Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABCLegislative Week, June 20-24 in Washington, D.C., is extremely important this year as the association works to keep a merit shop-friendly congressional majority and elect a president who will protect contractors from burdensome regulations.

During the past eight years under President Obama, contractors have been hit with increasing regulations from agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration on issues such as ambush elections, blacklisting, persuader rules, crystalline silica, overtime and waters of the United States. If left unchecked, these regulations will cripple the construction industry and harm small businesses for years to come. 

As part of Legislative Day on June 23, ABC members from across the country are invited to attend a legislative breakfast to hear a political update from legislators and pundits, and then join fellow industry members on Capitol Hill to meet with their members of Congress. These meetings are vital to educate representatives about the issues that affect AEC businesses and to showcase the opportunities and diversity ABC members contribute to the U.S. construction industry and the economy. 

During Legislative Week, ABC members also have the opportunity to support the Free Enterprise Alliance (FEA), which leads the campaign to “halt the assault” on America’s free enterprise system. The FEA is an indispensable resource in ABC’s fight to take back the White House and end costly government regulations. 

In the past year, ABC member engagement and advocacy on the hill led to the Senate adopting government neutrality language into the budget, which was then passed by the House of Representatives for the first time ever, putting a majority of representatives on record with their vote in support of government neutrality. ABC has seen groundbreaking movement with the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act, introduced by Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), which has garnered 112 co-sponsors to date and received a favorable reporting out of committee.

These are important victories, but there is still work to be done to capitalize on these efforts. Getting this legislation passed by Congress and signed into law will require a larger majority in the House and a merit shop-friendly president who will sign the bill into law.

ABC’s success on the hill is directly related to its grassroots advocacy efforts both at Legislative Week and throughout the rest of the year. Sharing concerns and experiences with members of Congress is invaluable to the legislative process, as it is a chance for members to hear from construction businessmen and women personally, and understand how they are directly impacted by the decisions made in Washington, D.C. 


ABC Legal Conference
ABC’s Legal Conference is now being held in conjunction with Legislative Week. This is a must-attend event for attorneys who counsel merit shop contractors. This program will cover the latest developments and insights impacting labor law and open competition in the construction industry. The conference provides a unique opportunity to network and share ideas with government officials, merit shop construction labor attorneys, construction contractors, and ABC chapter presidents and government affairs staff. For more information, visit legalconference.abc.org.


Ashleigh Davenport is grassroots coordinator for Associated Builders and Contractors. For more information, email davenport@abc.org or visit legweek.abc.org.