The American Foundry Society held a virtual discussion on June 2 hosted by the AFS Government Affairs Division with U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-8), a 23-year veteran of Capitol Hill and the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee. The congressman kicked off his remarks by evaluating the work done by Congress so far to combat the effects of the global pandemic.
“This is an unprecedented challenge, no question about it,” Brady stated. “Members of Congress are back home making sure the elements of the CARES Act are reaching the people we wanted it to. Whether it’s funding for hospitals and schools, aid to state and local governments, or PPP loans that have been so crucial to small businesses and manufacturers like yourselves, there's a lot of work being done to get things up and running again.” Brady added there is clearly a lot of work left to do.
“Our focus has been on helping businesses build their workforce to reopen, to help them remake their workplaces so they are safe for both workers and customers,” Brady said. He has proposed a “return-to-work bonus” which would allow workers to keep up to two weeks of unemployment benefits if they accept a job offer. Brady also highlighted the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, approved by the House on May 28 by a vote of 417-1. The bipartisan legislation would provide small businesses with more flexibility while using loans provided through the Paycheck Protection Program. The congressman expressed confidence that the U.S. Senate would vote on this measure soon.
Brady said there is a “huge need for infrastructure” investment in the U.S. Brady urged AFS members to send that message early and often to their elected officials in Washington about the importance of a robust infrastructure package to jumpstart the economy now. “I know there’s bipartisan support for doing (an infrastructure bill) and anticipate the House Democrats to unveil legislation shortly and Senate Republicans interest in moving infrastructure packages as well. The issue is still the pay.”
Also discussed during the forum were other issues critical to metalcasters, including tax policy that encourages business growth, reshoring to build domestic manufacturing capabilities, and vigorous enforcement of U.S. trade policies.
AFS Government Affair Chairman Eric Meyers, CEO of Oil City Iron Works, presented the congressman with a an elephant statue cast at the foundry, in recognition of Congressman Brady’s leadership on Capitol Hill on in creating and passing public policy that has strengthened the U.S. economy over the years and in particular his work on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the first major reform of the U.S. Tax Code in more than 30 years.