More Than Progress: A High Note for the House!

By December 8, 2006Energy, Health Care, Miscellaneous, Trade

From the NAM news release upon House passage Friday of H.R. 6406 and H.R. 6111, legislation that enacts key manufacturing priorities in energy, trade, health care and R&D.

“This legislation breaks new ground in providing relief to American’s consumers and industry,” NAM President John Engler said. “There is no question that our nation’s leadership depends upon manufacturing, and these bills will go far toward keeping factories running and jobs in America. It’s imperative the Senate follow suit and get a bill to the President’s desk.”

In particular, Engler commended action allowing access to domestic energy supplies in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). “Exploring the OCS is an important step toward a more abundant, flexible and affordable energy supply that is critical to a strong U.S. economy,” Engler said.

Turning to trade, Engler also praised inclusion of a number of key trade initiatives, including the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) , the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA) and Permanent Normal Trade Relations for Vietnam. “These are all crucial trade programs to U.S. manufacturers and our trade partners in the developing world,” he said.

Reuters highlights the trade provisions which passed the House later in the evening in this story, here.

And as a final note this evening, outgoing Ways & Means Chairman Bill Thomas, (R-CA), issued a news release upon passage of the trade provisions. The text is in the extended entry.

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 6406, a bill addressing a number of trade issues, by a 212-184 vote.

The legislation continues ongoing U.S. humanitarian efforts by creating economic opportunity for developing countries through trade. It also extends permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Vietnam. Finally, the bill includes 500 thoroughly vetted tariff reductions on products that are not produced in the U.S. These tariff reductions help lower costs for U.S. manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

“This legislation will help to create stronger trading partners for the future, while also recognizing our responsibility as having one of the world’s strongest economies to help developing countries grow,” said Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA). “It’s important to note that the Generalized System of Preferences extension applies the same rules to all countries equally. This will help ensure that the benefit is available to those that need it most.”

“Today’s vote also represents a significant milestone in our efforts to mend the wounds of one of the most divisive conflicts in our nation’s history,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA). “Granting PNTR status to Vietnam will help complete the process of reconciliation and foster a new relationship through mutual economic prosperity.”

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Carter Wood says:

    Mr. Russell: Agree with your point. Indeed, President John Engler often includes discussion of conservation and energy efficiency in his speeches, including DOE’s energy assessment programs. See here, for example.

    Manufacturers, after all, are leaders in this area.

    The topical issue — timely, blogworthy issue — was the OCS energy bill. But for sure, conservation and efficiency are vitally important.

  • I applaud your efforts in vocalizing the manufacturing sector’s struggle with energy market volatility. However, I note that NAM’s position on this subject merely calls for relief in the form of increased energy supplies, to be achieved by stepping up power plant construction and through more drilling and digging of fossil fuels. Certainly, new energy supplies must be secured. But think about the lead time for developing new capacity and supplies. Will it be available in five years? Or ten years? And how much new capacity should be added? Meanwhile, some forward-thinking companies are identifying energy efficiency initiatives that pay for themselves in less than two years. I understand how the advocacy game works in Washington– simple, one-dimensional messages are more likely to get legislative support. It may be perceived as “talking out of both sides of its mouth” if the NAM were to call for both more energy supplies AND energy efficiency resources.

    Here’s my point: “new energy supplies” and “efficient energy use” are not an either-or proposition. The two concepts are complementary, and I’ll explain why this is so.

    Fact: of all energy delivered to U.S. industrial facilities, about 40 percent is not applied as intended to works in progress (see In other words, a lot of energy is wasted. Avoiding as much of that waste as possible is not only economically feasible at the facility level, but in fact desirable from the perspective of the general public. If energy consumption is inflated through waste, then investment in new energy capacity will be similarly inflated. Building new energy production capacity is fine, but let’s minimize that investment so that valuable capital dollars can be directed to other much-needed investments.

    Closing comment: The U.S. Department of Energy is currently providing no-cost energy assessments (audits) to large industrial facilities (see Is the NAM promoting this to its membership? This is certainly worth at least one mention on The application period is currently open for companies seeking an assessment in 2007. Be sure to check out the published results describing over 100 such assessments already conducted in 2006 (see