Vanessa M. Leiby is executive director of the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Assn., a Washington, D.C.-based trade organization that…
Nov 18, 2014

WWEMA’s Wish List for the New Congress

The dust from the 2014 midterm elections has (for the most part) settled, and it is time to look ahead to what the new makeup of the U.S. Congress will mean for the future of our nation. The people have spoken, and they have said, quite simply: “We want Congress to do its job.”

Our congressional leaders claim they have heard this message loud and clear and will respond accordingly. As the “Voice of the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturer,” WWEMA looks forward to working with this new slate of representatives and senators and their staffs to advance the nation’s vital public health, environmental and infrastructure needs. We will share our message with key bill sponsors and committee members, and in particular we will advocate for several issues on our members’ wish list:

Buy American

It is time for Congress to have an honest conversation about the American Iron and Steel provisions creeping into federal spending bills. These provisions are un-American—restricting trade, creating monopolies, increasing the cost of public works projects and inviting retaliation from our international trade partners.

Local content provisions are anti-business and anti-progress, and WWEMA will continue working to educate Congress on this issue and the problems they cause for the manufacturing community in an effort to eliminate them from future and even existing legislation.

Private Activity Bonds

Amending the Internal Revenue Code to remove the volume cap on private activity bonds for water and wastewater projects would provide an influx of low-cost private capital to finance much needed water and wastewater infrastructure projects. It is estimated that lifting this cap could generate as much as $5 billion annually in incremental private capital for such projects at a very low cost to government.  

What is more, a 2010 Clean Water Council study found that every $1 billion invested in water and wastewater infrastructure creates up to 27,000 new jobs. Congress wants to do its job and help the U.S. economy? This is a simple solution, at a very low cost to the government of about $214 million over 10 years.

Tax Reform

It is time for Congress to take a serious look at tax reform, particularly as it relates to manufacturers. As producers and employers, manufacturers are vital to the U.S. economy and merit support through lowered tax rates as well as increased incentives for research and development initiatives.

The past several years have been frustrating for groups trying to make a difference on Capitol Hill. If we are to believe our newly elected officials, that is about to change. WWEMA looks forward to partnering with its sister organizations throughout the water and manufacturing communities to seize this opportunity and work together to make its wish list a reality.

Vanessa M. Leiby is executive director of the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Assn., a Washington, D.C.-based trade organization that has represented the interests of manufacturers serving the water supply and wastewater treatment industry since 1908. Leiby can be reached at [email protected].