Tag: Mitch McConnell

Manufacturers Tell President, Congress to Find a Debt Solution

As the government shutdown drags on and the deadline to raise the debt ceiling grows precipitously closer, uncertainty is once again standing in the pathway to economic growth.

Today, in a letter to the President and House and Senate leadership, NAM president and CEO Jay Timmons laid out manufacturers’ concerns and urged our leaders to push past the partisanship that has defined Washington in recent years to “put the nation’s best interests first by addressing the debt limit.”

Timmons made special note that failure to meet the United States financial obligations would “seriously disrupt our fragile economy and have a ripple effect throughout the world.”

Make no mistake about it – the current partisan environment is frustrating to us all. However, the fallout for letting these differences push our nation into default on our debt will be felt for years and every sector of our economy will suffer the consequences.

Manufacturers are hopeful that the President and Congress will find a way to do what is necessary to prevent such an economic catastrophe and the NAM will continue to urge policymakers to arrive at a solution as quickly as possible.

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Former Democratic NLRB Member Decries Boeing Complaint

Rounding up the most recent news and commentary about the National Labor Relations Board’s complaint against The Boeing Company for locating new production facilities in South Carolina instead of the unionized Puget Sound region…

At Slate.com, Dave Weigel interviews Bill Gould, a former Democratic member appointed to the NLRB by President Clinton. From “Air Rage

“The Boeing case is unprecedented,” he says. “I agree with much of what this board has done and is likely to do, but I don’t agree with what the general counsel has done in the Boeing case. The general counsel is trying to equate an employer’s concern with strikes that disrupt production and make it difficult to make deadlines—he’s trying to equate that with hostility toward trade unionism. I don’t think that makes sense.”

Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt asks Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) about NLRB’s move against Boeing.

MM: Unbelievable, isn’t it? The federal government is now, through the NLRB, going to tell you where you can locate your plant. You know, a lot of these big, global businesses, their response to that might be well, I’ll locate my plant in Mexico. I mean, I think that this is truly outrageous. This is the same administration who has now tried to introduce politics into the procurement process by making people who do business with the government reveal their political support for candidates. This is a Chicago-style thuggish administration. In other words, agree with us, or we’ll find a way to punish you. (continue reading…)

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Now That Taxes Have Been Rejected, How About More Energy?

The Senate handily rejected cloture Tuesday on S. 940, the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, which, shorn of political slogans, was the legislation to raise taxes on oil and gas development in the United States.

The vote was 52-48, with Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Lousiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska joining Republicans to block the bill that would do nothing to address gas prices, but would discourage U.S. energy security and global competitiveness. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was the sole Republican to vote for cloture.

Next up once the Senate convenes at 10:30 a.m. this morning, a motion to proceed on legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to expand domestic oil and gas production. S. 953, the Offshore Production and Safety Act,  mirrors the bill passed by the House last week, H.R. 1299, the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act.

Sen. McConnell summarized the bill on the Senate floor Tuesday: “Our bill would return American offshore production to where it was before this administration locked it up, require Federal bureaucrats to process permits–to make a decision one way or the other: process the permit, make a decision one way or the other–rather than sitting on the permits. And it would improve offshore safety. Our plan not only acknowledges the importance of increasing domestic production, it does something about it, while ensuring environmental safety.”

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EPA Regulation: Consumers Also Feel the Higher Energy Costs

Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, appeared in studio Wednesday on WLS’s morning drive-time program in Chicago, the “Don Wade and Roma Show.” A good interview with informed hosts that touched on several items including Illinois’ business climate, U.S. competitiveness, taxes and the pending Senate vote to block EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases.

From the discussion of the latter (audio clip):

Timmons: The NAM is supporting the McConnell bill because it’s very definitive. It says the EPA cannot regulate greenhouse gases, and then Congress can then come back and create a law that would allow them to do that or do it in a way that Congress dictates.

Roma: It had originally been in Congress’ purview, and then the EPA did an end-run around when it ran into balky congressional leaders, right?

Timmons
: Well, that’s exactly right. A couple of years ago there was a bill that was on the House floor to regulate greenhouse gases, and it did pass the House, it stalled in the Senate. So Congress actually said, no, we’re not going to allow the regulation of greenhouse gases. And now you have the EPA saying, well, if Congress isn’t going to do it, we’re going to do it. So, hey, that’s a fun job to have.

Don Wade
: The reason we don’t want the EPA to tighten the screws on regulation on greenhouse gases is that it will increase the cost to manufacturers’ stuff. That stuff then will cost you, the consumer, more. It’s like a tax, only it’s not a tax. It’s a hidden tax.

Timmons: It’s a hidden tax that does raise the costs of all energy inputs into manufacturing. Manufacturing uses 30 percent of all the energy consumed in the United States to create those goods that you’re talking about that consumers buy. So you have one of two things happen. You either raise the costs of goods or manufacturers simply can’t compete, so jobs are lost.

