Manufacturers Applaud Signing of GMO Labeling Law

By | Regulations, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Today, President Obama signed into law bipartisan legislation (S. 764) that will establish a mandatory federal standard for the labeling of food and beverage products that contain ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMO). The bill was sent to the president for his signature after the House passed the bill on July 14. The Senate passed the bill on July 7.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) supported S. 764 as amended and praises the leadership of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in crafting the compromise bill. Before votes in the Senate and House, the NAM sent a key-vote letter in support of the measure and issued action alerts that enable individuals to contact lawmakers directly.

Importantly, the law preempts state or local laws on GMO labeling for human and animal food and for seeds. The food and beverage supply chain is highly complex, and without a national standard, manufacturers and their suppliers were facing myriad conflicting state standards that would harm the ability of manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and farmers to produce and transport agricultural and food products efficiently. In addition to preemption, the new law accomplishes the following:

  • Directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a mandatory national standard for GMO labeling within two years and provides the agency the authority to establish a minimal amount of GMO substance within a product for disclosure to be required;
  • Prohibits any requirement that animal products be labeled GMO solely because the animal consumed GMO feed;
  • Allows food and beverage manufacturers flexibility in disclosing GMO ingredients on a label through one of the following methods: text or symbol indicating the presence of a GMO ingredient; or an electronic/digital link (e.g., QR codes), which must include explanatory text and a telephone number;
  • Provides small food manufacturers one additional year to comply after the national standard takes effect, along with additional labeling disclosure options;
  • Exempts “very small food manufacturers” from disclosure requirements; and
  • Prohibits a company from making a “non-GMO” claim solely because the food is not GMO but preserves the ability for organic foods to be labeled “non-GMO” or similarly.

Food and beverage manufacturing accounts for 1.704 million jobs in the United States and is critical to the success of the federal government’s domestic and global feeding programs, including SNAP, school nutrition, WIC and direct U.S. foreign food aid. The food and beverage industry does more to combat hunger and malnutrition in the United States than anyone else does, contributing billions of dollars every year in food and cash to fight hunger and malnutrition.

Biotechnology has fostered a revolution in American agriculture that has benefitted consumers in the United States and around the world. GMOs enable America’s food producers to more efficiently use resources and allow farmers to withstand crippling droughts and ward off disease or pestilence while reducing their use of pesticides and chemicals.

Regulation and Uncertainty Leads to Decreased Investment and Innovation

By | Regulations, Technology | No Comments

A new paper was recently released by Georgetown University’s Center for Business and Public Policy citing that increased regulation will lead to a decrease in investment in our nation’s broadband infrastructure. The manufacturing industry is embedding technology in their products and across their shop floors to deliver sophisticated products and compete in the global marketplace. A decrease in the investment in the technology backbone helping to drive that innovation is something we cannot afford. Read More

Manufacturers Applaud Committee Action to Advance Food Labeling Bill

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On July 14, the House Agriculture Committee approved by voice vote the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R. 1599), which would create federal standards for the labeling of foods and beverages made with or without ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This important markup followed bipartisan negotiations between the Agriculture Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee, who reportedly will waive its voting rights on certain provisions of the bill. This sets the stage for possible consideration by the full House of Representatives as early as next week.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) supports the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act and praises Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) as leading sponsors of the bill. Manufactures also applaud House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) for their efforts to advance federal policies that will ensure a safe and affordable food supply. The bill would strengthen federal labeling policies that enable consumers to make informed food and beverage choices. Read More

Cost Estimates for EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations Continue to Rise

By | Regulations | No Comments

Last week, the Obama Administration’s former regulatory gatekeeper, Cass Sunstein, penned what I thought was a very realistic article on climate change attitudes in the U.S. He noted, quite correctly, that it is a paradox: a majority of Americans believe we need to act, but they also refuse to pay anything in exchange for that action. This, as Sunstein notes, is not a new problem, but rather one that stretches as far back as the Kyoto Protocol in 1990.  We found this in a poll of our own just a few months ago: more than half of the respondents polled on the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations were unwilling to pay a single dollar more for energy to accommodate the new requirements. Read More

Manufacturers Applaud House Passage of Comprehensive Regulatory Reform Measure

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In April 2014, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons testified before the Joint Economic Committee on the need for improved regulatory analysis, stating in his written testimony:

Manufacturers recognize that regulations are necessary to protect people’s health and safety. In recent years, the scope and complexity of rules have made it harder to do business and compete in an ever-changing global economy. As a result, manufacturers are sensitive to regulatory measures that rely on inadequate benefit and cost justifications. Despite existing statutory requirements placed upon regulating agencies, manufacturers are faced with the challenges of complying with inefficient and complex regulations that place unnecessary costs on the public. Read More

NAM Partners with Global Business Dialogue to Promote Environmental Goods Agreement

By | General, Policy Experts, Regulations, Trade | No Comments

This morning the NAM and the Global Business Dialogue hosted a discussion about the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations underway at the World Trade Organization (WTO). NAM’s Linda Dempsey, Vice President for International Economic Affairs, spoke about the benefits to manufacturing of a broad EGA, mentioning that, “increased trade and global engagement is vital for our manufacturers. With only a 9 percent share of the global $11 trillion market in manufactured goods trade outside our borders, manufacturers can and should be able to expand commercial opportunities.

