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Jobs, support for association meetings, healthcare reform and charitable giving are among the top issues association executives will discuss when they go to Capitol Hill today to promote the importance of the association community to federal lawmakers.
Associations Day, ASAE's annual fly-in, will garner about 400 participants this week, including 125 actually in the nation's capital and the rest participating through the virtual component. Virtual participants may sign letters that can be sent to their senators and congressional representatives.
ASAE public policy SVP Jim Clarke, CAE, briefed participants on talking points at a session yesterday at the Hyatt Regency, just blocks from the U.S. Capitol.
Jobs. Clarke asked participants to share with lawmakers a summary of ASAE's "Associations Matter" report, which details how associations impact the U.S. employment (see related article, this issue).
Meetings. Earlier this year, the administration released a draft proposal that bars federal employees from attending trade association meetings. "We thought it was foolish," Clarke said. ASAE officials have met with administration officials, but Clarke said, "We don't know what the White House is going to do with it, but we are certainly making our opinions known." Also, the threat of removing tax exemptions for meetings and issues regarding unrelated business income tax are among points association executives will discuss with their lawmakers.
Healthcare exchanges. Until there is a change in the law, ASAE is moving forward with how the healthcare reform law stands currently. The concern is, whether the programs will be set up in time for implementation deadline, and if not will there be an extension of the deadline. If associations are to be "navigators" of the exchange program, knowing when to be prepared is essential, Clarke said.
Charitable giving. The administration has proposed, again, that the charitable deduction rate be limited to 28 percent - down from 35 percent. ASAE believes limiting the incentive for charitable giving will hurt charitable nonprofits and related that to slowing the country's economic recovery.
At a reception last night, ASAE honored Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) with the 2012 Sentinel Award (at right) presented to him by ASAE chairman Peter O'Neil, FASAE, CAE (left), executive director, American Industrial Hygiene Association. Moran recently came out in support of ASAE's position on the proposed ban of federal employees attending trade association meetings. In his acceptance remarks, Moran told an amusing anecdote from when he was mayor of Alexandria, Va.: The sheik of Dubai was visiting and saw all the buildings and hotels in Alexandria, which Moran said was made possible by associations. The sheik asked Moran how did this happen. "I told him, two words, 'Your Highness...liquor licenses.'" Details: www.asaecenter.org.
Columbia Books, parent company of Association TRENDS, was a co-sponsor of the ASAE 2012 American Associations Day and provided The Original U.S. Congress Handbook to participants. For more about The Original U.S. Congress Handbook, click here.