Manufacturers Disappointed by Tale of Two Kaines

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

It has been just over three weeks since Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) became Vice Presidential Candidate Kaine. And in that short amount of time, he has, to the disappointment of manufacturers, changed positions on two of our most important issues: energy and trade.

As a senator, manufacturers could often count on Sen. Kaine to be a reasonable voice on energy and environmental policy issues. On energy exports, he was in line with manufacturers, cosponsoring legislation in 2013 and 2015 to improve the permitting process for liquefied natural gas export terminals—projects that will drive billions of dollars in investments in manufacturing and other industrial sectors. On opening access to oil and gas resources off the Atlantic Coast, Sen. Kaine once again helped lead the charge, cosponsoring legislation in 2013 and again in 2015 directing the Department of Interior to include the Atlantic Coast in its energy lease sales.

Vice Presidential Candidate Kaine, on the other hand, is staking out a starkly different position on energy development. He opposes unlocking oil and gas resources off the Atlantic Coast. This abrupt shift on energy policy raises some red flags for manufacturers, consumers of one-third of the nation’s energy. An NAM study performed by IHS Economics forecasts that over the next decade, total demand for natural gas will increase by 40 percent, driven in large part by increased demand from manufacturers.

On the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), we are also seeing a tale of two Kaines. While nothing about the text of the TPP has changed since the 12-country trade deal was signed in February, Sen. Kaine’s position has appeared to shift significantly. In July, he made several positive statements on the TPP, noting that there “was much in it to like,” including upgraded labor, environmental and intellectual property standards. Less than a week later, however, Vice Presidential Candidate Kaine completely disavowed the TPP. Sen. Kaine’s original statements on the TPP, not his newfound opposition, are in line with the type of trade agenda that will grow U.S. manufacturing. The United States is losing in the global competition to open markets, as other countries have negotiated hundreds of trade agreements that exclude and disadvantage manufacturers in the United States. Manufacturers need trade agreements like the TPP to eliminate foreign trade barriers and upgrade foreign standards to level the playing field and boost U.S. competitiveness globally. Standing on the global sidelines just means the United States will fall further and further behind competitors, such as China, Mexico, Germany and others.

If manufacturers are going to continue driving economic growth over the next four years and beyond, we need access to all forms of energy and access to more markets overseas. So we need leaders whose policy positions are more like Sen. Kaine’s than Vice Presidential Candidate Kaine’s.

Unite Our Country—Vote Manufacturing

By | General, Shopfloor Main | One Comment
The NAM Council of Manufacturing Association's 2015 Winter Leadership Conference, held Jan14-16, in Wilmington, Delaware.

The CMA’s 2015 Winter Leadership Conference, held January 14-16 in Wilmington, Del.

By Heidi Brock, President and CEO, The Aluminum Association

It’s impossible to turn on the news without hearing about some new twist or turn in the presidential election, and sometimes this campaign feels like the longest in memory—or in history. I find the political conversation this cycle is either starkly off the table or everywherewhether at a summer BBQ (is your family united behind the same candidate?) or traveling overseas (where every taxi ride includes a conversation about U.S. presidential politics). Many of us wonder, will it ever endlet alone, how will it end?

Well, yes, it will end. In less than four months, which will go fast, voters will head to the polls, elections will be determined, and a new president will be sworn into office. So a key question is, will we end up with leaders committed to strengthening U.S.  manufacturing?

With so much of the news coverage focusing on the reality TV dimension of this campaign season, it can be easy to overlook what’s really at stake: jobs, opportunity, paychecks and our communities. Will we remove the barriers standing in the way of manufacturers, or will we empower our sector to reach its full potential? Our entire country benefits from a thriving manufacturing sector and importantly benefits the more than 12 million men and women who make things in America. And another great thingsupporting manufacturing is a way to unite our country. It is something that both parties can be for and achieve together.

Manufacturers’ policy priorities are clear. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) spelled them out early this year in a pro-growth policy agenda, titled “Competing to Win.

The agenda includes a range of policy solutions: comprehensive tax and regulatory reform to ease the onerous burdens on businesses, serious investment in our ailing infrastructure and expanded opportunities for manufacturers to sell their products to customers overseas, while ensuring robust enforcement of trade policies, to name a few.

The bottom line is this: policymakers in Washington shouldn’t be distracted by silly partisan fights. They need to articulate a policy agenda that grows manufacturing in our country. And when manufacturers head to the polls, we must make sure we know where candidates stand on these important issues. So, let’s be sure that in this election season, we have done all we can to raise the profile of the manufacturing sector. Let’s be sure in this election season we get out the vote for manufacturing.

