Election Day 2018 has finally come and gone, and while the pundits will spend weeks dissecting the exit polls, latest trends and “what this means for 2020,” manufacturers are focused on something more important: what this all means for the more than 12.5 million men and women who make things in America.
Here is what matters for manufacturers:
- There is no industry better positioned to be the deciding force on any issue in the next Congress, which is an enviable place to be given the status of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, other potential trade agreements and the future of infrastructure investment. While many issues divided the electorate and candidates this cycle, bolstering manufacturing in the United States drew support from all political stripes. That near unanimous support for the industry and the need for bipartisan consensus for any movement means the White House and Congress will look to manufacturers and the NAM in the 116th Congress to get deals done.
- Do not assume the manufacturing agenda cannot move forward. One of the biggest exaggerations is that nothing gets accomplished with a divided government. Back in 2015, for example, with both sides finding every reason not to come together, we secured the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Highway Trust Fund extension and fix, Export-Import Bank reauthorization and Water Resources Reform and Development Act, among other priorities. In the noise of this election, it is easy to lose sight that we also secured major bipartisan legislative wins in 2018. The Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, America’s Water Infrastructure Act and Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization passed on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis.
- Do not overlook the lame-duck session of the 115th Congress and the efforts that will continue in the agencies on the issues we care about. There are still opportunities in the coming weeks to either advance or set the stage for additional progress on tax and regulatory reforms as well as significant infrastructure investment and trade expansion. We could see even more key appointments advance, and manufacturers will continue to work through the agencies to build on the significant regulatory relief we have secured already.
- The year of the manufacturing lawyer may be upon us. There is no doubt there are fights on the horizon, and the courts will see a lot of them head in their direction. Whether it is defending gains made by the Trump administration, battling to defeat frivolous lawsuits through the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project or filing affirmative litigation or “friend of the court” briefs, the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action will be front and center in many of these cases.
The bottom line is this: The election changed some of the individuals who will lead this country, but it has not changed the fact that manufacturers and the NAM have the tools to secure more progress for America’s manufacturing workers. We have the momentum, we have the public’s support, we have bipartisan respect, and we have a voice that is as strong today as it was yesterday. And it will be even stronger tomorrow.
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