Hosted in partnership by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, CEO Council for Growth, and Select Greater Philadelphia, this annual public policy event connects Greater Philadelphia’s prominent regional leaders with the region’s Congressional Delegation for a full day of insightful meetings in our nation’s capital.
Members of Congress in attendance included Senators Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Tom Carper (D-DE), Congressmen John Carney (D-DE), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Pat Meehan (R-PA), Joe Pitts (R-PA), John Runyan (R-NJ), and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-PA). Several representatives of the Federal Executive Branch also participated including Bruce Andrews, Deputy Secretary for Commerce, Commissioner Tony Clark of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Peter Rogoff, Under Secretary of the Department of Transportation, and Peder Maarbjerg, Assistant Director for External Coordination of Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.
Focusing on issues like energy, transportation, and tax reform , the day illustrated the Congressional Delegation’s strong understanding of the policy priorities of the business, civic, and higher education leaders in the room. Here is a recap of some of the highlights.
Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank
Several Members of the Congress voiced their support for the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank in alignment with recent GPCC advocacy efforts. The Ex-Im Bank plays a vital role in the regional export market by providing direct loans, loan guarantees and insurance and has supported $4 billion in export sales since 2007.
Research and Development in GPR
Our region has always been known for exceptional research, and Congressman Fattah and others were able to share some exciting grant funding updates to local institutions around brain mapping and brain disease research in particular. Many of the comments made were very much in line with the work of the CEO Council for Growth’s newly developed sector initiative focused on Healthcare Innovation.
GPCC and the CEO Council advocate for a dedicated long-term, sustainable transportation funding to address the forecasted May 2015 shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund. Several members pointed to finding funding solutions via tax policy reforms presented in Rep. Dave Camp’s tax reform bill presented earlier this year. Numbers and length of funding years continue to fluctuate between sources, but on average it would provide $126 billion for transportation funding.
The Delaware River Channel Deepening Project continues to be a focus of our regional delegation with many members understanding the absolute need for the project to come to completion in a timely manner so our region can continue to be nationally and internally competitive in today’s marketplace.
It’s no surprise many of the members of the Congress as well as Administration and Executive leaders discussed the GPR’s opportunities and potential around the development of an Energy Hub given our region’s access to market (through rail and ports) and close proximity to the Marcellus Shale gas play.
Tax Extenders/Tax Reform
Several members of Congress discussed the idea of tax extender packages being brought up in the lame duck session this year. While we will continue to monitor all tax policy through our innovation agenda, we are also very focused on the status of the R&D tax credit. Congressman Gerlach believed that next year is the right time for comprehensive tax reform as it will be a non-election year.