August 5, 2019
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RSVP Now: Registration deadline approaching for Federal Affairs Summit August 19-20

The number of Washington congressional members taking part in the AWB Federal Affairs Summit continues to grow. Confirmed speakers include U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene, Derek Kilmer, Dan Newhouse, Kim Schrier and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell. This is your chance to connect face-to-face with members of Washington’s congressional delegation, all under one roof.

The event will be held August 19 and 20 at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, operated by Battelle, in the Tri-Cities. Registration is only open through Aug. 12, so don’t miss this opportunity to engage with our federal delegation and government agencies.

In addition to the opportunity to build connections with the lawmakers who serve Washington employers and communities, we have an expanding lineup of expert speakers.

We are pleased to announce a panel on the Export-Import Bank has been added to our agenda, along with a panel discussion on how federal policies affect the agriculture industry. These new panels join an already outstanding lineup that includes:

  •  Next Generation Energy, with Energy Northwest CEO Brad Sawatzke, and Avista Corporation Senior Vice President Jason Thackston
  •  Bipartisanship, with U.S. Reps. Dan Newhouse and Derek Kilmer
  •  Waterways & Means, with Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Derek Sandison and U.S. Department of the Interior Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Kiel Weaver
  •  The Future of Innovation, with Carbitex Founder and Chairman Junus Khan, Cadwell Labs CEO Patrick Jensen, UniEnergy Technologies President and CEO Rick Winter, and PNNL Director of Technology Deployment and Outreach Lee Cheatham (moderator).

Details and speakers will be posted to the event web page as they are confirmed.

And don’t miss the opening reception on Monday, Aug. 19 at the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center! Save your seat by Aug. 12.

Your voice is essential in informing the members of Washington’s congressional delegation about the policies and initiatives that will allow our state to thrive. Federal policies have a major impact here in Washington, where international trade is a cornerstone of the economy. Taxes, tariffs and infrastructure are critical to employers small and large. That's why it's critical that Washington employers engage with our federal delegation and government agencies on policy that may impact your business and industry.

Register today or contact Jacob Sodeman at for more information.

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Speak Up on Overtime Issue
Solving Housing Issues

Housing: A huge issue for Washington's long-term economic health

By AWB President Kris Johnson

We hear about skyrocketing home prices in places like Seattle, San Francisco, and New York and shake our heads. Modest three-bedroom ramblers going for $1 million or more. Hopeful home-buyers engaging in bidding wars, sometimes buying houses sight-unseen, or skipping inspections to ensure someone else doesn't close the deal first.

But the lack of housing of all types is really a nationwide crisis, according to U.S. Rep. Denny Heck. Heck, D-Wash., was one of the speakers at a statewide Housing Forum put on last month by a coalition of 10 organizations including the Association of Washington Business (AWB).

The country is at least 5 million homes short of what's needed, Heck said, and the case could be made the shortfall is more like 7 million. "Supply is not keeping up with demand," he said. It only gets worse as Washington is expected to add 1.5 million people by 2040...

For employers, the availability of high-quality, affordable housing is a critical factor in the ability to attract and retain skilled workers. For employees, finding housing within the same communities as their jobs mean shorter commutes, more time spent with families and better work-life balance. And for communities, all these elements contribute to the quality of place we all desire.

Read the full guest column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
Costing Jobs

One-size-fits-all minimum wage hike hurts rural Central Washington

By U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA

Last week, the House of Representatives voted on the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, despite warnings from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that this would result in the loss of nearly 4 million American jobs.

In Washington state, we have already seen how mandating a higher minimum wage is negatively affecting our economy. With a statewide minimum wage of $12 per hour, Washington mandates one of the highest rates in the country, and it will increase by another $1.50 in January 2020. In an attempt to address wage disparity in large cities like Seattle, which already institutes a $15 minimum wage, this sharp, mandatory increase has led to businesses filing bankruptcy, and it is already having a harmful effect on small businesses and nonprofits in Central Washington.

The Boys & Girls Club of the Columbia Basin in Moses Lake, for example, reached out to my office to share their concerns with the state's accelerated wage increases and about the federal legislation.

The Boys & Girls Club is already struggling, but further increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour for the entry-level employees they hire will force them to make a very difficult decision: raise participation fees for low-income families or eliminate the programs they offer.

Read the full column in The Columbia Basin Herald