The Business Council of Alabama on Thursday endorsed U.S. Rep. Martha Roby in her 2016 reelection bid.
Roby was endorsed at the headquarters of Coleman World Group in Midland City by company President and CEO Jeffrey F. Coleman, and BCA President and CEO William Canary. Coleman is the BCA’s First Vice Chairman and will assume the chairmanship of the BCA in 2017.
Coleman lauded Roby’s support for national defense and for her business support in Congress. One of two BCA exclusive partners in Alabama, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Roby is a free-enterprise champion.
“The reason we embrace her is because of her integrity, honesty, and her drive and her passion,” Canary said. “She has another strength that you don’t often see in elected officials and that’s courage, courage in an elected official to do what’s right even if it costs him or her the next election.
“I am proud to call Martha my representative in Congress, I am equally as proud to call her my friend,” Canary said.
Roby was appreciative for the endorsement.
“Politics is about relationships,” she said. “It’s these relationships that allow for me to move forward with courage. Everyone knows the BCA is the state’s premier advocate for industry and business. It matters because they represent jobs. When the BCA goes to bat for its membership it also goes to bat for your jobs and the people who count on those jobs to support their families.”
Roby, R-Montgomery, represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District that encompasses Southeast Alabama from two counties north of Montgomery to Dothan and the Wiregrass to west of Evergreen. The district includes major U.S. military bases that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Alabama’s economy – Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base and the U.S. Army’s Fort Rucker.
Washington, D.C., Roby said, “too often gets in the way” of business progress with its policies and politics. “Bad policies make it difficult enough to create jobs but when politics get in the way, it’s a real challenge,” Roby said.
Roby said the last seven years have seen too many regulations from federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Labor Department, policies that have created a regulatory state, which acts like an unchecked fourth branch of government.
“These are government agencies that turn out rule after rule and regulation after regulation that tie up employers in red tape,” she said. “It makes it difficult for businesses to be productive and to support jobs or create new jobs.”
Roby supported the recent federal highway bill that will improve the state’s vital local, state, and federal transportation systems.
“It’s a great bill and delivers much-needed road funding and it modernizes our transportation policy,” Roby said. “I’m committed to that bill and your tax dollars that are sent to Washington coming back to Alabama.”
She said some tried to defeat the bill by telling Republicans that it didn’t go far enough and by threatening members with a bad conservative grade on report cards.
“Some say they could have voted against that bill in the name of political purity,” Roby said. “I’ll let them explain that.”
Roby told Coleman World Group employees that she works for policies that affect their jobs whether it’s voting against military cuts or efforts to cut Medicare or supporting a farm bill that’s good for the state.
“I’m going to keep putting Alabama first,” Roby said.
Now it’s Up to Congress to Deliver on Trans-Pacific Trade
The United States and 11 other nations in New Zealand this week signed a monumental trade agreement that will create better jobs for American workers and increase U.S. exports by hundreds of billions of dollars each year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports.
Seven years after negotiations began and four months after a deal was reached, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement has been signed, eliminating barriers that restrict the flow of goods, services, and investments among nations that represent nearly 40 percent of the world’s economic output.
The U.S. Chamber lauded the deal and encourages Congress to approve it.
“History shows that if we don’t move ahead on trade, we’ll be left behind,” Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and head of international affairs, said in a statement. “Other nations understand this: While the ink is barely dry, the TPP is already drawing interest from other Asia-Pacific economies that want to follow its ‘race-to-the-top’ recipe for trade and growth.”
The U.S. Chamber and members of Congress say further work is needed, especially among TPP provisions affecting pharmaceuticals and financial services. Addressing these substantive issues is part and parcel of the effort to build the support needed for congressional passage.
Other nations want in on the agreement: Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand have expressed interest, as well as President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia who showed interest during a visit earlier this week to the U.S. Chamber.
The U.S. could see its exports increase by 131 billion and incomes increase by $357 billion by 2030 under the accord, according to the nonpartisan Peterson Institute for International Economics.
“It will unleash the digital economy, strengthen our innovative and creative industries, and end the favoritism afforded to state enterprises,” Brilliant said. “It would be a game changer for American workers, ranchers, and companies – and for our friends and allies in the Asia-Pacific region.”
The Business Council of Alabama is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s exclusive representative in Alabama.
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Senior Adviser: White House Willing to Scale Back ‘Cadillac tax’
The Hill (Ferris 2/4) “The Obama administration is agreeing to scale back its unpopular ‘Cadillac tax’ on high-cost health insurance plans as part of its years-long fight to keep the tax in place. Jason Furman, chief economic adviser for President Obama, said Wednesday that the administration would propose raising the threshold for the tax in areas where healthcare is more costly.
“In states where the average premium for ‘gold’ coverage exceeds the Cadillac-tax threshold under ObamaCare, that threshold would instead be raised to the average gold premium, Furman wrote in an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“‘This policy prevents the tax from creating unintended burdens for firms located in areas where health care is particularly expensive, while ensuring that the policy remains targeted at overly generous plans over the long term if health costs rise faster than the tax thresholds’, Furman said.
“The Cadillac tax is one of the most controversial pieces of ObamaCare.”