WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 1, 2022) — Today, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to the nation in his State of the Union address, in which he hit on many expected points of interest, including unification with Ukraine amid ongoing Russian invasions; expressing post-COVID-19 optimism; mitigating inflation issues; tackling the opioid epidemic and mental health; and addressing safety and equal justice, among others.
In reaction to Biden's speech, construction industry associations, which stand to represent the views of their members, took aim to address the status of several important needs and concerns faced by the industry. Read below for insights from industry association leaders, and learn where they feel Biden could work to improve conditions in the eyes of the industry.
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)
“The construction industry is currently up against historic global supply chain disruptions, rising materials prices, a workforce shortage of 650,000 and regulatory chokeholds," said Michael Bellaman, ABC president and CEO.
"To make matters worse," he said, "ABC’s 21,000 members have faced a barrage of anti-growth regulatory actions and policies from the Biden administration that have driven up construction costs, created barriers to job creation and damaged the American economy. From President Biden’s support of the devastating Protecting the Right to Organize Act to Executive Order 14063, which mandates the use of anti-competitive project labor agreements on large-scale public works projects, and the union-favoring COMPETES Act, this administration has spent its first year in office relentlessly advocating for policies that steer construction contracts to unionized companies and workers. Yet 87.4% of the construction workforce has chosen not to join a union."
"President Biden must consider the negative conditions he is creating for the industry that wants to build and modernize America’s roads, bridges, airports and affordable housing under the bipartisan 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and other legislation financing federal and federally assisted construction projects."
“The Biden administration and Congress must put aside partisan politics and the influences of special interest donors and embrace bipartisan solutions that give all 7.5 million workers in the construction industry the opportunity to rebuild America.”
Associated Equipment Distributors (AED)
“President Biden rightfully highlighted the bipartisan infrastructure law, a historic accomplishment that will create well-paying jobs, economic growth and improve the quality of life for all Americans," said Brian P. McGuire, AED president and CEO. "AED appreciated the opportunity to partner with the Biden administration and members of the U.S. Senate and House to finally turn decades of promises to invest in rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure into reality. We look forward to working with the administration to ensure the law is implemented expeditiously and according to congressional intent.”
“AED also commends President Biden for underscoring the challenges posed by weak supply chains, workforce shortages and inflation. All solutions to address these issues should be considered, including removing trade barriers with our allies and investing in career and technical education programs. However, placing onerous tax and regulatory burdens on the nation’s job creators, particularly small-medium-sized businesses, is ill-advised and will only reverse the economic gains made since the pandemic.”
“Finally, recent world events have highlighted the urgent economic and national security need for the United States to regain its world leadership in energy development. As we transition to alternative sources in the future, it’s imperative we rely on North America’s natural resources in the near-term. President Biden can immediately send the message that America and its allies are ending our reliance on energy from unfriendly and hostile regimes by reversing his Keystone XL pipeline permit revocation, encouraging other domestic pipeline construction, and removing barriers to energy development in the United States.”
Associated Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)
“Equipment manufacturers will be looking for assurances that the administration is moving forward with a comprehensive strategy to help unleash the full potential of American manufacturing, including passage of legislation to counter China and confront persistent supply chain problems," said Kip Eideberg, AEM senior vice president of government and industry affairs.
"The volatile and unpredictable geopolitical environment is placing further strain on already stressed global supply chains, and underscores the need for a strong bipartisan policy response from our elected officials. Equipment manufacturers continue to face inventory shortages, skyrocketing freight rates, and congestion at U.S. ports, all while trying to deliver the equipment that helps build, power, and feed our country. We need a bold new vision for American manufacturing that prioritizes funding for basic and advanced technology research, investment in education and training programs, removal of harmful tariffs, and an end to China’s unfair trade and investment practices. We urge President Biden, as well as Democrats and Republicans in Congress, to set aside their differences and pass sweeping legislation to boost American competitiveness with China as soon as possible.”
National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA)
"Noting in his State of the Union Address last night that American infrastructure ranks 13th in the world, the president celebrated the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) of 2021 and its historic investment in improving our national infrastructure," said Audrey Copeland, Ph.D., P.E., NAPA president and CEO.
"Now, we call on Congress to deliver a bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill, releasing BIL's historic funding to states. The skilled and dedicated asphalt pavement industry workforce stands ready to fulfill the president's promise to start fixing more than 65,000 miles of deteriorated highways over the next year. Our expertise is repairing, maintaining, and building the roadways that connect all of us and our shared prosperity. We will succeed by working and innovating together to propel the 'infrastructure decade' and rebuild America."