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June 18, 2011 9:00 AM CDT

MCAA Legislative Conference Recap

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Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (center) accepts the MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award.

Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (center) accepts the MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award.
This year’s MCAA Legislative Conference was even better attended than the 2010 event. Already, we are seeing the fruits of our labors, as we continue to make progress on the military construction/lifecycle costing issue, and Members of Congress are cosponsoring the 3% withholding legislation. We would like to send a big “thank you” to those MCAA members who made the trip to Washington, D.C. We’d especially like to thank the South of 40 members who made their first advocacy trip to Washington.

Highlighting our trip were the presentations of the second annual “MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award.” MCAA created the award to provide specific recognition to Members of Congress who have embraced the spirit of the award and led the legislative fight for MCAA priorities.

The award simply embodies the following:
As an association of small businesses, MCAA is committed to protecting a favorable business climate in which our members can grow and prosper. American small business is one of the world’s largest economies, with nearly six million small employers, 90 percent of which employ fewer than 20 people.

However, federal regulations and policies continue to assault the freedoms of the small business owner and threaten economic and job growth. Regulatory costs, tax complexity and compliance, and intrusive laws and mandates passed by Congress will discourage new small business creation and curtail job growth and economic opportunity.

The MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Awards recognize Members of Congress that have championed pro-small business policies supported by MCAA. Recipients understand that MCAA member companies, free from regulatory burden, can focus on growing their businesses and providing jobs, which will strengthen the U.S. economy and allow everyone to prosper.
The 2011 MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award recipients are Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Congressman Heath Shuler (D-NC), Senator John Cornyn (RTX), and Senator Mark Pryor (D-AS).

Congressman Paul Ryan received the award because of his leadership on budget, spending, and deficit issues. If our economy is to rebound, we need leadership like his to control government spending and spur the economy, which will create jobs for our industry.

Congressman Heath Shuler has been a staunch supporter of small business causes, and continues to oppose burdensome regulations that impact small business and industry.

Senator John Cornyn remains a champion of small business issues and fiscal restraint. As a member of the Armed Services and Finance Committees, he understands the budgetary implications of life-cycle costing.

Senator Mark Pryor sits on the Appropriations Military Construction Subcommittee and Small Business Committee and has been an advocate for small business interests and ensuring that government does not become an obstacle for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

The 2011 Congress has been active, and the House is pushing forward with the budget and appropriations processes. We will continue to follow the action on the military construction bill and, particularly, the language concerning life-cycle costing. The Senate may move at a slower pace, but soon the White House will start pushing for legislative priorities in preparation for 2012. Therefore, the MCAA must remain active in promoting our priorities and seeking opportunities to advance our legislative agenda.

About the Authors

Matthew B. Keelen, founder and President of the government affairs firm The Keelen Group, is a widely known and highly regarded lobbyist and political strategist with experience building relationships with key figures and a reputation for consistently delivering hard-earned victories. Acknowledged for his innate ability to establish and develop long lasting political relationships, Keelen has dozens of time-tested relationships with Members of Congress, including many who are in positions of considerable influence today. To learn more about The Keelen Group, visit

Michael J. Falencki is the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of policy for The Keelen Group, a government relations/lobbying, consulting and strategic services practice in Washington, D.C. Michael spent more than four years working on Capitol Hill and has spearheaded policy, legislative, and communications strategies for a host of clients, including the Mason Contractors Association of America, AT&T, The Society of the Plastics Industry and Archer Daniels Midland. To learn more about The Keelen Group, visit


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