From congressional speakers to Capitol Hill visits, the second day of the spring meeting and legislative conference for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) epitomized the organization’s mission to be the fenestration industry’s voice in Washington.

Republicans Rail Against Regulation

Tuesday began with the Washington Briefing Breakfast, which featured Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) as speakers. Both railed against excessive government regulation.

Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) said the EPA has too many regulations.
Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) said the EPA needs its regulations reformed.

“Washington has a lot of people who think they know what’s best,” said Gardner. “But I came to D.C. knowing that people back home know what’s best for them. Washington, D.C., can kind of go on this regulatory spree. They’re in a vacuum.”

“My message today is this: Regulatory reform, regulatory reform, regulatory reform,” said Marino. “We are inundated with rules and regulations.” Marino added: “The EPA is at the top of my list of an agency that’s not doing what it should be,” which drew applause from attendees.

Gardner also briefly addressed how the legalization of marijuana in Colorado is affecting businesses.(He opposed the law.)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said the EPA has too many regulations.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said marijuana legalization can hurt business.

“I’ve talked to trucking companies that have turned away drivers who failed drug tests,” he said. “Employers have said some very interesting things. They don’t expect workers to bring a six-pack of beer to drink during break, but they have seen employees bring marijuana, whether edible or whatever, to the break room. I hope other states wait, learn and see before they pass similar legislation.”

Gardner also praised organizations like WDMA for what they do to hold politicians accountable.

“Look your policymaker eye to eye and say ‘this tax code isn’t working, this regulation isn’t working.’ When you meet with your member of Congress, it’s important to tell them real-life stories about your business and how federal policy impacts it.That can change the mind of someone who is going to cast a vote.This country, this government, needs your participation. We can’t do our job without people like you.”

WDMA’s Three Policy Goals

Next, WDMA officials held an issues briefing with members.The organization has three key policy goals for the industry—improving energy efficiency, reforming the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule that’s currently enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and improving the federal regulatory process.

In energy efficiency, WDMA wants the Senate to pass the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) Act of 2015. That bill would ensure that green building ratings systems used by federal agencies don’t exclude certain building materials; recognize tenants for excellent energy efficiency under a voluntary program called Tenant Star; and require federal mortgage agencies to account for energy efficiency when appraising and underwriting properties.

The Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, which took effect in April 2010, has not been implemented and enforced properly, according to WDMA, and it puts an excessive financial and regulatory burden on remodelers and homeowners. The organization wants Congress to restore the opt-out provision, which  was removed in 2010. That provision lets homeowners skip testing and expensive precautions if there are no pregnant women or children under the age of 6 in the home. WDMA also wants to suspend testing requirements for homes built after 1960 until a test kit that meets the EPA’s own standard is approved. According to WDMA, current test kits yield a false positive as often as 84 percent of the time.

Finally, WDMA wants to streamline the way federal regulations are enacted. The organization supports the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015, which would require “the most costly of rules to undergo more stringent agency analysis, and would build on established principles of good quality data, sound science, and solid economic analysis that have been embodied in past bipartisan executive orders,” according to a January statement from Bill Kovacs, Senior Vice President for the Environment, Technology, and Regulatory Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Following the issues briefing, WDMA members visited Capitol Hill to meet with individual lawmakers.

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