The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Advocacy Team joined 50 equipment manufacturing representatives in Washington for two days of meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill as they pushed for the immediate passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The 2021 AEM Washington Fly-in featured a record-breaking number of participants and in-person meetings, as teams of equipment manufacturing representatives met with lawmakers from Georgia to California and throughout the Midwest.
“This year’s fly-in could not have come at a more important time as the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill that will make significant and transformative investments in America’s infrastructure,” said Kate Fox Wood, AEM senior director of government relations and lead organizer of the 2021 AEM Washington Fly-in. “This bill will not only rebuild and modernize our transportation, water, energy, and communications infrastructure, but also has the potential to create 100,000 family-sustaining equipment manufacturing jobs before the end of President Biden’s first term.”
The 2021 AEM Washington Fly-in coincided with a “National Day of Action,” organized by the Coalition for Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment, which included a letter to House members, meetings on the Hill, and a grassroots and social media push urging members to support the bill.
Kip Eideberg, AEM senior vice president of government and industry relations, spoke with POLITICO about the effort. “The Association of Equipment Manufacturers [blanketed] the Hill today as part of a sprint to Monday’s deadline, focusing its lobbying efforts at this point on House Republicans ‘almost exclusively.’ Out of meetings with around 60 congressional offices today and tomorrow, the vast majority have been with Republicans as the trade association urges them ‘to not throw the baby out with the bath water,’” he said.
The 2021 AEM Washington Fly-In was sponsored by Duramark, which provided lunch for attendees at the historic Florida House on Capitol Hill, which served as the hub and war room for the two-day event.
In addition to infrastructure, participants advocated for pro-manufacturing policies that will ensure the equipment manufacturing industry’s long-term economic prosperity and global competitiveness, including support for the Precision Agriculture Loan (PAL) Act, reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the immediate removal of harmful tariffs on steel.
The 2021 AEM Washington Fly-in also featured the presentation of the first-ever “AEM Champion of the Industry Award” to four lawmakers for their outstanding support for the equipment manufacturing industry and their efforts to advance bipartisan, commonsense solutions to the country’s toughest challenges. The inaugural class of honorees are: U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), U.S. Representative Don Bacon (R-Neb.), and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.).