Timmons: Dakota Access Decision Defies Logic, Science and Sound Policy

By | Communications, Energy, Infrastructure, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement after President Obama denied the permits necessary to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“This decision defies logic, science and sound policy-decision making, and the consequences can be measured in lost work for manufacturers and those in the manufacturing supply chain. 

“If a project that has involved all relevant stakeholders and followed both the letter and spirit of the law at every step of this approval process can be derailed, what signal does that send to others considering building new energy infrastructure in this country?

“We can only hope that President-elect Trump will stand by his promises to invest aggressively in new infrastructure in America and start by overturning this misguided decision and allow the completion of the pipeline.”

Learn more about how energy infrastructure opens up opportunities here.

CONTACT: Jennifer Drogus (202) 637-3090

employment

November Jobs Report Shows Challenges Remain for Manufacturers

By | General, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

We have seen a steady stream of good economic numbers in the past few weeks, including today’s jobs numbers. First and foremost, the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, its lowest level since August 2007. At the same time, nonfarm payrolls rose by 178,000, which was on par with the consensus estimate of around 180,000. Overall, this mirrors healthier figures for consumer spending and improved business sentiment in recent data, and these reports show that the U.S. economy has strengthened. This should help cement a Federal Reserve rate hike at their upcoming meeting on December 13-14.

Despite these positives, manufacturers have continued to struggle, as evidenced by the loss of 4,000 workers in November, with 60,000 fewer workers on net year-to-date. It was the fourth straight monthly decline for employment in the sector. Moving forward, manufacturing leaders are cautiously optimistic about demand and production for 2017, and we would expect that this increase in activity would lead to additional hiring.

With that said, it’s clear the incoming administration, which has touted manufacturing as a top priority, has its work cut out for it.  Manufacturers look forward to working with the next Administration and Congress to enact policies – from infrastructure, to comprehensive tax reform – that will help spur America’s manufacturing economy.  To this end, as an extension of the NAM’s Competing to Win policy platform, the NAM will be releasing individual policy white papers in the coming weeks.  Each white paper will focus on a specific policy priority that manufacturers urge the incoming presidential administration and Congress to focus on and will be send to the respective transition teams.

There are also things the current Congress/administration can do to help grow jobs including take action to restore the Ex-Im Bank to full functionality.  As long as Ex-Im cannot fully operate, manufacturers in the U.S. will continue to lose manufacturing jobs to our foreign competitors.

Manufacturers Call for Action on Ex-Im in Lame Duck

By | Communications, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

NAM Tells Congress to Put Politics Aside and Restore Bank to Full Functionality

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement calling on Congress to use the lame-duck session to restore the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank to full functionality:

“As long as the Ex-Im Bank cannot fully operate, America will lose manufacturing jobs to other countries, which are winning new sales and manufacturing while our hands are tied. It’s time for Congress to show some backbone—and real leadership—to make the agency work again for hardworking Americans across the country. Jobs and livelihoods cannot be sacrificed to score a political point. A supermajority of Congress has already settled the question of Ex-Im reauthorization. Voters just reaffirmed the importance they place on strengthening manufacturing, and manufacturers need a fully functional Ex-Im Bank to compete and win again in the global economy. Anything less means manufacturers in the United States will lose. In fact, our foreign competitors would love to see the Ex-Im Bank remain hobbled.”

CONTACT: Jennifer Drogus, (202) 637-3090

IRS Hearing Day on Family-Owned Business Estate Tax Regs

By | Regulations, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Taxation | No Comments

Family-owned businesses and their advocates are watching closely the hearing happening today at the IRS on the so-called “minority valuation proposed regulations.” These proposed regulations, released in August, would alter how families are able to value of minority interests in a family-owned company, in some cases resulting in a tax increase of over 30 percent.

In comments submitted by the NAM and the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition of which the NAM is a co-director and co-founder, we highlighted the numerous concerns manufacturers and family-owned businesses across the economy have about this proposal. Shortly after the release of the proposal, when the potential impact begun to be understood by the business community and as concerns were beginning to be raised, Treasury’s policy team began to assert that the proposal is not meant to reduce the use of minority valuation discounts for lack of marketability and lack of control that are used in determining the value of shares sold to family-members in a closely-held business. Instead that they were just seeking to target abuses in the valuation discounts utilized by some simply to avoid taxes. However, as the IRS and Treasury teams will hear today from the grand majority of the 30 people testifying at today’s hearing, the impact as understood by the tax and estate planning community is very different.

