Last week I once again had the opportunity to attend WDMA’s annual Legislative Conference on Capitol Hill. Each year, I am impressed by the organization and its balanced views and support of our industry at the federal level. This year was no different. It’s always inspiring to see an organization create such a strong voice for all of us when it comes to policies that affect our businesses every day.

For those who were unable to attend, the agenda was again chock-full of opportunities to network, discuss issues and meet with key legislators on important issues. Among the many valuable conversations, here’s a quick view of topics that rose to the top:

  • Labor: With the executive branch examining a range of labor policy issues this year, breakout sessions featured a hard look at opportunities to balance creating a robust workforce without restricting the economic growth of businesses in the U.S. I expect we’ll see and report on this important topic more as the year unfolds.
  • Trade: ln November of 2018, President Trump signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to succeed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). According to WDMA legislative talking points, it was “pleased to see that the new agreement preserves the dispute resolution mechanisms for these countries, which can be used to resolve trade disputes, such as softwood lumber and duties imposed on Canadian imports. ln addition, the intellectual property protections for member countries’ manufacturers provide strong protections from overseas theft.” In short, the WDMA supports passing the USMCA, which will need to go through review and debate in Congress before a vote.
  • Energy Code Development: The DOE has been involved (along with the private sector) in updating International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requirements and can play a role in adoption and enforcement. The sentiment among some in the construction industry is that DOE proposals aren’t always reasonable or cost effective. As such, the WDMA’s stance is that Congress needs to ensure that the DOE more closely follows the federal rule-making process, so that IECC requirements are reasonable, technically feasible and cost effective.

The WDMA notes that “Draft legislation supported by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) includes provisions to help ensure that the DOE’s role is that of a non-partisan technical participant and for their support of the adoption and compliance with state and local energy codes.” This is one to watch.

The View from Here is that the WDMA does an excellent job of advocating on behalf of the Fenestration Industry and selects issues that are actionable, even in today’s political climate. Our industry would not have the strong voice it has on Capitol Hill without WDMA advocating for us. For more on this conference and other opportunities to get involved, visit the WDMA Legislative Conference website.

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