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We Must Continue to Fight to Protect the First Amendment

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons warned of the assault on the business community’s right to advocate its priorities in his Member Focus column. A right guaranteed to all political actors by the First Amendment regardless of their point of view.

Last Friday Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a speech to the American Enterprise Institute about the growing threats against the First Amendment.  He warned specifically about government agencies’ attempts to prevent speech, “Right now, there’s an effort over at the FCC to get groups that buy campaign ads to disclose their supporters. This is utterly irrelevant to the mission of the FCC. We need to say so. The SEC is under pressure right now to force publicly-traded companies into disclosing all their political spending, even though it has no core interest in knowing what political causes companies support. This proposal doesn’t protect shareholders, and it doesn’t lead to better corporate governance.”

As Senator McConnell urged in his speech, we must continue to fight against and call out attacks on the First Amendment regardless of the target. Our nation is the strongest when all voices can be heard in the political process and none are singled out or discouraged.

The NAM will continue to work to protect the First Amendment rights of manufacturers and their ability to participate in the political process. Manufacturers have the right to weigh in and voice their concerns about policies impacting their businesses and their ability to create jobs. Continued efforts in Congress to weaken First Amendment protections will only hurt our democracy.

 

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New Commerce Secretary Pritzker Confirmed By Senate

Today the U.S. Senate voted 97-1 to confirm Penny Pritzker to serve as the next Secretary of Commerce. Manufacturers are looking forward to working with Ms. Pritzker on policies to help create jobs and increase our nation’s exports.

Ms. Pritzker comes from a family with a background in manufacturing as her uncle Bob Pritzker once served as chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers. We need action on policies that will lower the cost of doing business and make manufacturers more competitive. Currently it is still 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in the United States compared to our largest trading partners.

We have serious and challenging work ahead of us and we look forward to working with Secretary Pritzker to help manufacturers compete.

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Happy 150th Birthday to Bayer

Congratulations and happy birthday is in order for Bayer. This week the company is celebrating 150 years of science for a better life. The company was founded in 1863 and ever since the company has been innovating and finding ways to manufacture products to make the lives of people, animals and even plants healthier.

Bayer is now a global company with more than 110,000 employees. Modern manufacturing is full of stories just like that of Bayer. Manufacturers are the drivers of innovation throughout the globe. These innovations include agriculture products, vehicles and earth moving equipment to high tech computers and pharmaceutical products to heal the sick.

To celebrate this anniversary Bayer has planned activities worldwide throughout the rest of 2013. These events will focus on the company’s employees and their families and the communities the company serves.

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Technology Is Driving Manufacturing Innovation

As the manufacturing army descended upon Washington this week for the 2013 NAM Manufacturing Summit, one of the key issues discussed with policymakers is the need to improve America’s infrastructure. Additional investment in our nation’s infrastructure, in particular our communications and broadband infrastructure is necessary.

A modern and advanced infrastructure will help drive our nation’s innovation and economy forward, especially when it comes to manufacturing.

“Manufacturing is driving technology, and technology and innovation drive manufacturing,” said NAM Technology Policy Subcommittee Chair and Verizon Vice President of Entertainment and Tech Policy Eric Fitzgerald Reed. “Machine-to-machine (M2M) technology and the Internet of Things are increasingly relevant and important components of manufacturers’ operations, including global supply chains. The manufacturing community is bringing all aspects of the Internet ecosystem together from different sectors of the economy to ensure robust broadband infrastructure is in place so businesses can thrive and grow.”

Verizon has launched two innovation centers located in San Francisco, CA and Waltham, MA to help spur innovation, build collaborative partnerships with other NAM member companies and create cutting-edge technology solutions.

It’s important that members of Congress understand that everyone from manufacturers to policymakers, need to work together if we are going to build the infrastructure systems that allow manufacturers to compete and create jobs.

 

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The Manufacturing Descends on Capitol Hill

Over the past two days the manufacturing army has descended on Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers about the policies impacting their businesses. I had the privilege of sitting in on a meeting yesterday with Dwayne Welch, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for HSM Solutions based in Hickory, NC as he met with Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC).

During the meeting Mr. Welch discussed the need for comprehensive tax reform with Congressman McHenry. Manufacturers currently have the highest corporate tax rate in among developed nations. If manufacturers are going to be able to compete globally and drive our economy comprehensive tax reform is a must.

The need for additional investment in infrastructure was also discussed, as well as comprehensive immigration reform. Manufacturers need access to skilled workers in order to fill many open positions.

Congressman McHenry was very supportive of these critical issues impacting manufacturers. This was just a snap shot of one of more than 200 meetings that took place yesterday and today with members of Congress, their staff and with the Obama Administration.

 

 

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NAM Urges Members of the House to Back Sugar Reform Amendment

Today the NAM sent a Key Vote letter to members of the House urging support for the Pitts/Davis amendment to the Farm Bill which would reform our nation’s sugar program. The U.S. sugar program creates an artificially high domestic price for sugar which harms U.S. food and beverage manufacturers ability to compete.