Manufacturers appreciate that Treasury is listening and that today’s hearing affords the public another opportunity to weigh in on this rule. However, the negative impact of these proposed regulations on NAM family-owned businesses cannot be overstated. In a recent letter, the third generation owner of an active manufacturing enterprise explained the potential impact of the regulations:

Our board has been working an ownership succession plan for years. Stock valuation and financing stock transfer are an ongoing challenge. Stock is transferred through the sales, gifts and redemptions of shares and the value of the stock is the fair market value at time of transfer. We are within a couple of years of completing the transfer of ownership from the 3rd to the 4th and 5th generations. Our advisors have informed us the proposed regulations will eliminate discounts that have traditionally been applied. If this happens, the cost of transferring the stock will increase by 43%. This will put an additional strain on our capital and would lead us to underinvest the capital required to grow or even sustain our company. It means diminished ability to invest in job creating, value creating and value-retaining projects.

The last line of our member’s letter says it all and today’s hearing should reinforce what they’ve already heard in the voluminous comments to Treasury that they should withdraw these proposed regulations and not harm family-owned businesses.

ism

ISM: Manufacturing Production in November Expanded at Fastest Clip since July 2015

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rebounded once again in November, growing at a five-month high. The composite index rose from 51.9 in October to 53.2 in November, expanding for the third straight month. This is encouraging for a sector that has seen subpar growth over much of the past two years on global headwinds and economic anxieties. Indeed, manufacturing production (up from 54.6 to 56.0) in November expanded at its fastest clip since July 2015, with new orders (up from 52.1 to 53.0) also accelerating slightly. Exports (down from 52.5 to 52.0) and employment (down from 52.9 to 52.3) slowed a little for the month but remained positive, with hiring expanding for only the third time this year so far.

Overall, manufacturers appear to be more upbeat in their assessments of the economy and about demand. The sample comments tend to echo this. One computer and electronic products leader reported, “Strong manufacturing numbers in anticipation of strong year-end bookings.” Other comments also mirrored that positive trend, describing activity as “steady” or “consistent” or “good.” Read More

NAM Supports New Administration’s Infrastructure Promise in Building to Win

By | Energy, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

On his list of Putting America First, President-Elect Trump has prioritized rebuilding America’s infrastructure.  From roads and bridges to pipelines and ports, America has an opportunity to come together to rebuild the nation and grow the economy through these critical investments.

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons recognized the President-Elect’s strong commitment to making policies that will jumpstart our economy and highlighted this in a letter to the incoming president saying:

“You outlined during the campaign and made very clear in your victory speech that we have a tremendous opportunity before us to rebuild our infrastructure, spur economic growth and accelerate job creation as a result. I look forward to continuing to work closely with you, your transition team and your administration to put a serious, bold plan into action.”

The letter highlights the NAM’s latest initiative called Building to Win. The hallmark of this effort is a comprehensive blueprint that recommends policy solutions to some of the nation’s greatest infrastructure challenges and also highlights some funding and financing options to make the investments American workers and businesses need.

America’s aging infrastructure is one of the greatest obstacles challenging the nation. The lack of modernization is a threat to security, safety, and growth throughout our communities. For instance, aging pipelines and bottlenecks in energy transportation deny families fair access to affordable, reliable energy. However, by creating, developing and maintaining the pipeline network communities deserve, Americans are able to lower their energy costs and allocate those resources toward other needs.

Fair access to energy isn’t the only reason action is required. NAM’s Building to Win blueprint also advocates for a more streamlined and transparent regulatory process for infrastructure projects. Action is needed if the United States is to save itself from the cumbersome regulatory process that surrounds infrastructure projects.  Currently bureaucratic red tape is slowing down the modernization that will spur economic growth through community investments, new tax revenue, and job creation.

As the NAM letter to the President-elect states: “We believe that a strong bipartisan program to fix our ailing infrastructure will be a significant step to help bring our country back together.”

With the shared goal of improving America’s infrastructure, the NAM will work with Congress and the new administration to overcome our infrastructure challenges to allow the economy and our communities to continue to grow.

Timmons Calls on Mnuchin, Trump to “Make Our Economy Work Better for Everyone”

By | Communications, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main, Taxation | No Comments

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement after the nomination of Steve Mnuchin as treasury secretary:

“Manufacturers welcome the nomination of Steve Mnuchin as treasury secretary and his commitment to accelerating economic growth with much needed tax reform. Tax reform that benefits manufacturing workers is one of the most important ways to jumpstart more jobs and opportunities for all Americans.