And the other part of this is, it’s not just manufacturing. Somebody says, “Ah, let business pay,” well, this is also the consumer. This is also the retired…these are my retired parents, who are trying to pay their heating and cooling bill. And if you look at gas prices today, I don’t think anybody wants to pay more for energy costs.

WLS has posted audio of the full 12-minute interview here.

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As the Senate Vote Nears on EPA Overregulation…

The National Association of Manufacturers is running TV and radio spots urging Senators to vote for the amendment sponsored by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to prevent the attempt of the Environmental Protection Agency to extend its control over the U.S. economy through its regulation of greenhouse gases.

The ads are available at the campaign’s website: www.nonewregs.org.

The NAM just sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging Senators to vote for the McConnell amendment and opposing two alternative amendments that fail to achieve the desired goal: Protecting the U.S. economy, manufacturers and workers from costs of EPA overregulation. The amendments may provide a modicum of political cover, but they simply extend the uncertainty that threatens the U.S. economic recovery.

As NAM President Jay Timmons wrote in a blog post at The Hill, “A choice: Recovery or regulator?“:

Manufacturers have been proved a bright spot during the U.S. recovery, making new investments, hiring thousands of employees every week, and exporting more than other sectors of the economy. Yet uncertainty compels the companies to practice caution, holding off investments until it’s clear just how much control over the economy the EPA will wield.

When Senators vote on the McConnell amendment this week, they will be choosing between a private-sector led recovery and the uncertainty and costs threatened by an unrestrained regulator, the EPA. Manufacturers ask that the Senators embrace the recovery by voting for the McConnell amendment.

More …

(continue reading…)

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Only McConnell Amendment Limits Economic Risk from EPA Regs

The National Association of Manufacturers just distributed a letter to U.S. Senators urging their vote for Sen. Mitch McConnell’s amendment to block the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases. The letter also expresses opposition to two other amendments that threaten to deflect attention from the clear issue facing the U.S. Senate: Whether the EPA should circumvent the policymaking branch of government, Congress, to extend its regulatory authority over carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the detriment of the U.S. economy, manufacturers, and workers.

The NAM letters comes from Aric Newhouse, senior vice president for policy and government relations. Text:

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest manufacturing association in the United States representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states, urges your support for legislation that will prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources. To that end, the NAM key-voted Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Energy Tax Prevention Act amendment (No. 183) to the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 493).This amendment would stop EPA regulations that are costing jobs and hurting our nation’s economic recovery.
In addition, two other amendments that address GHG regulations were offered to S. 493 by Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) (No. 236) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) (No. 215). While manufacturers appreciate the efforts of Sens. Baucus and Rockefeller, unfortunately, their amendments do not solve many problems associated with the EPA’s GHG regulations and provide little regulatory certainty for our nation’s job creators. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturers: Support McConnell Amendment to Restrain EPA

The National Association of Manufacturers this afternoon sent a “Key Vote” letter to the U.S. Senators supporting an amendment by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Sen. McConnell has proposed the Energy Tax Limitation Amendment to S. 493, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act, being debated on the Senate floor now.

Excerpt from the NAM letter:

At a time when our economy is attempting to recover from the most severe recession since the 1930s, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, with no guidance from Congress, will establish disincentives for the long-term investments necessary to grow jobs and expedite economic recovery. The McConnell Amendment seeks to ensure a healthy and productive discussion in Congress on harmonizing our nation’s energy, environmental and economic needs before EPA regulates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from stationary sources, including manufacturing facilities.

Manufacturers support a comprehensive, federal climate policy within a framework that will cause no economic harm while granting sufficient time to deploy low-carbon technologies, such as carbon capture and sequestration, renewable energy and a renewed and large-scale deployment of nuclear power plants.

Sen. McConnell explained the amendment in floor remarks earlier today. (Text and video) A separate news release from his office presented the remarks of 15 Senate Democrats criticizing the EPA’s overreach.

Key vote letters are developed by a committee made up of manufacturers of all sizes and are used to rate a members’ support for manufacturing during a session of Congress.

Also this afternoon, the full House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 34-19 to report out H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which has the same language as the McConnell amendment. In the portion of the committee discussion we watched online, Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) spoke about the damaging impact EPA regulation of greenhouse gases would have on manufacturing and manufacturing jobs. We thank him.

P.S. Three Democrats joined the House Republicans on the committee in voting for the bill: Reps. Barrow (GA), Matheson (UT), and Ross (AR).

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Senate Turns Back Disclose Act, 57-41

The cloture vote to end debate on S.3628, the DISCLOSE Act, failed by a vote of  57-41.

 The First Amendment remains safe for one more day.

Senate Majority Leader Reid voted no, preserving the right to bring the bill back — “reconsideration” — at some future date. Just a gesture, we think. Otherwise, it was a partisan vote, Democrats in support, Republicans opposed. [Here's the roll call vote.]

