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TAB Delegation Highlights Federal Policy Priorities to Support Texas Businesses in D.C.

Last week, the Texas Association of Business (TAB) successfully hosted its impactful TAB to the Hill Washington D.C. fly-in event. This strategic gathering was pivotal for advancing TAB's federal priorities and reinforcing the business community’s central role in Texas' success as a national and global powerhouse.

 

During the event, the group led strategic discussions centered around TAB's federal priorities on trade, border security, infrastructure, immigration, energy, and technology, including semiconductors and A.I. – all of which are critical to maintaining Texas' position as the leading U.S. state for business and investment. As Governor Abbott likes to say, Texas is the "headquarters of headquarters," and now has more Fortune 500 companies (55) than any other state.

 

The event kicked off with a rooftop reception graciously hosted by Akin Gump. We were delighted to have co-hosted this reception with the North Texas Commission (NTC) and to have Senator Ted Cruz's office join us.



After a private dinner sponsored by our Chairman Massey Villareal and Precision Task Group, Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX-17) and Congressman Nathaniel Moran (R-TX-1) treated the group to a private late night tour of the Capitol that included an exclusive opportunity to visit the House floor and sit down in the members’ chairs while the two Congressmen shared information about the voting process as well as historical events that have taken place the room.




Our day on Capitol Hill started with a breakfast event co-hosted by the Texas State Society, TAB, and NTC. The room was packed with Texans from every industry as well as 4 members of Congress; Rep. Moran, Rep. Keith Self (R-TX-3), Rep. Sessions, Rep. Monica De La Cruz (R-TX-15). Attendees heard from Amanda Eversole, Chief Advocacy Officer for the American Petroleum Institute, Jack Howard, SVP Strategic Advocacy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Michael Richards, Senior Director of the U.S. Chamber’s Technology Engagement Center. Eversole provided information about the current pause on LNG exports and the impact we can expect to see if this continues. Howard gave a Capitol Hill update in relation to the private business sector and provided insight on how to achieve the greatest impact to benefit the Texas business community. Richards updated the group on AI issues and discussed the fine line between data privacy and policy decisions that don’t limit the U.S. position in technology advances. Thank you to Clay Pope, Pope Strategies Group, for sponsoring this breakfast event!


We were thrilled that both Texas Senators took the time to travel to the House side so they could meet with our group. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed the work he is doing in the Senate to support Texas job creators and discussed TAB’s federal priorities, providing feedback on how TAB can continue to help the Texas delegation in Washington protect Texas businesses. Senator Cornyn touched on the CHIPS Act and how, in the rapidly growing world of technology, we must provide Texas the room to advance in the technology area. If we do not grow, we will be left behind.




Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) left no room for misinterpretation on his top mission for Texas: Jobs, Jobs, and more Jobs. He noted the fact that jobs are not created by the federal government, but instead by small business owners, which make up 99% of all Texas businesses. Senator Cruz also talked about the infrastructure projects he has worked to make a reality in Texas. The “Ports to Plains” Interstate 27 Act was signed into law at the end of March, and Senator Cruz emphasized the importance of this huge win for every Texan. He noted this project will bring more jobs, greater economic development, better transportation, increase trade, and enhance Texas’ dominance in agriculture and energy.




In our meeting with Congressman Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23) the TAB delegation had an important conversation about border security. Rep. Gonzales’ district has the largest stretch of border territory than any other Congressional District (more than 800 miles). Therefore, border security and effective immigration policy, are his top priorities. Rep. Gonzales discussed how he is utilizing his position on the House Appropriations Committee to secure funding for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and border security technology, so that we can bring in good people, good products and protect our citizens from the terrible Fentanyl crisis.




Congressman Moran voiced support for pro-business policies that benefit both the U.S. and Texas economy. We discussed the Prove It Act (HR 7198), co-sponsored by Reps. Brad Finstad (R-MN-1) and Yadira Caraveo (D-CO-8), which requires greater transparency for Federal regulatory decisions that impact small businesses. Rep. Moran serves on the House Judiciary Committee and helped ensure the bill passed out of the committee at the end of March.




Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) met with the TAB delegation to discuss the importance of Laredo’s port, which is the number one international trade port in the country, responsible for more than $300 billion worth of trade last year alone. Rep. Cuellar worked with Senator Cruz to secure language reform in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to expedite the presidential permitting process for cross-border bridge projects, including the World Trade Bridge expansion in Laredo.



TAB attendees enjoyed a lighthearted trip down memory lane with Congressman Roger Williams (R-TX-25) who shared some of his personal stories that keep him motivated to fight for the values and quality of life we enjoy in Texas. Like many others, Rep. Williams believes it is the “can do” spirit of Texans and our “won’t quit” attitude that drives the success of the Texas economy and business environment.



Texas continues to see rapid growth and with no signs of slowing down, it’s crucial that we have the right infrastructure in place. Congressman Colin Allred (D-TX-32), who serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure committee, spoke with the group about his bipartisan approach and pro-business mindset, recognizing the needs of Texas’ economy. Rep. Allred played a key part in securing billions in federal funding for Texas in the 2024 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Part of this package included approximately $4.4 billion for Texas to expand broadband availability statewide so that, by 2030, all Texas communities can have access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet. Texas currently makes up 30% (2.55 million of 8.5 million) of the homes and businesses in the United States with no internet access. This project will provide countless new opportunities for our youth, students, and professionals in rural areas.



