The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), in partnership with the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), led two Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) Hill Days on March 6 and 7 to build momentum on Capitol Hill behind a substantial investment in the country’s infrastructure. Over the past two days, representatives of manufacturers, organized labor, agriculture, retail, finance and local government held roughly 50 meetings with congressional leadership and members from the relevant authorizing committees. Some flew into D.C. from as far away as Texas and Iowa to make the case for upgrades to our nation’s infrastructure systems.
NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr authored an op-ed in The Hill, Manufacturing and construction are expanding and ready to take on infrastructure package. They said:
“In other words, if we want to keep the momentum going, then Washington needs to enact a substantial infrastructure package as soon as possible. It’s an important message and one we’re taking to Capitol Hill today as part of the Infrastructure Working Group, bringing together a wide range of viewpoints, from labor, to retail, to finance, to agriculture. We are united in our determination to demonstrate broad support for infrastructure and see the type of action we think is necessary.”
The IWG has been meeting monthly for the past year, hearing from key policymakers in Congress and the White House and discussing solutions to address our country’s inadequately funded infrastructure. The group launched its first advocacy initiatives this year. At the beginning of this year’s congressional session, the NAM led an IWG letter signed by more than 100 business groups to the Republican and Democrat leaders in the House and Senate, urging them to develop and advance an infrastructure bill. These Hill Days brought that message directly to key members of the House and Senate.
There’s no doubt we need a substantial infrastructure investment. Republicans and Democrats both recognize that America’s economic competitiveness depends on first-rate infrastructure systems. Key manufacturing, retail and labor leaders made the following statements of support below:
David Farr, NAM Board Chair, Chairman and CEO, Emerson
“The time is now to work together to pass a targeted, substantial investment in modernizing our nation’s infrastructure that includes a more reliable, user-based funding stream to keep building roads, bridges, transit systems and highways far into the future. We can create more jobs, boost growth, save lives and help secure America’s mantle of economic leadership in the process. Manufacturers are all in to get infrastructure done, and we stand ready to do our part and build to win.”
Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Unions
“The Infrastructure Working Group Hill Days will allow congressional leaders, both Republicans and Democrats, to hear from a broad and sizable coalition of stakeholders on the importance of investing in our nation’s infrastructure. The state of our infrastructure presents a real challenge—the 14 affiliated unions of North America’s Building Trades know it, and the American people know it. It is now up to Congress to meet this challenge with a broad, robust, responsible bipartisan infrastructure package, and we are willing to work with our coalition partners and members of Congress to pass a bill that addresses our present infrastructure challenges and creates good job opportunities for the hard-working craft professionals of North America’s Building Trades Unions.”
Matthew Shay, President and CEO, National Retail Federation
“Representing some of the nation’s largest shippers, NRF continues to call on Congress to follow the president’s lead and act on infrastructure this year. If we keep kicking the can down the road, this urgent issue will become even more challenging and costly to address. We hope bipartisan discussions will produce the infrastructure solutions American retailers, workers and consumers have been waiting for.”
The NAM has been a national leader for years on infrastructure and enshrined manufacturers priorities in our “Building to Win” proposal. Manufacturers will continue to lead this push for results and work with lawmakers so that a bipartisan infrastructure investment makes it to the finish line.
On Wednesday, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that the administration’s infrastructure proposal would be released in the new year. At the same time, Special Assistant to the President for Infrastructure Policy DJ Gribbin joined a bipartisan infrastructure conversation that featured House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), manufacturers, farmers, truckers and infrastructure financiers. Making manufacturing more competitive by advancing an infrastructure package that increases certainty was at the center of one panel discussion, titled “Rural America and an Infrastructure Package.”
Shop floors are commonly located in rural areas and rely on the same vital infrastructure needs as manufacturers in urban areas. Manufacturers look forward to a 2018 infrastructure package that advances and invests in energy, water, broadband and transportation infrastructure projects. Regardless of whether it is a rural or urban area, if ports are clogged, trucks are delayed, power is down or the internet has a lapse, productivity and customer service are impacted.
That said, rural infrastructure faces different challenges in funding and delivering projects given low population levels. They are often not suited to public–private partnerships. During the event, Gribbin outlined that President Donald Trump’s plan would include a special rural component or set-aside to ensure that rural infrastructure is not overlooked.
The National Association of Manufacturers continues to build support among diverse stakeholder groups by advancing a comprehensive infrastructure proposal in the House and Senate.