Again, here’s the National Association of Manufacturers’ Key Vote letter opposing the legislation. NAM Executive Vice President Jay Timmons also issued a statement urging the bill’s defeat.

In the just-completed debate, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky methodically demolished the arguments for the speech-limiting legislation. The Republican leader frankly addressed the partisan issues at play and added substantive critiques to make his case:

In order to make sure this bill isn’t held up by something as inconvenient as a challenge on first amendment grounds, its authors have made sure no court action interferes with their new restrictions this election cycle and maybe next. They add multiple layers of review. …

The authors of the bill labored behind closed doors to decide who would retain the right to speak; In direct defiance of what the Supreme Court made clear this past January, when Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, said, “[W]e find no basis for the proposition that, in the context of political speech, the government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers.”

That is precisely what the Disclose Act does. It imposes restrictions on speech. And I would note that the one category of speakers upon whom the so-called reformers have bestowed the greatest speech rights in this bill are corporations that own media outlets. So a company that owns a TV network, newspaper or blog can say what they want, when they want, as often as they want.

Yes, newspaper editorialists often prefer to ignore that last point.

UPDATE (4:30 p.m.): The Center for Competitive Politics, an essential resource throughout Congress’ consideration of this ill-conceived bill, has issued a statement, “DISCLOSE Act blocked in Senate.” As is the Center’s wont, the release contains numerous substantive examples of how the bill targeted specific groups with its speech restrictions: (continue reading…)

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Still Trying to Seat Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board

As the Senate was preparing to adjourn for the Memorial Day recess period, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) sought to bring a package of nominees before the Senate to be passed by unanimous consent. This often takes place when there is a backlog of military nominations and other non-controversial nominees.

But this time was different.

Harkin, who chairs the Senate HELP Committee with jurisdiction over labor nominees, attempted once again to seat Craig Becker to the powerful National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by including Mr. Becker in this package. Senate had previously reacted to Mr. Becker’s views that are well outside the mainstream of legal thought with a bipartisan vote to oppose moving his nomination forward. Craig Becker’s extensive academic writings manifest radical points of view that go counter to decades of established labor law and indicate his willingness to use the NLRB to implement the goals of labor’s highest priority – the Employee Free Choice Act.

President Obama then made a recess appointment of Becker and another Democratic nominee, Buffalo labor lawyer Mark Pearce, to the NLRB over the Easter recess.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Sen. Harkin’s recent attempt at Becker’s confirmation by opposing the “unanimous consent” request, citing Becker’s views as well as the process to seat him – the recess appointment that circumvented the Senate’s will.

As we’ve reported previously the President appointed Mr. Becker to the Board during the Easter recess – after the Senate rejected moving forward with the nomination. James Fallows with The Atlantic notes that Sen. Harkin’s attempts to include Becker nomination further holds up a host of other nominees that are pending confirmation.

Labor leaders and their allies are dead set on implementing the Employee Free Choice Act at all costs – even if that means doing so incrementally through the Board and other Federal agencies. Sen. Harkin’s latest move is further evidence that employers and employees who object to the anti-democratic legislation must continue to be on guard for other attempts to enact aspects of the jobs-killing legislation.

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Including the Negative Reaction to President’s Energy Plan

Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, “Don’t Fall For Obama’s Energy Shell Game“:

In fact, if anything, the policies announced by President Obama yesterday will actually decrease and delay future U.S. oil production. The President actually canceled four lease sales off the Alaska coast that were planned to begin producing oil within the next two years, delayed a planned lease off Virginia until at least 2012, and placed some areas off limits for at least seven years. Go back and look at President Obama’s actual announcement again: he only promised new exploration off the Atlantic coast. There is absolutely no guarantee that any new drilling will ever occur. Secretary Ken Salazar’s Interior Department still has full discretion to never allow a single drop of oil to be harvested from these waters. And that doesn’t even begin to address the court challenges the enviro-left will employ to attack and delay the entire process.

Will Yeatman, Competitive Enterprise Institute, “OCS Sleight of Hand“:

[While] all the talking heads are chattering about Obama’s supposed pragmatism, the EPA will release today its final rule to allow California to regulate greenhouse gases from automobiles under the Clean Air Act. That’s the real story, because once a “pollutant” (remember, we are talking about carbon dioxide, the stuff we exhale) is regulated under the Clean Air Act, it becomes subject to further and further regulation. The President will have the power (the obligation, according to well funded environmental lawyers) to regulate anything larger than a mansion — your small business, your office complex, your apartment building.

Thomas J. Pyle, Institute for Energy Research, “Obama Energy Announcement: More Imported Oil, Less Domestic Production, Fewer Jobs“:

America’s offshore energy resources belong to the American people. Not a company, not a special interest, and not a single administration. And a clear majority of the American people supports the commonsense strategy of producing more oil and gas here in America. Unfortunately, today, and to our economic detriment, the President once again ignored the will of the American people. (continue reading…)

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