The roofing industry currently is facing more challenges from intrusive government legislation and regulations than at any time in recent memory. Given the need to effectively manage these challenges, the importance of ROOFPAC—NRCA's political action committee (PAC)—is greater than ever. ROOFPAC is dedicated to supporting pro-business candidates for Congress, and a strong ROOFPAC is crucial to NRCA's government relations efforts in Washington, D.C.
Roofing contractors continue to come under assault from the federal government on numerous fronts. For instance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is moving forward with problematic regulations that increase contractors' costs without improving workplace safety. Higher taxes on businesses are again being pushed by some in Congress to pay for more government spending and regulation. And the National Labor Relations Board has issued several regulations that will saddle employers with new burdensome requirements at a time when they can least afford it.
NRCA also is working to pursue changes in government policy that will facilitate greater opportunities for roofing industry entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. These initiatives include depreciation reform for commercial roof systems and legislation to reform the federal regulatory process.
To make progress on important industry issues, more lawmakers willing to work with NRCA on pro-growth policies and sensible regulations are needed in Washington, D.C. With ROOFPAC's help, NRCA made progress in 2010 by electing numerous candidates with business experience to Congress, including former NRCA President Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.). This has helped NRCA achieve important objectives during the past year.
For example, the association was successful in working with Congress on a bipartisan basis to repeal the onerous 3 percent withholding tax on government contracts, which was a top legislative priority since 2006.
NRCA also worked with Congress to hold an oversight hearing to review OSHA's counterproductive fall-protection regulations for residential construction. The hearing, as well as efforts of NRCA's congressional allies to contact OSHA to convey members' concerns, have led to direct negotiations between NRCA and OSHA focused on significant regulatory changes.
NRCA now is redoubling efforts to elect more lawmakers who support its agenda. The key to doing so is strengthening ROOFPAC, which greatly enhances NRCA's lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill by contributing to the campaigns of candidates who support pro-growth economic policies.
ROOFPAC relies solely on voluntary personal donations made pursuant to federal campaign finance law. ROOFPAC has supported hundreds of candidates for Congress since its inception in 1990 and has grown to where it now raises and disperses more than $300,000 every election cycle. NRCA's strategic plan, which was approved by its board of directors in February, envisions growing ROOFPAC to $500,000 per election cycle during the next three years.
There are numerous opportunities for NRCA members to support ROOFPAC. Most notable are events during NRCA's annual convention, Midyear Meetings and Fall Committee Meetings, which are overseen by NRCA's PAC Advisory Committee. Additionally, NRCA is using direct mail, e-mail and a telemarketing campaign to broaden ROOFPAC participation.
NRCA also is working to expand the Political Insiders Council (PIC), ROOFPAC's program for major donors, which launched in 2005. PIC is open to individuals who make a personal commitment to ROOFPAC of $5,000 per year—the maximum allowable by law. PIC members enjoy complimentary admission to ROOFPAC events, special opportunities to interact with members of Congress and political leaders, and other benefits that reflect their commitment to ROOFPAC.
The outcome of the November elections will be important for the roofing industry, and ROOFPAC is supporting candidates who share NRCA's vision for enabling entrepreneurs to grow successful businesses. With so much at stake, we can't sit on the sidelines. To learn more about ROOFPAC events or inquire about sponsorship opportunities, contact NRCA's Washington, D.C., office at (202) 546-7584.
Duane L. Musser is NRCA's vice president of government relations.