As the Ways and Means Committee finished the work of amending the House tax reform bill, Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) stated that efforts are already underway to begin consideration of legislation to address key Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes that are set to go into effect in 2018. This includes both the job-killing medical device tax and health insurance tax (HIT). In a statement, Chairman Brady promised, “We will move to these important health policies separately and immediately after conclusion of our tax reform efforts.” To read the full statement, click here. Read More
On Wednesday, October 11, Associated Industries of Missouri President and CEO Ray McCarty testified on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) at a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, titled “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Highways and Transit Stakeholders’ Perspectives.” Other participants in the hearing included Missouri Department of Transportation Director Patrick McKenna, Granite Construction President and CEO James Roberts, North America’s Building Trades Unions Secretary-General Brent Booker and Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. Read More
The Senate returned from its August recess, and health care concerns continue to loom. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee kicked off a series of hearings exploring weaknesses of the individual insurance market that have developed as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Because a legislative effort to repeal and replace the ACA failed in the Senate in July, these hearings signal a fresh start and a bipartisan approach to building consensus on health care reform. Read More
Infrastructure Week 2017 reached record high levels of participation by doubling both the number of events that occurred in 2016 as well as the number of affiliate members that joined in calling on policymakers to invest in infrastructure now. According to first reports, more than 1,500 people contacted their representatives or senators last week alone. Since May 1, Infrastructure Week made 175 million social media impressions. Our collective voice was loud, and it was heard.
To ensure manufacturers hold President Donald Trump to his commitment to make U.S. infrastructure “second to none,” the call to action must continue from diverse, united stakeholders who recognize that infrastructure is the backbone of a strong manufacturing economy. We need every manufacturing employee and company to engage in this call for infrastructure because our work is not done.
Kathryn Karol is the vice president of global government and corporate affairs for Caterpillar Inc. She stated,
“At Caterpillar, we believe that every week should be Infrastructure Week. We are pleased that the president and Congress agree that wise investments in infrastructure must be a national priority. Caterpillar and our customers stand ready to deliver on those investments and make infrastructure an engine for economic growth and job creation in the U.S.”
Please keep the momentum of Infrastructure Week going by using the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) infrastructure toolkit to contact members of Congress with emails, phone calls and meetings. The NAM will continue to push for a comprehensive plan to revitalize the nation’s transportation, energy, water and broadband infrastructure. This week, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons furthered the NAM call that now is the time to build with a piece published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, titled “Time to act on Brent Spence Bridge and nation’s crumbling infrastructure.”
During the fifth-annual Infrastructure Week, the NAM, as a steering committee member, led efforts to unite varied voices behind a broad call for infrastructure investment. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao gave the keynote address at the launch event on Monday, followed by a discussion between Timmons and Laborers’ International Union of North America General President Terry O’Sullivan on how manufacturers depend on infrastructure. C-SPAN covered the event.
Ingersoll-Rand Chairman and CEO and NAM Executive Committee member Michael Lamach represented the NAM in an interview on CNBC. Manitowoc Company President and CEO Barry Pennypacker authored a Shopfloor blog on local infrastructure needs and represented the NAM in a roundtable discussion with congressional leaders, business executives and Department of Transportation special advisers. Also on the NAM Shopfloor blog, Fluor Corporation Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Vice Chair David Seaton explored the benefits of public–private partnerships, and NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Ross Eisenberg outlined manufacturers’ dependence on robust energy infrastructure. The NAM co-hosted an official Infrastructure Week Congressional Reception on Wednesday, May 17, featuring congressional co-chair Reps. Garret Graves (R-LA) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY).
The Ports of Indiana and American Association of Port Authorities hosted an infrastructure roundtable in Indianapolis that included participation from NAM members Subaru of Indiana, ArcelorMittal and the Indiana Manufacturers Association. The meeting also included federal officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as the Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner. The discussion was about advocating major infrastructure improvements, including the Soo Locks and specifically the Poe Lock in Upper Peninsula Michigan, which every Midwest steel manufacturer relies on. A Shopfloor blog can be found here.
The NAM’s efforts in combination with the efforts of thousands of other Infrastructure Week participants were extraordinary, but we must stay engaged. A comprehensive, pro-manufacturing infrastructure package faces political and philosophical challenges. Despite differences, we must stand united in support of overdue infrastructure revitalization to bolster economic competitiveness here in the United States.