The TAB delegation also had the opportunity to meet with key legislative staff from the offices of Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN-6), Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX-10), Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX-19) and Congressman August Pfluger (R-TX-11). Whip Emmer’s office discussed how TAB can help support bipartisan pro-business federal policies. Chairman McCaul’s office emphasized the importance of the CHIPS & Science Act to both the Texas economy and national security. Chairman Arrington’s Legislative Director provided extensive details about the congressional budget process, focusing on how Rep. Arrington is working to restore fiscal responsibility to the federal government. Congressman Pfluger serves as Chair of HEAT (House Energy Action Team). The oil and gas industry is a major employer in Rep. Pfluger’s district, and he is working hard to protect energy producers from being over taxed with his “Natural Gas Tax Repeal Act,” which was added into HR 1023 “Cutting Green Corruption & Taxes Act,” passed by the U.S. House on March 22, to repeal the natural gas tax included in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Methane Emissions Reduction Program.

 

Wes Hambrick, Governor Greg Abbott’s Director of Federal and State Relations, led an exclusive discussion on Texas’ role in D.C. and how he serves as a watchdog for Texas’ best interests in the Federal arena. Wes has been a crucial advocate for TAB as we strengthen our Federal Affairs program and build our relationships with the entire Texas delegation – the second largest of any state. The TAB Federal Affairs program is a vital benefit to TAB members. With state and federal issues often overlapping, TAB serves as a problem solver, connecting Texas businesses with policy makers in D.C. The private business sector leads the charge to maintain a regulatory landscape that makes Texas a premiere destination for businesses to grow and thrive. 

 

JP Morgan Chase sponsored our lunch with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and their industry experts, Brandon Farris, VP of Domestic Economic Policy, and Charles Crain, VP of Domestic Policy. TAB serves as the Texas state-appointed affiliate for NAM through the concerted work of both organizations to protect Texas manufacturing and industrial companies from regulatory overreach. It was great to also have TAB colleague Amy Rawlings, VP of State Affairs at NAM, as well as Moyer McCoy and Zach Paulsen with Philip Morris International, join us for lunch!

 

After the busy day on the Hill, TAB and NTC attendees traveled to Georgetown for an evening rooftop reception at Forward Global’s office with a breathtaking view overlooking the Potomac River and the Kennedy Center. Thank you, Noe Garcia, Alyssa Granados, and team, for graciously hosting us. The reception included a Texas election update from campaign expert John Rogers, Pollster with Cygnal. Congressman Moran and Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia (Pct. 2) joined us for the reception and dinner.



TAB’s D.C. Fly-In finished up with important meetings at the Israeli and Mexican Embassies – two of Texas’ most important international partners.

 

At the Israeli Embassy TAB delivered a clear message: Texas stands with Israel. Eliav Benjamin, Deputy Ambassador of Israel to the United States and Nathalie Guttman-Chen, Israel's Economic Attaché to the United States presented a certificate of appreciation to TAB and our Chairman, Massey Villarreal, for his leadership and the strong bonds and support from Texas. Massey shared his vision of expanding economic development and stressed the importance of the opportunity of bringing Israel's ‘Startup Nation’ expertise to Texas, the ‘Scale-Up’ state. The meeting concluded with a discussion of key sectors and areas of potential expanded collaboration between Texas and Israel, including on semiconductors, AI, defense technology, water technologies, health technology, and aerospace technologies.



TAB extends a big thanks to greater: SATX for sponsoring our breakfast at the Mexican Embassy!

 

It was great to have many of our local chamber partners join us, including: Brownsville Chamber, El Paso Chamber, Frisco Chamber, greater: SATX, and Lubbock Chamber. It was especially meaningful to hear firsthand from local chambers all over Texas about the impact federal policies are having on their respective communities. A special thank you to Chris Wallace and the North Texas Commission for partnering with us on so many great events and meetings! We enjoyed hearing insight from North Texas business leaders and appreciated the natural collaboration among our attendees.

 

As always, the leadership and vision of our Chairman, Massey Villareal, never goes unnoticed. Massey never hesitates to advocate for TAB and its members, shining a bright light on the important work we do. Also in attendance were two TAB past Chairs, Becky Redman and Jay Rutherford, as well as incoming Chair Bill Jones.

 

This important trip would not have been possible without our sponsors: IBC Bank, Texas Mutual, PTG, Pope Strategies Group, greater: SATX, JPMorgan Chase, Akin Gump, and Forward Global!

 

The fly-in was a joint effort organized by TAB’s Director of Federal Affairs, Spencer Sallee, and Director of Strategic Initiatives, Julia Muzquiz. As always, the leadership of TAB President & CEO, Glenn Hamer and TAB’s EVP and Chief of Staff, Megan Mauro, as well as the support from the entire TAB staff made last week’s TAB engagements a resounding success!




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