October 2012

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Page 29 of 67

Cutting Through the Campaign Noise How the 112th Congress voted on AED's biggest legislative issues BY JOSH PUDNOS As Election Day approaches, the American public is increasingly forced to digest uninspiring campaign rhetoric, hyperbolic accusations, and politi- cal mudslinging. Add to the mix the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by outside groups and Super PACs and it can be all too easy to forget the most important question to ask on Nov. 6: Do I approve of the way my lawmakers are voting on the House and Senate floor? There is added complexity for U.S.-based AED members. You are supposed to make your selection not only as a citizen doing his or her public duty but also as owners, executives, and employees of small and medium-size businesses. While your ballot should represent what is best for your family, it must also embody the smartest decision for your employees, your company, and the economic environment for the coming years. For better or worse, members of the 112th Congress cast votes with myriad distinctive considerations. Perhaps your member voted "aye" on a bill despite an unfavorable environmental provision, or voted "nay" on largely beneficial legislation because it would set back a particular industry important to their district. Collectively, however, your lawmakers' voting record paints a portrait of where they stand on each issue and how they can be expected to vote in the 113th Congress and beyond. AED has carefully selected the 10 House and Senate votes most important to the equipment industry to help you answer that all-important question: How are my elected repre- sentatives voting on issues that matter to my industry? The 112th Congress: A Quick Glance Following the 2010 elections, the country was as polarized as ever. The 112th Congress reflected the national mood and proved to be one of the most divisive and hyperpartisan to date. Gone were the days of moderates and 28 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | October 2012 compromise. Also absent were the controversial earmarks that enabled critical legislation, particularly public works bills, to slide through without much objection. When the dust settled in November 2010, Republicans unseated more than 20 Blue Dog Democrats (members with some of the best AED Vote Chart scores in the past). Cleansed of their moderate members, Democrats in Congress were more left-leaning than prior years, and they made it clear they were going to fight to protect Presi- dent Obama's signature healthcare law, defend policies favoring strict environ- mental rules, support efforts making it easier to unionize, and attempt to make the "rich" pay more in taxes. While the GOP shaved the Demo- crats' margin in the Senate to six and recaptured the House 241 to 191, the fundamental, rightward shift in the Republican Party set the tone for the 112th Congress. A quarter of House Republicans identified with the Tea Party, (continued on page 30)

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