To spotlight these issues, members of the Council of Manufacturing Associations (CMA) are launching a Shopfloor blog series called CMA Insights. Over the coming months, you’ll hear from manufacturers from across the sector on what issues matter to us and what we expect from our leaders.

As chairman of the CMA, I am focused on ensuring that we not only strengthen the CMA but that our concerns and priorities are heard loud and clear by lawmakers. Cable news may not always cover the real issues, but CMA Insights certainly will! And remember, a great way to unite our country is to vote manufacturing.

Don’t miss NAM Senior Vice President of Communications Erin Streeter’s interview with Aluminum Association President and CEO Heidi Brock live on periscope at the CMA Summer Leadership Conference. Tune in on August 11 at 1:00 p.m. to hear more on why manufacturers must join together to share their stories.

Heidi Biggs Brock joined The Aluminum Association, based in Arlington, Va., as president in October 2011 and became CEO in October 2013. The association’s 104 members represent a significant majority of the primary U.S. aluminum producers, secondary producers and semifabricated product producers, as well as industry suppliers and distributors. Member companies operate approximately 180 plants in North America, with many conducting business worldwide. Brock is chair of the NAM’s CMA. The CMA, made up of nearly 260 industry-specific manufacturing associations, is a vital component of the NAM, providing resources and networks to members to broaden the reach of the NAM’s advocacy efforts.

Good News in Case Against “Legal Fraud of the Century”

By | Energy, Shopfloor Legal, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

There’s some good news today from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Chevron’s long-running battle over a court ruling in Ecuador that was obtained through a fraudulent scheme. The court affirmed the lower court’s decision, ruling that Chevron does not have to pay billions of dollars in damages because the original verdict was the product of fraud and racketeering activity.

If you’re a regular Shopfloor reader, you will recall many of the details of this case against Chevron, which has been referred to as the legal fraud of the century.” You can read more about the Second Circuit’s verdict and the long, drawn-out court battle here.

The case involves an American plaintiffs’ lawyer drumming up a lawsuit against Chevron for environmental damage in Ecuador, even though Chevron has never operated in Ecuador. As the case unraveled in a very public battle, it turned into a saga of fabricated evidence, intimidation and bribery—or unscrupulous lawyers and corrupt government officials conspiring to make billions they did not deserve.

In short, this case is a reminder that bad actors do try to pervert the justice system for their own financial gain—and that we must remain vigilant against such fraud and corruption. The Second Circuit’s ruling is a victory for Chevron and the people they employ, but more importantly for the rule of the law.

Timmons: Isolationist Rhetoric Won’t Create More Manufacturing Jobs, but the Right Policies Will

By | Economy, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

PullQuote-JayJobs-080520162

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July jobs numbers:  

“While numbers continue to improve, the fact is that our economy remains nowhere near its full potential. To grow jobs in America, manufacturers need their products sold to more markets. Isolationist rhetoric will not help grow manufacturing jobs in the United States, but the right policies will. Manufacturers have outlined an agenda that will help put our sector—and ultimately the entire U.S. economy—on a path toward continued growth and good-paying jobs, which includes market-opening free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

“Whether it’s because of misguided analysis or political expediency, both major party candidates in this presidential election continue to do manufacturing a disservice by perpetuating myths about free trade. It’s time to stop undermining the ability of manufacturers in the United States to compete and win through trade and embrace policies like TPP that are going to put our nation back in the driver’s seat and ensure success for our economy.”

Podcast Infographic Shoptalk

New ShopTalk Podcast: Don’t Sit Out Recess

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, ShopTalk | No Comments

For members of Congress, August is more than a recess; it is a whole month filled pounding the pavement at home in their districts. This is an opportunity for lawmakers to take a listening tour of their district, meeting with families and voters, and for manufacturers, the men and women who make things in America, it is the opportunity to talk to lawmakers directly.

That’s why National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President of Government Relations Joe Trauger and NAM Senior Vice President of Communications Erin Streeter sat down with George Allen, former Virginia governor and senator, for a brand-new ShopTalk podcast on the ins and outs of August recess. Gov. Allen and Trauger offer valuable insights, tips of the trade and advice for manufacturers across the country.

This August is about getting Congress to hear from the manufacturing army. Listen, learn and schedule a meeting with your lawmaker today!

