Earlier this month, the Greater Houston Partnership hosted more than 50 business leaders, elected officials, and policy experts in our nation’s capital to advance our region’s most pressing issues. Throughout the week, several topics rose to the top of our federal legislative agenda, including the energy transition, infrastructure investments (specifically, the Texas Coastal Spine barrier), and the possibility of winning a headquarter location for ARPA-H.
Photos from the Partnership’s 2023 D.C. Fly-In are available here.
Fly-In Meeting Highlights
The 2023 D.C. Fly-In began with a political update from author and journalist Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for the New York Times, as he set the stage for the rest of the Fly-In by thoughtfully explaining our current political climate and how those dynamics will impact policy-making moving forward.
Members of Congress and a Day on the Hill
The delegation heard from over a dozen Members of Congress on their policy priorities for the 118th Congress that will impact the business community and our region. Members of the Houston delegation expressed the importance of working with industry leaders to advance issues at the top of the Partnership’s agenda, such as passing legislation to support the energy transition and protect our Texas coastline. House Members of Congress included:
- Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07)
- Congressman Randy Weber (TX-14)
- Congressman Tony Gonzales (TX-03)
- Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32)
- Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36)
- Congressman Wesley Hunt (TX-38)
- Congressman Dan Crenshaw (TX-02)
- Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
- Chairman Michael McCaul (TX-10)
While on the Hill, the group also heard from Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and neighboring state Senator Markwayne Mullin on key issues in the Senate, like supporting American growth and businesses through the diversification of energy sources. The Office of Senator Cassidy also joined the group to speak about Texas and Louisiana’s shared interest in protecting the critical energy infrastructure that is located along our gulf coast.
We closed the day on the Hill with Wes Hambrick, Director for the Governor’s Texas Office of State-Federal Relations, who spoke to our members about the importance of the Houston region and priorities laid out in the Governor’s budget.
At the Partnership’s delegation dinner at P.J. Clarke’s, Congressman Michael McCaul, shared his insights on America’s national security, engaging with our allies, and the biggest threats to democracy.
- Noah Deich, Deputy Assistant Secretary, DOE, under the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, gave his outlook on the future of the energy industry and the critical role Houston plays in leading the energy transition.
- Secretary Don Cravins Jr., Under Secretary for DOC’s Minority Business Development Agency, spoke about the department’s initiatives to support the success of minority businesses domestically and abroad.
- Lynda Tran, Director, DOT, was accompanied by Coral Torres, Senior Advisor at the Federal Highway Administration, to provide an update on the department’s key infrastructure investments in our region.
- Alicia Brown, Administrator at NASA, discussed NASA’s current direction, exploration projects such as the Artemis program, and collaborating with domestic and international partners to advance its mission.
White House Officials
Asma Mirza from the White House’s Infrastructure Implementation Team shared the administration’s plan for rolling out large infrastructure bills like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Finally, Heather Boushey, who serves on President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, shared the current priorities of the Council as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes managing supply chain shortages amidst increasing demand and forming partnerships with businesses to anticipate and troubleshoot failures.
The Partnership was joined by industry trade groups, including the American Petroleum Institute, the American Chemistry Council, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Partnership and our member companies often collaborate with these national trade groups on crucial federal policy issues.
- Jack Howard, Senior Vice President for Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Amanda E. Eversole, Executive Vice President & Chief Advocacy Officer, American Petroleum Institute
- Chris Jahn, President & CEO, American Chemistry Council (ACC)
Houston in the Nation’s Capital
Overall, the 2023 Washington D.C. Fly-In cements a step forward in positioning Houston as a leader and partner in our nation’s capital.
Learn more about the Partnership’s Public Policy efforts here.