Contractors voiced their concerns about the industry to members of Congress.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. - Members of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association walked the streets around Capitol Hill April 14 to lobby for small-business issues.

Several members met with their Congress members and senators to discuss topics important to the HVAC and plumbing industries.

Prior to the visits, more than 125 participants attended a breakfast, during which senators and Congress members shared the latest news on issues such as the estate tax, utility competition, "association" health plans and tort reform.

Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) discussed his thoughts on the prospect of passing an estate tax repeal bill, also known as the "death tax," in the current Congressional session. Kyl also said there is momentum to get the bill passed this year, and predicted that the Senate will consider the legislation after the May recess.

Legislative conference attendees also heard from Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), who talked about construction-industry issues such as regulation and lawsuits.

"You're one lawsuit away from losing your business," he said. "Tort reform is a real issue."

The third speaker, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), talked about the status of legislation that would protect plumbing, heating and cooling contractors from unfair competition from utilities. PHCC supports Feingold's efforts to include an amendment to the energy bill that would separate utilities and its unregulated affiliates. Feingold said that the House is expected to consider the energy bill soon.