“Washington, D.C., is a place that thinks it can operate in a vacuum,” said U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) to the NAIOP board of directors in a special meeting on Capitol Hill during the 2020 Chapter Leadership & Legislative Retreat. “Inside the Beltway, sometimes we think we understand how to run businesses, and that we know what your clients and employees need. It’s only through your active engagement and participation – talking with us eye to eye – that you will have the impact we need you to have. We need to you to help bring common sense to Washington.”
Gardner thanked the board for the work they do each day, which benefits the country and serves as the backbone of the nation’s infrastructure and commerce, creating jobs and helping people realize their own American dreams.
He talked about the State of the Union address, which happened the evening before the board met, recognizing that the tradition is more than just that – it’s called upon in the U.S. Constitution. Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 says that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” While it hasn’t always been given in the shape of a formal speech before Congress, the president has consistently communicated with the nation throughout the years, whether in times of trial or prosperity.
Gardner touched on the heavily partisan spirit of the evening, saying, “In the end we can’t survive as a county if the only thing we can do when we are together is to stick our noses in our partisan corners.” He invited attendees to leave Washington with a renewed sense that a large part of the work the Senate does is bipartisan, and the framers of the Constitution developed it in a way that required bipartisanship to get the job done.
In terms of his recent accomplishments, Gardner shared that he has just secured $28 million to begin the development of a pipeline in southeastern Colorado. The pipeline, called the Arkansas Valley Conduit, was first authorized in 1964 by the U.S. Congress during President John F. Kennedy’s administration, but never came to fruition.
Support is continuing to grow for S. 2661, Gardner’s National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, that designates 9-8-8 as a three-digit phone number for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline.
With regards to issues related to commercial real estate, Gardner emphasized that it’s critical to correct inadvertent errors in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including with regards to Qualified Improvement Property (QIP). NAIOP strongly supports fixing these errors, which Gardner called “unfortunate and costly.”
He touched on NAIOP’s other legislative priority issues, noting that the nation could save upwards of $3 billion simply by making government buildings more energy efficient. He also noted that Congress must deliver an infrastructure bill that is fully funded, identifying challenges over tax credits for electric or alternative-fuel vehicles and declining gas tax revenues.
In closing, Gardner re-emphasized that Congress has to work together to find bipartisan ways to achieve what’s in the best interest of the nation. “Washington, D.C., is one of the few places where the more people agree on an issue, the less it’s likely to actually be accomplished. We need to fix that.”
Kathryn Hamilton is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.