Robert Voltmann , President & CEO |Transportation Intermediaries Association
Washington, D.C. has been an interesting place since the President and Congress first moved to the new town in November 1800. I think a time traveler from that era would feel very much at home with the way Washington works (or doesn’t work) today. They would also fully understand how the President and Congress interact.
President George Washington, along with Secretary of War Henry Knox, went to the Senate to seek their advice on a treaty with the Southern Indian tribes. Washington read his paper in the Senate Chamber and the Senate did what the Senate does – they debated the issue and referred it to a committee. Apparently, Washington expected their immediate advice on the matter and left. Ultimately, the Senate consented to the treaty, but neither Washington, nor any president since, has gone directly to the Senate to ask their opinion.
Washington, D.C. has been the brunt of many jokes since 1800; however, nothing can affect your business faster than an adverse law or rulemaking by the federal government. We have a saying in the nation’s capital: “You’re either at the table or you’re on the menu.” It’s essential that small business owners become engaged in their industry associations, meet with their members of Congress, and contribute to industry political action committees. Your elected representatives want to do the right thing and they want to help. But they need to hear from business owners.
Many associations regularly hold Capitol Hill fly-ins to connect members with their respective senators and representatives. In fact, TIA will hold its annual 3PL Policy Forum in Washington, D.C., June 11-12, 2019. It allows TIA members to come together as the collective voice of the 3PL industry and meet with members of Congress and their staffs.
Why don’t you join us? It’s important that Congress hears from individuals like you in their districts. It’s easy: tell them how many people you employ, what your payroll is, and what’s on your mind. TIA’s Government Affairs team will put together briefing packets and coach you through the day. But the most important aspect is just telling your own story of business and employment in their district and state. No matter the size of your company, you’re an important employer in most congressional districts.
An issue everyone in the transportation industry is rallying behind is the need to invest in infrastructure. It’s easy for our elected representatives to say they support spending money to improve our nation’s roads and bridges. The hard part is getting them to commit to funding those projects. The various transportation industry associations are squarely behind raising the fuel tax 5 cents per year for five years and then indexing the tax to inflation so that we don’t get into this mess again.
And by mess I mean we have not raised the fuel tax since 1993. In the words of U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue, “No one in Congress could live on their 1993 paycheck today, and neither can our nation’s roads and bridges.” To get this done, Congress needs to hear from you. Join your colleagues at the 3PL Policy Forum to voice your support for a fuel tax increase for infrastructure. The time to act is now, and your voice deserves to be heard. I hope to see you in Washington, D.C., June 11-12. To register, go to tianet.org.