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Manufacturers Welcome Congress Back; Say Now Is Time To Govern

By | Economy, Energy, Health Care, Human Resources, Immigration, immigration reform, Infrastructure, Innovation, intellectual property, Regulations, Taxation, Technology, Trade, Transportation | No Comments

As Members of the 114th Congress descend on Washington for orientation, and the 113th Congress convenes for the upcoming lame duck session, manufacturers stand ready to work with our leaders to advance policies that will enable us to continue to grow and create jobs.   Manufacturers believe that now is the time to set aside the differences that have resulted in gridlock, and focus on the pro-growth policies that brought voters to the polls. Simply put, it is time to govern and grow. Read More

EPA Comment Extension, GAO Report Underscore Threats to US Energy Costs

By | Regulations | No Comments

Amid pressure from 53 bipartisan U.S Senators and countless other stakeholders, the EPA has agreed to grant a 45-day extension to the pending 111(d) greenhouse gas regulation comment period. It’s a welcome extension and one we’ve long called for, but 45 more days hardly removes the risk inherent to the EPA’s regulatory agenda, which stands to completely redefine the manner in which energy is both generated and consumed in the United States.

Recently, we’ve highlighted  how the onslaught of regulatory hurdles coming out of the EPA, like the pending revision to the ground-level ozone standard and the greenhouse gas (GHG) rule on existing power plants, could have a negative impact for manufacturers and businesses across the country. Indeed, these rules join the ranks of countless other federal regulations which, taken in full, drain $2 trillion each year from our GDP.

News of the extension comes on the heels of a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that further underscores the difficulties surrounding the pending greenhouse gas (GHG) rule and its effect on grid reliability across the country. The GAO report states that nearly 13 percent of the coal-fired generating capacity has retired or is on track to retire by 2025 – a major dent in the U.S.’s ability to produce electricity which would be exacerbated considerably upon implementation of EPA’s pending GHG regulations. This reduced capacity will threaten the reliability of our electric grid in some parts of the country and result in higher energy prices for consumers.

EPA’s power plant regulations are far from the only new rule threatening American energy reliability and costs, though.

In late July, the NAM released a study conducted by NERA Economic Consulting that showed revision of the ground-level ozone standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 60 ppb could drive electricity prices drastically upward – raising them on average 23 percent for manufacturers nationwide – and drive another 100 GWs of coal-fired retirements, or more than triple the GAOs projected number.  Coupled with the pending GHG rule, the price increases on the horizon are untenable for American business and manufacturing, and threaten to cede the competitive advantage we’ve witnessed at the hand of the domestic energy boom to overseas competitors.

Meanwhile, countries like China and India account for nearly 20% of all global GHG emissions, and continue to emit drastically more every year while U.S. emissions remain flat or decline. To take unilateral action now – while the world’s largest sources of emissions continue unabated – threatens to cripple our economy without addressing the issue at hand.

We’re glad that the EPA has listened to the NAM and others, like the Partnership for a Better Energy Future, and allowed more time to hear from stakeholders as they advance their regulation of existing power plants. We hope, though, that this extra time is well spent and enables the EPA to realize the importance of a balanced and cost-effective regulatory process.

Without a balanced approach, the EPA’s slate of milestone air regulations – from the carbon power plant rules to new ozone standards – could mean that significant economic headwinds are on the horizon.

House Charts Common-Sense Course for EPA and States to Work Together on Clean Water

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Yesterday evening, the House passed H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Steve Southerland (FL-2), by a bipartisan majority vote of 262-152.

The legislation would put the breaks on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) efforts to expand jurisdiction over water traditionally regulated by states and local governments. The bill directs the agencies to work more closely in a consensus-based approach to determine what waters fall under the federal government and which waters fall under the purview of the state and local governments.

The NAM and Water Advocacy Coalition (WAC) have spent the last several years communicating our concerns EPA and Corps. Among other things, we have expressed strong concerns for how the agencies re-defined “waters of the United States” so that virtually any and all water would come under federal control. In short, if you control the water use then you control the land use, thus land use would depend on decisions made not at the local level but at the federal level.

Water is integral to manufacturing process whether it is as an input, as a part of the cooling process, or whether it is a bi-product of the manufacturing process. Manufacturers cool water, settle water, and transport water away from one process while also looking for ways to reuse water. Manufacturers deal with storm water and storm water systems. We must deal with water when we perform operations, maintenance, repair, construction, expansion and infrastructure projects. If  forced to apply for and received a Corp permit every time we clean out a cooling pond, repair a transmission line, or expand machine shop, it won’t take long before we lose the ability to do what we do best…manufacture, compete and create jobs!