“Mr. Mnuchin has previously articulated exactly what manufacturers need to compete and win in a global economy: a fairer, simpler and more competitive tax code. That’s what we’ve called for in our ‘Competing to Win’ agenda, and that’s why we look forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump and Mr. Mnuchin to deliver on their promises and make our economy work better for everyone.”

CONTACT: Jennifer Drogus (202) 637-3090

Timmons: Wilbur Ross Will Bring Unique Understanding of Manufacturing to Commerce

By | Communications, Economy, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Former NAM Member Knows Challenges Manufacturers Face

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement after the nomination of Wilbur Ross to serve as secretary of commerce:

“Wilbur Ross will bring a unique understanding of what it takes to fuel manufacturing enterprises into this vital role. As one of the savviest investors in the world who was once a member of the NAM while leading International Steel Group, Mr. Ross has a firsthand understanding of the challenges manufacturers face to remain globally competitive in today’s economy.

“To raise wages, put more people to work and out-innovate the rest of the world, manufacturers in America need fairer taxes and sane regulations as well as expanded trade and strong trade enforcement. We’re encouraged by Mr. Ross’ advocacy on many of these fronts and his extensive business experience. We look forward to working closely with him and the Trump administration to make manufacturing in our country stronger.”

CONTACT: Jennifer Drogus (202) 637-3090

Timmons: Elaine Chao a Proven Leader, Will Help Revitalize Nation’s Infrastructure

By | Shopfloor Main | No Comments

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement after the nomination of Elaine Chao as secretary of transportation:

“Elaine Chao is a friend and proven leader with the necessary experience and policy insights to helm the Department of Transportation during this critical time. As manufacturers have laid out in our ‘Building to Win’ infrastructure blueprint, now is the time for a bold and serious investment in our nation’s highways and bridges, railways and airports, seaports and pipelines. 

“To secure our economic leadership in the world, we need a dramatic renewal of our nation’s ailing infrastructure. Our inaction is costing us jobs and opportunity, while threatening lives and livelihoods. President-elect Donald Trump understands the urgency of this need and has called for infrastructure investment, and his team has drawn from ‘Building to Win’ in outlining his vision for a path forward. We are encouraged that this will be a top issue for the incoming administration.

“The NAM looks forward to working with Elaine when she takes on her new role. Voters have made clear that manufacturing is a priority for this country, and manufacturing’s success depends on revitalizing our infrastructure.”

CONTACT: Jennifer Drogus (202) 637-3090

Impeding the development of life-saving products is what’s really “dangerous”

By | Health Care, Innovation, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

If you’re following debates in the Senate, you may have heard Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others refer to one important piece of pending legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act, as “corrupt” and “dangerous.”

Well she certainly got my attention. But what is really alarming is that Sen. Warren’s attack is baseless. In fact, the effort to derail the 21st Century Cures Act is what is really dangerous—and alarming.

Here’s why:

Manufacturers of medical devices and pharmaceuticals save lives and improve the human condition. Their breakthroughs in scientific advances and technological innovations create jobs for scientists and researchers as well as machinists and those on the manufacturing line.

Their work is essential to both the health of our families and our economy.

Unfortunately, due to an outdated federal device and drug approval process, manufacturers in the U.S. face burdensome costs and unnecessary delays in the development of innovative life-saving products.

The 21st Century Cures legislation works to address these challenges. It will modernize our approach to the discovery, development, and delivery of medical innovations in order to ensure that the United States maintains its rightful position of leadership in the global economy – at a time when foreign competitors are catching up.

This bill, which represents a bipartisan negotiation in the House and Senate, has been significantly debated over the past two years. The Act focuses on important investments in basic research that will lead to further advancement in the development of treatments and products, helps fight diseases and other chronic conditions, and allows for small business flexibility to provide health care options to employees.

In addition, the legislation also includes a fix to the Affordable Care Act that will allow small businesses to use Health Reimbursement Arrangements to provide health care options for their employees, a practice that is currently heavily fined by the Internal Revenue Service.

Attempts to call this effort “corrupt” and “dangerous” are baseless and more about making points based on political rhetoric, completely ignoring the positive and much needed provisions of the legislation.

Too much progress is at stake. Americans should hold Senator Warren accountable for attempting to hold up these much needed medical advances – all to score political points.