Best of Success Seminar: Keep an Eye on Capitol Hill
Craig Brightup is chief executive officer of The Brightup Group LLC in Washington, D.C. In 2000 he was named to Fortune Small Business magazine’s Power 30 list of “influential insiders” in our nation’s capital. It’s easy to see why. He headed congressional relations for the Federal Trade Commission by appointment of President Reagan, and he has served as vice president of government relations for the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) in its Capitol Hill office, which he opened in 1990. Brightup has provided services to 18 organizations since 2009, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He was the perfect person to update the roofing industry on the events leading up to the 2014 national election.
In his presentation titled “The Impact of Politics on Your Business,” Brightup reviewed the current divided Congress, with Republicans, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner, holding the edge in the House, and Democrats, led by Sen. Harry Reid, comprising the majority in the Senate. He projected a swing in favor of Republicans in the upcoming election, and his predictions were borne out on Nov. 4. “I’m going to give away the end of my talk right now when I tell you that Harry Reid will no longer be the majority leader in the Senate,” he said.
Brightup pointed to several factors that favored the Republicans in the upcoming election, including the fact that 21 of the 36 seats that were up for grabs in the Senate were held by Democrats. Another factor was the so-called “six-year itch,” in which the party of a sitting president tends to lose seats in the middle of the president’s second term. “This is going to be a classic snap-back election,” he predicted. “The historical precedent is just about iron clad.”
Brightup also explored how the Republican Senate majority might change the legislative landscape. Possibilities included forcing approval of the Keystone pipeline, repeal of some taxes used to fund the Affordable Care Act and defunding some federal regulations through appropriations bills.
One piece of proposed legislation he urged roofing contractors to keep an eye on was the EXPIRE Act, which would extend 55 tax credits that expired Dec. 31, 2013, renewing them retroactively through 2015. “This contains several important provisions for the roofing industry,” said Brightup. These include 15-year depreciation for restaurant and leasehold improvements, the homeowner energy-efficiency tax credit and energy-efficient commercial building tax deduction.
Brightup also warned attendees to watch out for a “regulatory wildfire” including proposed OSHA regulations regarding silica, tracking workplace injuries and illnesses, and adding a new column to the in the injury and illness log for musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) injuries.
Brightup pointed to another important factor that can be affected by election results — the appointment of judges. “One way to stop the regulatory wildfire is through the judicial branch,” he said. “The firewall will be built, and it will have an important impact on your business.”