From the letter:

“A 2006 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce found that for every sugar job saved under the program, three manufacturing jobs are lost. A 2011 report by Iowa State University economists arrived at a similar conclusion, noting that the sugar program annually costs U.S. consumers as much as $3.5 billion and sacrifices 20,000 manufacturing jobs.
The Pitts/Davis/Goodlatte/Blumenauer amendment would eliminate some aspects of current sugar subsidies, especially those added in the 2008 farm bill. It does not repeal the sugar program. However, it would repeal higher price support levels, alleviate trade restrictions that limit the supply of sugar to domestic users and eliminate a requirement that the government buy surplus sugar and sell it at a loss.

Sensible reforms in the amendment would preserve high-paying manufacturing jobs and reduce government-imposed costs on manufacturers. We urge your support.”

 

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Rep. Paulsen Discusses the Trade Challenges in India with Manufacturers

Today Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN) joined the NAM’s India Task Force meeting to discuss the ongoing challenges resulting from India’s recent discriminatory trade practices. Paulsen and Congressman John Larson (D-CT) are circulating a letter urging Secretary of State Kerry to press for an end to this discrimination during his visit to India at the end of this month.

Congressman Erik Paulsen discusses India's discriminatory trade practices with manufacturers.

Congressman Erik Paulsen discusses India's discriminatory trade practices with manufacturers.

Manufacturers are already facing significant barriers to trade and India’s recent actions threaten the trade relationship with our fourth largest trading partner worth $60 billion just last year. The courts and policymakers in India are engaged in a persistent pattern of discrimination designed to benefits India’s economy at the expense of American jobs. Last week the NAM joined 16 other business groups in sending a letter to President Obama asking his Administration to directly engage the Indian government to stop these practices and to keep it from happening again in the future.

From the letter:

“These actions and others constitute a disturbing trend that may continue and even expand to other products, sectors, and countries.  Already there are indications that other countries are considering similar measures.  Such actions are completely at odds with recognized global norms and raise troubling questions about India’s compliance with its international obligations to protect ideas, brands, and inventions and to treat imported goods no less favorably than domestic products.”

The discussion with Congressman Paulsen today was a great opportunity for manufacturers to discuss the concerns about India with a member of the Ways and Means Committee. We will continue to urge members of Congress to ask the Administration to engage India’s government so we can protect American jobs.

 

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Manufacturers Urge Action to Address India’s Unfair Trade Practices

Today the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) joined 16 other business groups on a multi-industry CEO letter addressed to President Obama that calls on the President to address the unfair and discriminatory trade practices by the Government of India against U.S. exports and outlines proposed solutions to end these practices. The letter was signed by the leaders of 17 U.S. industry associations.  A full copy of the letter can be found at: U.S. Business Community Letter

The following groups signed the letter to President Obama

  • National Association of Manufacturers
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • CropLife America
  • BIO
  • Telecommunications Industry Association
  • PhRMA
  • United States Council for International Business
  • Emergency Committee for American Trade
  • American Business Conference
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association
  • Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute
  • Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
  • American Foundry Society
  • Semiconductor Industry Association
  • Dental Trade Alliance
  • National Foreign Trade Council
  • Solar Energy Industries Association
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A Lower Ozone Standard Will Hurt Entire Economy

Later this year the EPA Environmental Protection Agency EPA could move forward with a new regulation that could essentially grind economic growth to a halt and cost millions of jobs. The (EPA) will consider lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone following a five year review process under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The EPA is expected to consider setting the standard between 60 to 70 parts per billion (ppb), or even lower. The EPA just lowered the standard to 75 ppb in 2008, which has yet to be fully implemented.

So what does this mean for the average business owner? Well if they are in a county or area that has been classified as a “non-attainment” they will have an extremely difficult time expanding or even making modifications to their facility. Manufacturers will be faced with strict area-wide emission limits, increased costs, delays and uncertainties caused by restrictive permit requirements.

Earlier today, the American Petroleum Institute (API) released new maps that project areas likely to be classified as non-attainment should the standard be lowered to 60 ppb – an ozone level EPA considered in 2010 before ultimately holding off. As these maps show, manufacturers in nearly every region of the country could end up in a non-attainment inhibiting economic growth across the country. Such a result could cost millions of jobs, billions of dollars and send our economy back into recession.

When the EPA last considered lowering the standard in 2010 and 2011, EPA’s estimated compliance costs were as much as $90 billion per year, with industry estimates even higher. The Obama Administration temporarily backed off this plan after an aggressive campaign from the business community.

 

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EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations Will Hurt Our Economy

Today Politico ran an op-ed from George Allen, former governor and U.S. senator from Virginia, about the economic harm of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas regulations. The costly and burdensome regulations from the EPA will impact every sector of the economy

Exceprt from the piece:

“The EPA began its regulatory expansion into our homes and entrepreneurial livelihoods in 2009 by asserting that greenhouse gas emissions pose a threat to public health. Congress has never explicitly given the EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gases — the agency interprets its power based on an expansive reading of the Clean Air Act.

The Clean Air Act, however, was not meant to regulate greenhouse gases, a fact that has become readily apparent as the EPA has taken up the rulemaking process. The cascading effect of the EPA ruling that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are pollutants would cause America’s economy to grind to a halt. Almost any new construction, from power plants to apartment buildings — 6 million new facilities in all — would be subject to EPA permitting requirements and the costs and delays that go with them.”

The EPA continues to pile on with more and more regulations that are driving up energy prices and hurting our ability to compete. It’s time for Washington to move forward with the policies outlined in the NAM’s Growth Agenda to keep manufacturers competitive.

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