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NAW Distributors Visit Bush at White House

Feb. 7, 2003
NAW helps distributors lobby

Topping off a two-day meeting that offered distributors new sales, marketing and management ideas, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) treated its members to a special briefing with President George W. Bush.

The briefing followed NAW's 2003 Executive Summit, held in Washington Jan. 27-29, and is the second time in three years that NAW members met with the president. Saying his ability to "get things done" in Washington was dependent in part on "friends like NAW," President Bush thanked NAW for its endorsement of his economic stimulus program. He called tax relief a crucially important component of that stimulus and said, "The reduction of all income tax rates is ultimately fair."

The president also said lowering taxes for small wholesale-distribution firms and other companies would aid business, consumers and the entire economy. He said the economic stimulus package included a new provision that would allow small firms to write off as expenses up to $75,000 a year instead of the current annual limit of $25,000, and that this would encourage those firms to increase spending on goods, services and additional human resources.

Also addressing the NAW gathering at the White House was Stephen Friedman, assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the National Economic Council. Friedman led the NAW members through the president's stimulus plan, which NAW has supported largely through the Tax Relief Coalition (TRC). TRC was co-founded by NAW to support passage of the president's tax relief package in 2001. More than 1,000 organizations representing 1.8 million businesses are TRC members.

Following the White House meeting, Dirk Van Dongen, NAW's president said, "Our members have been very energetic supporters of the president. We continue to back his economic agenda wholeheartedly. It was a privilege to have this opportunity to express our enthusiasm."

Immediately prior to the briefing, Bush visited privately with NAW Chairman W. Grady Rosier, Chairman-Elect André B. Lacy and Van Dongen.

During the 2003 Executive Summit, NAW members also had the opportunity to hear from U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. She voiced the Bush Administration's support for an overhaul of the overtime regulations now on the books and personal reemployment accounts that would offer $3,000 for training, education or relocations expenses to unemployed workers.

Chao said the Bush Administration would push hard for the passage Sales Incentive Compensation Act (H.R. 2070), which would exempt inside sales personnel from overtime.

"We want to make this law more applicable to the 21st century workplace," she said.

- Jim Lucy, EW