A number of TSCPA members recently attended the AICPA Council meeting in Washington, D.C. The Council is the governing body of AICPA and has approximately 250 members who serve on it from around the U.S. It is sort of the AICPA version of the U.S. House of Representatives. The number of members serving from a state is dependent upon the number of AICPA members residing in that state. Thus, Texas has one of the largest delegations on the Council.
In addition to conducting the normal business of the Council at this meeting, Council members also took the time to conduct visits with their elected representatives in the U.S. Congress. And in this regard, Texas also has one of the largest Congressional delegations with 36 representatives and two senators for a total of 38 out of the 535 elected federal offices nationwide, or a little over 7 percent of the total.
During our two-day stay, we collectively visited with 22 of our U.S. representative’s offices and our two senators for a total of 24 visits. In some cases, we were able to meet with the legislator in person and in others, we met with a member of their staff.
During our visits, we discussed a number of items of interest to the CPA profession. Some concerned issues where there is actual legislation up for consideration in the current Congress. Others were broader matters like tax reform and the “Principles of Good Tax Policy” developed by the AICPA Tax Division and the profession’s concerns about the federal deficit and AICPA’s campaign on that issue – “What’s at Stake.”
If you have never met with a member of Congress, it is a limited opportunity to make your point. A normal meeting will last about 15-20 minutes tops. So you have to be brief and to the point. And you have to realize that there are other individuals (constituents) and groups meeting before you and after you. Basically, members of Congress spend most of their days in these types of constituent meetings. So they are constantly being bombarded with information and requests concerning all sorts of issues.
We are fortunate that two of our Texas representatives are CPAs, Mike Conaway (R-11th) from Midland-Odessa and Bill Flores (R-17th) from Bryan-College Station. Some of our Council members got to meet in person with both Mike and Bill, and it is clear we are lucky as a profession to have them both serving in the U.S. Congress. Their knowledge and experience as CPAs is extremely beneficial to the public policy debate. If we had more CPAs serving in Congress, we probably would not have the current fiscal mess that we face as a country.
Generally, as Americans, we like to complain about our government. But when you take the time to visit a member of Congress, you realize that we are fortunate to live in a country where we can do that kind of complaining and where we can visit with our elected officials to discuss the issues we care about.