Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/396232
October 2014 | Construction Equipment Distribution | www.cedmag.com | 29 Election (continued on page 30) executives, and employees of small and medium-sized businesses. Your ballot should represent not only what is best for your family, but also reflect what's at stake for your company, your industry, and the economic future for our nation. This article designed to help you answer one important question: When my economic prosperity and that of my employees was at stake, how did my elected representatives vote? AED carefully selected the most important House and Senate votes for our industry and produced the following report card. The 113th Congress: How We Got Here The 2012 presidential election resulted in minimal change to the national political landscape. Democrats main- tained control of the White House and Senate, while the GOP held its House majority. During the last two years, both parties continued to butt heads over executive authority, the implementation of Obamacare, and the size of the federal government while straining to internally manage the more radical factions within their own ranks. AED's legislative priorities were clear – restore certainty to the federal highway program by reauthorizing and fully funding surface transporta- tion investments; bring simplicity and certainty to the tax code; reinstate important capital investment incen- tives; keep the energy boom on track; and reduce the regulatory burden on the economy. Unfortunately, the political climate wasn't ripe for productive legislating. The fight over the Affordable Care Act took lawmakers to – and over – the brink. Locked in arguments about the implementation of the president's signature health care law and unable to pass a funding bill by the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1, Wash- ington watched as the federal govern- ment entered a 16-day shutdown. The third longest in the nation's history, the closure sent hundreds of thousands of government workers home and ceased all but the most essential operations. Even after the government returned to work – first through a continuing resolution and finally a long-term budget compromise – the die had been cast. The partisan tone on Capitol Hill had become dour enough to drive Congress over self-made cliffs and chasms by choosing short-term fixes, patches and delays over lasting, responsible solutions. Though there has been disap- pointment on big issues and despite much contention, hardline rhetoric and a well-earned reputation as a "do nothing" Congress, lawmakers were able to vote "yes" enough times to move some important bills down Pennsylvania Avenue for the presi- dent's signature, including prevent- ing the near-term collapse of the federal highway program, port and waterways investment, and workforce development program modernization. As you consider how to vote in November, review the records of your lawmakers on the construction equip- ment industry's key issues. Make sure that both you and your employees are making educated decisions to shape the next Congress. How We Picked 'Em AED's key votes (and all the asso- ciation's policy priorities) focus on proposals that lower equipment distributors' cost of doing business, expand markets for equipment, and restore certainty and growth to the broader economy. Consequently, AED supported legislation to invest in our nation's highway and water infrastructure. AED also called on Congress to take action on issues that had been in political limbo for far too long. We have highlighted votes to permit the Keystone XL pipeline project, eliminate the estate tax, and make permanent expiring provisions of the tax code that stimulate capital investment. An Informed Decision The vote charts that follow are an objective measure of how lawmakers voted on issues important to the equipment industry and are a small fraction of their overall voting record. The charts do not include other factors you should consider when casting your ballot in the upcoming election, such as a candidate's char- acter, professional qualifications, or positions on other issues that matter to you personally. AED's voting record analysis should neither be read as an endorsement of any candidate, nor as a statement of opposition to a lawmaker's re-election. As you analyze this information, it is important to remember that legisla- tion is rarely ever simple or straightfor- ward. While a bill may contain impor- tant provisions for the equipment industry, unrelated issues can cause a member to vote no. Finally, remember that not all members served the entirety of the 113th Congress. In these circumstances, their vote totals may be skewed because they cast fewer votes than their colleagues. This chart provides a quick refer- ence to allow you to see where your elected officials stood on issues that affect your markets and cost of doing business. When you encounter candidates on the campaign trail, use this information as a starting point for a conversation with incumbents about why they voted as they did and to inquire of challengers how they would have voted had they been in office. When you reach the ballot box or step into the voting booth, remember how they've represented your interests and consider how you want to be repre- sented in the years to come. BRETT LEVANTO is AED's senior manager of Government Affairs.