The 117th Congress has begun, and your Chamber is geared up to meet with Congressional leaders on issues important to the San Antonio business community. The Chamber’s Board of Directors adopted our 2021 Federal legislative agenda yesterday, where Public Policy Council Chair J.D. Salinas III, External Affairs AT&T, presented priorities brought forward from the various San Antonio industry sectors. Salinas emphasized that much of the agenda is focused on support for legislation and funding to address the ongoing health response and economic recovery efforts due to the pandemic, all of which would help our community get people back to work and reinvigorate our economy.
In 2021, the Chamber will support legislation and appropriations for:
- Improved infrastructure
- Public and higher education
- Improved access and affordability of healthcare
- Sustaining and growing military missions.
Additionally, the Chamber will support direct, flexible funding assistance to cities dealing with the ongoing health response and economic community impacts and relief assistance for small businesses and hard-hit industries, such as restaurants and bars, tourism and hospitality businesses, healthcare providers, and schools.
The board adoption of the federal agenda is timely given the U.S. House of Representatives are set to vote on President Biden’s proposed relief package today. The proposed relief package includes plans for a national vaccination program, as well as funding to assist businesses in recovering from the economic impacts of the pandemic so they can safely reopen and rebuild.
Also included in the relief package are:
- Plans to provide schools the resources needed to reopen safely;
- Immediate relief to working families in the form of direct cash payments;
- Preserving and expanding health coverage, including funding for veterans’ health;
- Assistance for housing, broadband, and small businesses; and
- Protection of public transit.
If passed, it would head over to the U.S. Senate. Congress aims to have a bill signed into law before March 14, when key unemployment programs expire.
The Chamber’s Federal legislative agenda also includes priorities that are critically important to all businesses, particularly those that hinder business growth and/or create barriers to recovery. These priorities include but are not limited to the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), which we believe would be costly for businesses, would strip employees of critical rights and flexible work opportunities, drag employers into unrelated labor disputes, and disrupt the economy. The Chamber also opposes the $15 federal minimum wage increase. We believe such a mandate would infringe on employer rights, be costly for employers, lead to wage compression, increase the cost for goods and services, which would ultimately increase the cost to consumers. We know that the $15 minimum wage increase is being addressed right now in Congress, so we will be monitoring the issue closely.
The Chamber’s federal legislative agenda is a dynamic document, a list of guiding principles that can be updated as needed. Given the new Administration, we understand that changes may be necessary.
For 43 years, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce has traveled to Washington, D.C., to promote and drive important initiatives that benefit San Antonio’s business community and ensure the city remains the best place to live, work, and play. SA to DC 2021 has been scheduled for October 19 – 22, due to COVID-19 travel precautions. However, rest assured that your Chamber will be meeting with Congressional members leading up to the big trip. More information on SA to DC 2021 will be provided soon.
For more information, please contact Stephanie Reyes, VP of Public Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 210-229-2162.