulation under the CRA. NRCA supported the repeal of this regulation, also known as the "Blacklisting Rule," which, if implemented, would have imposed burdensome obligations on many government contractors. NRCA members were concerned the regulation would have increased costs for employers while doing little, if anything, to make workplaces safer or increase worker compensation. H.J. Res. 37 was approved by the House under the CRA, a seldom-used process by which Congress can repeal regulations issued by federal agencies.

NRCA continued working to advance the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA), legislation to reduce future regulatory burdens on employers. This legislation would provide greater accountability and transparency within federal agencies during the development of regulations, thus providing more opportunities to minimize the potential burdens of regulations before they are issued. The House approved the RAA (H.R. 5) in early 2017 and NRCA continued working to develop bipartisan support for the Senate bill (S. 951) so the bill can be sent to President Trump to be signed into law.

In January, President Trump issued two Executive Orders designed to combat illegal immigration, with one focused on strengthening border security and the other on expanding interior enforcement. In February, the Department of Homeland Security issued further direction to agencies implementing the orders. NRCA issued a statement with information about how stepped-up interior enforcement activities may affect employers and employees within the roofing industry. Of particular note, the Executive Order on interior enforcement broadens the class of undocumented individuals considered to be a priority for deportation by federal authorities beyond those of the Obama administration and provides greater discretion to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in enforcing immigration laws. Numerous NRCA members expressed concerns with respect to the potential impact of increased enforcement activities on the roofing industry labor force, and NRCA continues to monitor this issue.

NRCA worked on a bipartisan basis in support of several amendments to appropriations legislation to improve the operation of the H-2B seasonal guest worker program, which is used by NRCA members to fill seasonal job openings when U.S. workers are not available. These amendments are designed to provide relief from burdensome regulations that have made the program more cumbersome for employers to use in a cost-effective manner and to expand the number of visas allowed to be issued annually to keep pace with demand, thus allowing more employers to participate in the program. NRCA and allied organizations were successful in getting the amendments included in appropriations legislation, but the amendments were scaled back in early 2017 because of concerns raised by the Trump administration.

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