NAM’s played host to House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn at our just-completed issues luncheon, part of the “72 Hours to Educate and Celebrate” advocacy drive, and it was great to have the South Carolina Democrat address key priorities for manufacturers: energy, R&D and health care. We can find “common ground,” he stressed, a view we heartily share.
Clyburn’s comments on energy were particularly well-received, as he offered support for cellulosic ethanol, clean coal and nuclear power. South Carolina obtains 54 percent of its power from nuclear energy, he said, and nuclear power must play a role in addressing America’s energy needs. In response to a question from NAM President John Engler, the Congressman encouraged serious discussion of on-site storage of nuclear waste.
As for cellulosic ethanol, Clyburn seemed optimistic about various crops proving useful:
“It may be switchgrass in Minnesota and North Dakota. It may be soybeans in South Carolina. And I’ll tell you something else. One of the most cellulosic plants you can find anywhere in the world is kudzu! And if we can find some redeeming value in kudzu, I think we will have done everybody a big favor.”
Even us northerners laughed at that one.
And not to overlook this morning’s stimulating discussions on Capitol Hill at the NAM’s Women’s Caucus Breakfast, featuring remarks by Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, Rep. Melissa Bean, D-IL, and Ingrid Brase of National Starch. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-OH, stopped by, as well, offering welcome comments about working together on issues. All in all, a good day.
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