Over 500 manufacturers took to the Hill on Wednesday, and at the tip of the spear of our manufacturing army was Greg Folley, Vice President of Remanufacturing & Components Division for Caterpillar, Inc.
Four key issues – tax reform, comprehensive immigration reform, energy policy, and infrastructure – that are important to manufacturers, including Caterpillar, took center stage during Greg’s advocacy meetings with several members and staffs representing five states. With Reps. Roskam (IL), Moore-Capito (WV), Guthrie (KY), Smith (NE), and Flores (TX), we found significant areas of agreement, and we certainly got the sense they support the ideas manufacturers have put forth – good news for sure. And that’s why manufacturers took to the Hill for the NAM’s Annual Summit – we’re here to help them get the ball across the goal line.
Each of the candid conversations offered a great deal of back and forth. Greg took the lead in mapping out exactly what manufacturers need and why they need it. As he said, the current tax system is fundamentally uncompetitive and incentivizes companies to shelter in place rather than taking the necessary steps to grow and seek new markets. Lowering the corporate rate and implementing a territorial tax system will allow manufacturers to take off the handcuffs and compete successfully in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. If this happens, we’ll soon see a boom in job creation.
Yet that brings up a second key point – access to the skilled workforce needed to fill those jobs. In leading his meetings, Greg hit the nail on the head, saying that our current immigration system is the equivalent of hanging a “Not Welcome” sign in the window where it should read “Now Hiring.” Essentially the United States is pushing opportunity away, and for manufacturers like Caterpillar, that innovation is not only critical to current success, but also in developing the next generation of technology that will drive growth in the future.
Greg’s visit found a lot of reason to be hopeful for positive policy solutions – but it was abundantly clear that in Washington’s current environment, there remains a lot of work to do. Leadership such as that of Doug Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc. and Chairman of NAM Board of Directors, Greg Folley, and other manufacturers like Caterpillar is absolutely essential to driving policies that will allow our economy to flourish. And the NAM will consistently be at the door to ensure lawmakers know exactly what they need to do.