Reps. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.) and Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, recently visited the American Rental Association’s (ARA) Moline, Ill., headquarters to discuss small business issues and the benefits of equipment rental for procuring equipment using government contracts.
Rep. McKeon was in the Quad Cities to tour the Rock Island Arsenal. During the visit to ARA, the discussion revolved around the importance of having the equipment rental option for government agencies, such as the Department of Defense. Christine Wehrman, ARA's executive vice president and CEO, highlighted the benefits of renting rather than purchasing or leasing in the government contracting market and emphasized the need to increase the Small Business Administration’s size standards for the equipment rental industry so that government contracting is open to more equipment rental businesses.
Wehrman’s comments about small business and equipment rental were well received by both congressmen. “We’re from small business backgrounds, Bobby in food and myself in clothing. I’ve been in family business all my life,” McKeon said. “We understand how business works and what it takes to keep it going. Small business drives America.”
Rep. McKeon recalled meeting with ARA of California members during ARA’s National Legislative Caucus this past March in Washington, D.C. He commented on the importance of these meetings to help gauge how policies made at the national level affect the citizens he represents. In addition, both McKeon and Schilling have participated in ARAPAC events held during ARA’s National Legislative Caucus. ARAPAC has supported the campaigns of both congressmen because of their consistent support of policies on which ARA has advocated.
Each of the congressmen left the meeting with an information package, including the economic impact of the equipment rental industry in their state as well as information on ARA’s government contracting initiative and government affairs program.
Conversations about ARA’s concern for small businesses at the national and state levels continued over lunch at a fundraiser for Rep. Schilling, who will be on the November ballot to represent Illinois District 17 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“It is so important that the industry support members of Congress who are pro-small business. Rep. Schilling is one who understands what it is like to run a family business and how policies made by Congress can help or hurt those who are small business owners,” Wehrman says.
“ARA and its members were acquainted with Congressman Schilling and Chairman McKeon from the work that John McClelland, ARA’s vice president of government affairs, has led for our industry in Washington, D.C., as well as through member visits during caucus. The visit to ARA headquarters broadened that relationship and allowed ARA to provide additional information about what is needed to help rental members be more successful in obtaining access to the government procurement business. These congressmen recognized immediately that equipment rental saves taxpayer dollars,” says Alysia Ryan, ARA’s director of state government affairs. “That’s a win for everyone.”