Kirchner spoke about a variety of issues, which represented a mixed bag of optimism and challenges. He talked about the strength of the economy, the positive impact of tax reform, along with challenges like the negative impact of tariffs and getting diverse parties in Washington to work together to get critical priorities accomplished like infrastructure and immigration reform.
Right: Chamber members getting the federal update at Eau Claire's Holiday Inn South
Kirchner also emphasized the benefits of the Trump administration’s regulatory roll backs. Before President Trump was elected, Kirchner noted, many business owners viewed excessive regulation as the biggest barrier to success. “Since only 1976, executive agencies have issued over 180,000 new regulations,” his PowerPoint read (see also the graph below). In fiscal-year 2018 alone, the Administration repealed 176 regulations, which saved the nation around $23 billion. And since the start of the term, the Administration has withdrawn or delayed over 2,200 executive regulations. In addition, President Trump and Congress have invoked the Congressional Review Act 14 times, something done only once before.
For all the partisan loyalty observed earlier, Kirchner predicted that the parties might work together to pass an infrastructure package. Such a package would likely include a “modest increase in the federal fuel fee.” But that is something he expects both parties to support because it would benefit a large portion of the American population. Constructing the roads would also develop a trained workforce. Those are things everything can agree are beneficial. The primary struggle in passing such a bill lies in the fact that “infrastructure” means different things to different people. That is, infrastructure means the development of complex roadways to urban citizens, while it means the expansion of broadband to rural Americans.
Another area where both parties might work together is immigration. Although some aspects of this issue have caused fervor, it is possible that both parties could come together to reform green cards and the employment-verification system. Kirchner hit on another issue related to immigration--DACA. DACA has proven unpopular among many Republicans, but he stressed that these deferrals positively affect the workforce, something that desperately needs growth. With 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, and with our low rate of population growth, DACA serves as a solution to the demands of our waning workforce.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Congressional and Public Affairs
Executive Director, Midwest Region
National chamber aims for the middle now (Leader-Telegram)
John Kirchner's PowerPoint Presentation (Eggs & Issues, May 17, 2019)
Posted by Nate Kane, Legislative Intern