Cheering Fair Play and Neutral Referees at the Olympics and in the TPP

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

More than 200 countries are sending their teams to Rio de Janeiro this week to compete in the Olympics, with hundreds of separate competitions, from cycling and swimming to archery and gymnastics.  We all want and expect a level playing field where no athlete or nation has an unfair advantage and where neutral referees, not national biases, determine who wins the gold.

To achieve fair play in the Olympics, there is a substantial rules-based structure at the international, individual sport and national level. The Olympic Charter is more than 100 pages, and there are thousands more pages of rules and requirements set forth by international sports federations and national teams.

Like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), most Americans have not read these thousands of pages, but understand that the basic rules reflect our common values and sense of fair play. So too does the TPP that sets for a detailed rules-based system that seeks to give industries in the United States a fair shot to win in foreign markets without discrimination or unfair advantages to our foreign competitors. Consider the basic principles that the TPP would implement: Read More

ISM

ISM: Manufacturing Activity Expanded for the Fifth Straight Month in July

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) said that manufacturing activity expanded for its fifth straight month in July, albeit with a slight easing for the month. The composite index edged down from 53.2 in June to 52.6 in July, but more importantly, this report suggests that manufacturers are doing better today than the contracting levels of activity seen in the October to February time frame. The boost in sentiment reported more recently has come from relatively strong expansions in new orders (down from 57.0 to 56.9) and production (up from 54.7 to 55.4), with the latter growing at its fastest pace in 12 months. Indeed, demand and output have now expanded for seven consecutive months, which is encouraging. Exports (down from 53.5 to 52.5) also slowed a bit in July but have expanded for five consecutive months, according to ISM. Read More

Court Ruling Pushes EPA Toward More Regulation

By | Energy, Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, Shopfloor Legal, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Government agencies have a tremendous advantage when it comes to defending new regulations in court. Judges start with a legal presumption that not only gives the benefit of the doubt to the agency, but sets a very high bar for reversing rules that most people might not have issued. As long as an agency’s rules are authorized by statute and not clearly erroneous or otherwise an abuse of discretion, courts will accept them.

That’s what the D.C. Circuit did today when it largely upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules on boilers and incinerators. All of the challenges to the rules by the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action and other business organizations were rejected by the appellate court. The court upheld one EPA requirement that could not be met by any small, remote incinerator or heavy oil-fired boiler in use today. It similarly rejected industry complaints about new energy assessment and recordkeeping requirements, as well as concerns about compliance with the rules when equipment malfunctions despite full compliance with regulations and due diligence by operators.

What is unusual is that the court agreed with several arguments made by environmental groups. It ordered the EPA to issue a regulation for cyclonic burn barrels and to decide whether certain other incinerators must be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The court also ordered the agency to provide further explanations about the decisions it made not to regulate emissions of a certain hazardous pollutant (non-dioxin/furan organic pollutant), about why certain exemptions should be allowed and about why it declined to regulate certain non-mercury emissions.

The bottom line is the court upheld all of the EPA’s regulations and ordered the agency to cover even more than it did, or at least give a full explanation of why it won’t.

GDP

Real GDP Growth Disappointed in the Second Quarter

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The latest gross domestic product (GDP) numbers confirm that the U.S. economy remains mired in slower-than-desired growth despite recent signs of progress in some data points. Real GDP grew just 1.2 percent in the second quarter, well below the consensus estimate of 2.6 percent, with first quarter growth revised down to 0.8 percent. This release reflects a rebound in consumer spending, but there were significant drags on activity from fixed investment and inventories. Indeed, manufacturers and other business leaders continue to be quite cautious, and as a result, they are holding back on capital spending and hiring, waiting for better signs of traction in the economy.

The U.S. economy has averaged 2.2 percent growth annually since the end of the Great Recession, and with this release, real GDP is likely to expand by 1.8 percent in 2016. That would, however, suggest a better second half of the year, as real GDP grew just 1.0 percent at the annual rate in the first half. With that in mind, we need policymakers – especially in this all-important election year – to focus on pro-growth measures that will spur stronger activity. Read More

Timmons Highlights Manufacturing Priorities for Candidates on CNN

By | Communications, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons joined CNN Newsrooms Carol Costello for a live interview on the policy priorities manufacturers need to see from the presidential candidates before making a decision in November. Timmons shared the NAM’s Competing to Win platform document on-air as manufacturers’ core agenda for voters and pro-manufacturing candidates.

Jay Timmons Talks Manufacturing Priorities for Candidates on CNN

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