NEWS from the AED: Equipment Industry Says WRDA, Workforce Are Must-Do Priorities for Returning Congress

Sept. 8, 2016

WASHINGTON – As Congress returns to Washington, D.C. following the August recess, Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) has called on lawmakers to finish the job on two of the construction equipment industry’s top policy priorities: Carl D. Perkins Act reauthorization legislation and a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

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In a Sept. 7 letter to congressional leadership, AED’s President & CEO Brian McGuire acknowledged the limited days left in the legislative calendar, but encouraged lawmakers to address the nation’s skilled worker shortage and invest in Army Corps of Engineers projects, such as building, maintaining and improving harbors, dams, locks and navigation channels.

Highlighting the results of a recent AED Foundation-commissioned study by researchers at the College of William & Mary, which found the technician shortage is costing equipment dealers approximately $2.4 billion each year in lost revenue and economic opportunity, McGuire urged both chambers to finish work in 2016 to reauthorize, reform and modernize the outdated Carl D. Perkins Act. AED has endorsed the bipartisan House Education & the Workforce Committee-approved Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587) as a great step toward tackling the country’s technical education crisis.

Additionally, McGuire reminded lawmakers that enacting a WRDA bill this year will create jobs, spur economic growth and support American competitiveness. A 2012 AED-commissioned study by researchers at the College of William & Mary found that every one dollar invested in “conservation and development structures” (such as those supported by WRDA) leads to $10.59 in economic output (GDP) and generates $3.18 in tax revenues, including $2.12 for the federal government and $1.06 for state and local entities over a twenty-year period.

McGuire and AED’s Senior Vice President Diane Benck of West Side Tractor Sales Co. hand-delivered the letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan during a meeting in Milwaukee on Sept. 1.

“Congress’s work for the year isn’t over,” McGuire told Ryan. “To place the economy and the construction sector on solid footing for many years, we strongly urge you to make the most of the waning legislative days left in this session and enact Perkins Act reauthorization legislation and a WRDA bill in 2016.”