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ABC 2017: Boating issues could gain ground in slow-moving Congress

WASHINGTON — This administration might be the perfect opportunity to get issues important to boating in front of lawmakers.
Frank Steinberg (left), Rick Murphy and George Cooper of Forest Tate Partners addressed ABC attendees during today’s breakfast.

Frank Steinberg (left), Rick Murphy and George Cooper of Forest Tate Partners addressed ABC attendees during today’s breakfast.

WASHINGTON — Despite the focus on repealing the Affordable Care Act and overhauling tax laws, this administration might be the perfect opportunity to get issues important to boating in front of lawmakers.

“As we have moved through the first four months we’ve had flurries of actions here and there, but I would say a lot of things a lot of us assumed would be true haven’t been true,” said George Cooper, partner with Forest Tate Partners, speaking at an “Inside the Beltway” panel discussion during the American Boating Congress breakfast this morning.

For example, the Coast Guard reauthorization will only get marked up on Thursday, Cooper said.

“That’s not something we would’ve expected at the beginning of the year,” Cooper said. “There are no nevers. You can’t assume anything. Things are going to move. It just might not be the things we think are going to move. So we have to be aggressive and find opportunities to move things.”

One of the greatest things ABC attendees can do is let people know they’re out there, said Rick Murphy, who is part of Forest Tate Partners’ Republican practice.

“As you’re going around today, let Congress know what’s really important to you,” Murphy said.

“There’s been all this talk about change,” said Frank Steinberg, senior director of government relations for Forest Tate Partners. “What didn’t change is the dynamic on Capitol Hill.”

The change has been slower than expected because despite the Republican control of the House, Senate and presidency, many on Capitol Hill did not take into account the fissures within the Republican Party, Steinberg said.

“At the beginning of the year we thought we were going to have a budget done by February … and we’re way behind that pace,” Steinberg said. “The reason is, we’ve still got the same controversy behind the same issues. The House got its version of health care done, and that was a big deal. The interesting part about that is instead of starting with a more centrist approach and picking off votes on the right … we’re seeing them picking off votes from the center. It’s an interesting paradigm shift.”

“That begs the question, what is the House going to do in the next few weeks?” Steinberg said. “The answer is, not a lot, because that was so hard.”

Read more about the American Boating Congress in Trade Only Today throughout the week.

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