If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, H.R. 5078 would be an important step towards a productive federal-state relationship that provides manufacturers with the regulatory certainty need.

Now is the Time for a Serious Discussion About New Ozone Regulations

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In a recent blog post, Media Matters attempts to throw cold water on the notion that EPA’s planned revision to federal ozone standards later this year will carry a heavy economic cost for manufacturers and consumers. While we appreciate the attention that Media Matters is paying to the issue, their dismissal of the significant implications of this rule demonstrates a failure to recognize the urgency of the issue, or the manner in which it threatens to sap the energy from our nation’s economy.

Media Matters puts forth three critiques of our efforts to educate lawmakers and the public as to the dangers inherent to a new ozone standard. They say that our education efforts are biased toward industry. They say that the study NERA Economic Consulting (one of the most respected consultancies in the world and a frequent partner of U.S. government agencies such as the Department of Energy) prepared for us utilizes flawed methodology. And finally, they say that our education campaign is premature given the fact that a rule will not be proposed until later this year.

We’d like to set the record straight on a few of these accusations.

Our Study Shows Heavy Impacts on All Sectors of Our Economy – Not Just Manufacturing

Manufacturers – our members – will certainly be dealt a serious blow at the hands of such a rule, and our advocacy efforts will by design shed light on this fact. The manufacturing boom has brought thousands of jobs back to the United States, and it is poised to continue to do so against the right policy backdrop.

That said, EPA’s own analysis and this research both tell us that the costs associated with more stringent ozone standards will be felt throughout the economy. Businesses of all stripes, state and local governments, and consumers will share the burden of staying out of nonattainment. Many companies and consumers will face drastically higher costs, and all will be forced to contend with the economic pressures inherent to complying with more stringent standards.

Our advocacy efforts are driven by careful empirical study. The NERA analysis demonstrates clearly the widespread nature of this regulation’s potential impact. Manufacturers are among the hardest hit, but far from the only sector with grave concerns. Our campaign reflects this reality – not a bias toward one sector or another.

The NERA study is – by far – the best and most realistic forecast available today.

Media Matters cited statements from a small cadre of outside commentators – many of whom have a long history of bias all their own – to assert that the NERA Economic Consulting data is somehow flawed or unrealistic. This is simply untrue.

The fact of the matter is, NERA Economic Consulting is among the most respected economic consultancies in the world. Their work is utilized by governments around the world. President Obama’s own Department of Energy has commissioned analysis from NERA to forecast the economic impact of natural gas exports and other issues. And, to be blunt, their economic modeling is considerably more sophisticated and better established than the models used by, for instance, the EPA.

The NewERA model utilized to develop the analysis in this report incorporates all sectors of the economy. As Dr. David Harrison of NERA Economic Consulting noted during the press conference that we hosted to launch this study, “one of the key features of the ozone regulation, in contrast to some other regulations, is that virtually every sector of the economy would be affected so it’s necessary to have a model that simulates the interactions of these various sectors as well as the interactions with consumers.”  The NewERA model provides this level of detail, and yields a far more complete picture of the scope of a regulation whose impact will be felt through so broad a cross-section of the economy.

In short, this study has the benefit of a full, bottom-up analysis by the most qualified and knowledgeable economists in this field. We are very confident that NERA’s evidence-based approach is by far the best and most realistic forecast available today, utilizing a thorough, evidence-based methodology to provide the type of reliable information that must be central to stakeholders’ consideration of this issue.

The most costly regulation in United States history could be less than 100 days away. This discussion is not premature – it is overdue.

Via a quote from the EPA, Media Matters contends that the NAM/NERA analysis is premature. This is an audacious claim.  The notion that public input and education regarding an action on the part of the government – whether a small matter or one of great consequence – should wait until a certain procedural point of official proposal is absurd. EPA has offered revised standards twice in the last six years, and they are mere months away from doing it again. The time for this discussion is upon us and it has been for some time.

Regardless of one’s position on the issue, public discourse should be welcomed. Empirical analysis such as our recent study serves as vital intellectual feedstock and helps to inform the public and policymakers alike of what’s at stake.

In short, this dialogue can – and must be allowed to – yield a better path forward.


With so much at stake, we can’t allow this issue to become the latest “line in the sand” on environmental policy. We can’t allow one side to shout at the other, casually dismissing the validity or even the need for the other’s analysis. Realistic stakeholders on both sides of the aisle recognize the potential for serious economy-wide impacts from this particular rule. That’s why, after all, President Obama withdrew the most recent attempt to tighten this standard amid widespread concerns amongst Republicans and Democrats regarding the excessive costs and regulatory burdens compared to its assessed benefits.

In the interest of facilitating a careful consideration of the issues related to this regulation, we, along with NERA Economic Consulting, welcome others’ analysis of this important matter. To read more about this issue visit our website at