Issues & AdvocacyFederal
AIA Launches Federal Agenda for 113th Congress
By Andrew Goldberg, Managing Director, Government Relations & Outreach
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today announced a five-point legislative agenda for the 113th Congress, targeting job creation for small businesses as a top priority.
The agenda is the product of months of collaboration and dialogue with AIA members and leaders. More than 3,400 AIA members offered their views about what policies the AIA should advance through the annual Call for Issues last fall.
According to Mickey Jacob, FAIA, 2013 AIA President, the AIA’s agenda “reflects the interests of our members, which not so coincidentally reflects the priorities of the American people. These five priorities for the next two years have the creation of jobs as their centerpiece while also seeking to shore up our aging infrastructure, make our communities more resilient and assure we invest in the next generation of architects.”
The five priorities are:
1. Help Small Businesses Create Jobs
Small businesses create jobs in every community. More than 97 percent of architecture firms employ 50 or fewer people; every project they design leads to job opportunities for millions of construction workers. But red tape, limited capital, and a complicated tax code hold them back. Congress needs to ensure that federal agencies work with small companies to help them succeed. And our small businesses need a simpler tax code that helps architecture firms grow without punitive tax increases.
2. Repair and Strengthen our Buildings
As millions of construction workers remain unemployed, buildings and vital infrastructure have crumbled, hurting our economy and endangering the public. But our nation’s infrastructure goes beyond roads and bridges: millions of schools, hospitals and structures of every type are in desperate need of repair. Even the Capitol dome, a symbol of our democracy, needs repair. America needs sound policies that free up capital for private sector building projects, and new ways to invest in public sector buildings, providing jobs in the short term and a more competitive economy in the long run.
3. Build Sustainable, Resilient and Vibrant Communities
After years of economic turmoil and natural calamities, America’s communities must rebuild. Homeowners and businesses are demanding the next generation of buildings that save energy, revitalize traditional main streets and reflect the new ways that Americans live, work and play. As Superstorm Sandy showed, we need to do far more to protect our communities from disaster. And with buildings accounting for more than 70 percent of the nation’s electricity use, we can do so much more to make our homes, offices and schools use less energy.
4. Reform Government to Build Better with Less
Governments need to tighten their belts while providing essential services the public demands. That means doing more, and doing it better, with fewer resources. But too many laws and regulations block innovative solutions that maximize return on investment. When it comes to buildings, Congress can make sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely by reforming procurement rules so that architects can deliver projects that are safe, productive and sustainable.
5. Invest in the Next Generation of Design Leaders
Millions of young people aspire to help their communities build a better future – but a lack of opportunity and the crushing cost of education hold them back. As a result, the design and construction industry faces a severe shortage of talent, at exactly the moment we need to start rebuilding for the future. America can’t afford to lose a generation of talented design professionals, simply because they could not afford the cost of learning.
See full legislative agenda here.
The AIA’s agenda comes as the newly sworn-in 113th Congress and President Obama begin to tackle a host of issues that affect the practice of architecture and the built environment, including reforming the tax code, reducing the deficit and creating jobs.
In March, hundreds of AIA leaders will visit their representatives on Capitol Hill to share the agenda as part of the AIA’s 2013 Grassroots Legislative and Leadership Conference. March is also when policymakers will face a number of critical decisions, including whether to extend, change or cancel the budget sequestration that was delayed in early January as part of fiscal cliff negotiations. March is also when the current funding authority for most federal agencies will expire.
For those attending the Grassroots Conference, AIA Advocacy staff are holding four calls to go over the federal agenda in greater detail. The date, time, and registration link for each call can be found here.
For more information on the agenda and how you can share it with your elected representatives, click here.
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