President Plans to ‘Finish the Job’ with American-made Building Materials

State of the Union

On Tuesday evening, President Biden delivered his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. There were a couple of notable items from the speech: One being that he made a strong pitch for utilizing Made-in-America supplies and materials for federal construction projects, referencing new standards that will specifically require all lumber, glass, drywall, and fiber optic cables used in Federal infrastructure projects to be American-made. The other was his call for investments in workforce development and career and technical education, his words being: “Let’s finish the job, connect students to career opportunities starting in high school, and provide two years of community college, some of the best career training in America, in addition to being a pathway to a four-year degree. Let’s offer every American the path to a good career whether they go to college or not.”

On the tax front, the President focused his remarks not on Main Street businesses but rather on “billionaires” paying “their fair share.” Specifically, he touched on the Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (CAMT) that passed as part of the Inflation Reduction Act last year, cracking down on CEO stock buybacks. A watered-down version of this was also included in the Inflation Reduction Act. He also spoke about a new “billionaire minimum tax” of 15 percent that he called on Congress to pass in the next two-year term. While it’s unclear exactly what an additional “billionaire minimum tax” would look like, throughout this Congress we expect the Administration to continue searching for ways to close loopholes at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with additional funding and more agents for the agency. Following his reference to this new 15 percent tax, the President went out of his way to say that no one earning less than $400,000 a year would pay a penny in new taxes.  

On the supply chain, the President referenced the enactment of the ABMA-supported Ocean Shipping Reform Act that was signed into law last year; his remarks stated that this new bipartisan law cut shipping costs by 90%, helping American farmers, businesses, and consumers.

Find a full transcript of the President’s address here. 

CTE Resolution Introduced

On February 8, Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA-15) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01) officially introduced a resolution with 71 cosponsors designating February Career and Technical Education Month. ABMA was one of more than 50 organizations that signed on as an official endorser. 

In a related workforce issue, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20) introduced legislation on February 1 to support youth apprenticeships. This bill, otherwise known as the Strengthening Youth Apprenticeships Act would create an interagency agreement between the Secretaries of Labor and Education to provide publicly available guidance and best practices to support youth apprenticeship programs in secondary and postsecondary education. You can read the press release here.

Supply Chain

During meetings with several offices on the Hill this week, ABMA learned that House Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO6) is planning on moving a comprehensive supply chain measure through his committee later this spring; this package will likely include the bill we reported on last week by Rep. Dusty Johnson’s (R-SD-AL) that addresses commercial driver’s license streamlining, truck weight reform, and incentives for new truck drivers to take up trucking as a profession. ABMA will keep you regularly apprised of developments on this front.