TIA members converge on Capitol Hill

Feb. 6, 2015

Tire Industry Association (TIA) members from around the country gathered Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for the group's Federal Lobby Day to discuss transportation funding proposals with members of Congress and their staffs.

“The timing could not have been better with President Obama proposing his budget this week, highway funding scheduled to run out in a few months, and a new Congress in session,” said TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield.

He later reviewed the funding options for a long-term transportation bill and some of proposals being aimed at the tire industry which include: increasing the motor fuel tax by $.15-$2.00 per gallon, reinstating the Federal Excise Tax on passenger tires, increasing the Federal Excise Tax on truck tires by 10%, reinstating the Federal Excise Tax by $.05-$.15 per pound on tread rubber used in the retread process, increasing the Federal Excise Tax on trucks and truck parts by 10%, and dozens of others.

The day began in the Cannon House Office Building where attendees were briefed on the day’s agenda and updated on the current status of the Highway Trust Fund by TIA Government Affairs Manager Roy Littlefield IV.

TIA Government Affairs Committee Chairman Dick Gust welcomed members and thanked them for taking the initiative to come to Capitol Hill.

Former Congressman Al Wynn (D-Md.) spoke on the importance of TIA members coming to Capitol Hill. The crowd then was briefed by two members of the National Republican Senatorial Committee on the goals and initiatives of the party, results of the most recent election, and predictions for 2016. Paula Calimafde, executive director of the Small Business Legislative Council, gave an update on tax reform and tax extenders and answered numerous tax-related questions from the audience.

Congressman John Delaney (D-Md.) shared his proposal for funding transportation in a way that would not place harmful taxes on the tire industry. Delaney’s plans include a one-time, percentage-based tax levied on overseas profits of multinational companies. In addition to levying a tax to support the Highway Trust Fund for six years, Delaney’s plan would establish a $50 billion infrastructure fund for state and local governments. It would also set up a commission to ensure the financial future of the Highway Trust Fund.

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer shared his thoughts with TIA members about the importance of funding a long-term bill and the need for the U.S. to improve its transportation system. Hoyer vouched his long time support for the tire industry and will continue to be a spokesperson for TIA moving forward.

After Hoyer’s session, attendees moved to the Rayburn House office building where freshman members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), shared their thoughts on transportation funding.

TIA members then split into small groups to conduct personal, individual meetings with Congressional staff in the offices of Rep. John Sarbanes (D- Md.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D- Ore.), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), Rep. Glenn Grothman (R- Wis.), Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). Others took part in one-on-one round robin educational and introductory sessions with key staffers from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee. In total, TIA members made contact with 22 Congressional offices to share their views, positions, and concerns.

The Lobby Day concluded with a reception, cohosted by other automotive related associations, in the Capitol Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building. Members had the opportunity to mix and mingle with members and staff of the 114th Congress.

For more information about TIA, visit www.tireindustry.org or call 800-876-8372.