The Ex-Im Bank Is a Critical Tool in Checking China’s Ambitions. It’s Time to Get It Operating Again.

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The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) joins members of both parties in applauding Congress’ passage of the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 (BUILD Act) as part of the recent broader Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization package. The BUILD Act reorganizes the way that development funds are parceled out. This is important because it creates a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a Chinese effort to solidify its global economic and strategic influence by dumping billions into investment projects in dozens of countries around the world.

Countering China’s influence is something Republicans believe is important. It’s something Democrats think is important. And it’s something that manufacturers think is important. Then it must be time for America to get serious by taking the most critical and obvious step next: let’s finally get the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank back up and running again.

For years now, the Ex-Im Bank has been effectively shuttered because the Senate has not taken action to fill vacancies on the board of directors. This is the agency that provides financing and insurance for American exports where there are no private-sector alternatives. Manufacturers and companies across the country depend on a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank to compete effectively with economic rivals across the globe—nearly all of which are backed by their own export credit agency.

China is a perfect example. Last year, China’s version of the Ex-Im Bank provided $45 billion in medium- and long-term support for projects around the world—more than the rest of the world combined. Given that, it’s no surprise that exporters in the United States continue to lose deals to China by the day, harming manufacturing industries and workers across the country.

Take Hoffman Equipment. Its $125 million deal to sell hundreds of pieces of heavy equipment to Cameroon has been scooped up by China because the financing exceeded what the Ex-Im Bank can greenlight while its board has this many vacancies. Musya Tumanyan, senior vice president at Hoffman, has been fending off attempts by China—backed by seemingly unlimited government financing—to steal even more contracts away from Hoffman. We must put an end to lost sales and lost opportunities that are hurting our manufacturing base.

That’s why the NAM has called repeatedly for the Senate to take immediate action to confirm Kimberly Reed as the leader of the Ex-Im Bank and deliver her a board quorum. That’s all that’s needed for the Ex-Im Bank to get back online. That’s all that’s necessary to start putting American exports back on a more level playing field with those of China and others. That’s it. Congress doesn’t need to pass a law. Congress doesn’t even need to vet these nominees through committee (it already happened). All that’s needed is for the Senate to simply vote on their confirmations before the full Senate. Up or down. Yes or no.

A fully functional Ex-Im Bank is yet another example of how Congress and the Trump administration can align economic security with national security, a key priority of the president’s National Security Strategy. Just as the BUILD Act stands up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a fully functional Ex-Im Bank will help counter China’s use of its export credit agencies to put Chinese interests ahead of ours. Now is the time to get this done.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Declined 3 Percent Last Year. It’s a Sign Manufacturers Are Keeping Their Promise.

By | Environment, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

In 2017, manufacturers advocated—and our leaders in Washington delivered—much-needed regulatory relief. Despite what the critics said, we promised that strong economic growth and responsible environmental stewardship can go hand in hand.

There’s no doubt 2017 was a banner year for economic growth and job creation. But now we have proof that it was a good year for environmental stewardship as well: greenhouse gas emissions in the United States declined nearly 3 percent.

The Hill reports the findings from the EPA:

“Harmful greenhouses gases that largely contribute to climate change decreased during President Trump’s first year in office, according to a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report released Wednesday.”

This is great news for the country. Of course, manufacturers have a track record of improving our efficiency and sustainability while growing the economy. Over the past decade, manufacturers have decreased our greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent while increasing our share of the economy by 19 percent.

Going forward, we will continue to prove the naysayers wrong. We will keep our promise to hire more workers, invest here in America and increase wages and benefits—all while building a future with cleaner air, cleaner water and a healthier environment.

The BRICK Act Moves Forward, and Manufacturers Gain Regulatory Certainty

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Today, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee held a markup and approved the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2018 (S. 2461), a bipartisan bill that would permit a full legal review of national emissions standards for brick, clay products and clay ceramics manufacturing before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires regulatory compliance. On March 7, the House passed similar legislation (H.R. 1917) that was strongly supported by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

The NAM fully supports the ongoing national effort to protect our environment and improve public health through appropriate laws and regulations. However, manufacturers need policies that provide regulatory certainty and ensure a sustainable environment and economy. In September 2015, the EPA issued final National Emissions Standards for Brick, Structural Clay Products and Clay Ceramics Manufacturing, often referred to as Brick MACT. It is estimated that this rule will collectively cost the brick industry, which is made up of predominantly small and medium-sized manufacturers, more than $100 million per year.

When regulations stretch beyond what the law allows, manufacturers and other stakeholders must turn to the courts for relief–a lengthy process that can take months, if not years. Under the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2018, if a final rule under this Act is challenged in court, the compliance date extension would be limited to December 26, 2020. However, if the court refutes the EPA’s rule, the legislation requires the agency to issue new regulations within one year. This bill is a commonsense approach, as it ensures that manufacturers will have the certainty that the investments they make are based on laws that the courts have determined are appropriate and legal.

Manufacturers support reasonable environmental policies but need regulatory certainty to make necessary, long-term investments, and they believe both goals can be achieved through S. 2461. With the committee’s approval of the bill today, the measure will now proceed to the Senate for consideration.

NAM Submits Comment to Pension Reform Committee

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The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) represents the more than 12 million men and women who make things in America. Many of these workers are participants in what are known as multiemployer pension plans, and they are counting on these pension benefits for the safe and secure retirement they’ve earned. Yet, there is a looming crisis that carries potentially dire implications for millions of retirees as well as devastating consequences for thousands of businesses across the country. This is a problem that demands the right solutions, and quickly, and that is exactly why the NAM today submitted recommendations to the special committee in Congress charged with doing so.

Congress established the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans to find a solution to the multiemployer pension crisis. The crisis arose as the Great Recession cratered the holdings of longstanding pension plans and baby boomers began retiring en masse, so multiemployer pensions began having to pay more in benefits out of a decimated investment pool. The backstop that Congress created in 1974 to support retirees and workers in this type of pension crisis, called the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), is instead now teetering on the edge of insolvency itself.  The combined impact of failing multiemployer plans and an insolvent PBGC Multiemployer Program is serious and, in the absence of congressional action to solve the problem today, could soon prove devastating for millions of Americans. That’s especially true for the 10 million participants and their families who rely on more than 1,400 plans in the multiemployer pension system.

This is why the NAM acted today to urge the Joint Select Committee to address the urgent, and worsening, multiemployer pension crisis. As we laid out in our letter, we believe that policymakers have a unique and historic opportunity to put the multiemployer pension system on a path to stability. And, by adhering to a few core principles, such as working expeditiously to address the urgent problems facing the system, crafting a comprehensive multiparty solution and protecting the healthy single-employer system throughout the process, we believe they can.

This is a huge challenge, but the Joint Select Committee and Congress can solve it. A comprehensive, bipartisan solution is within reach. So we urge policymakers to meet the moment with the swift, comprehensive and appropriate action that this crisis demands.

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