Your Chamber and your community continue to play an active role in the legislative process at every level.
Representatives from the Columbus Area Chamber, Platte County and City of Columbus just returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the annual State Chamber fly-in to Washington.
As part of the State Chamber’s agenda, we were briefed on current issues by the U.S. Chamber and National Association of Manufacturers. Generally there is a great deal of uncertainty around some big issues, such as trade, healthcare costs, immigration, and infrastructure.
Specifically we heard clearly that the federal infrastructure bill that has been promoted by the Administration has a tough road ahead, no pun intended. Both NAM and the U.S. Chamber are big fans of infrastructure investments but aren’t optimistic for this bill in this session of Congress.
On trade, we heard multiple times that a deal on NAFTA has to come this week or it likely won’t happen any more this year. In fact, our group got to hear directly from staff at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and they shared that the work is happening at a high level and a feverish pace but there are still significant hurdles for the three countries to clear.
They also shared the justification behind the threat of tariffs from the Trump Administration. While that is causing significant pain in Nebraska and the reasoning doesn’t really lessen that pain, it was good to understand that there is rational thinking behind those decisions.
Our Chamber contingent also attended the Nebraska Breakfast and had a private lunch with Nebraska’s representatives. It is important that through organizations like the State and local chambers, the Columbus business community and the overall community are being represented at the federal level.
The local Chamber has long been a participant in this annual event. This was the 17th year we have taken that trip with a specific “Columbus agenda” and used the opportunity to visit individually with our Congressional offices on behalf of the Columbus community.
Over those years we have moved forward some important local projects, including the Lost Creek Parkway and the Family Resource Center, and also built positive relationships as a result of those visits.