Policy Experts

Energy Brings Us Together

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As the days get shorter and the months grow colder, we are fortunate to have energy that warms our homes and gives us light to read a favorite book.

What we may forget is that domestic energy is also fueling a manufacturing renaissance. New resource production made possible by technological innovation is supporting millions of jobs, increasing household incomes, boosting trade and contributing to a new increase in U.S. competitiveness around the world. Domestic energy allows us to be productive at home and work. Relying on one-third of the energy used in the United States, manufacturing contributed $2.18 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2016. Renewable sources are growing quickly and diversifying the nation’s energy portfolio; our fleet of nuclear power plants cleanly and efficiently produce a substantial portion of the nation’s electricity; we have abundant supplies of coal, natural gas and oil; and advances in energy efficiency continue to save money.

Unfortunately, some people try to use energy as an issue to divide Americans. But that’s shortsighted.

Rather than picking one energy source over another, we should harness American creativity and competitiveness to drive efficiency from all energy sources. By making use of all of the United States’ domestic energy sources, we can ensure the best environmental outcomes at the lowest costs. Nuclear and fossil energy complement renewables like hydro, solar and wind and help ensure we have a diverse mix of energy resources. While solar and wind can produce varying amounts of energy, other energy is available on demand immediately and provides critical support to our renewable resources. For example, natural gas complements renewables and diversifies our energy portfolio. We are stronger together; together, we can forge long-term energy solutions.

That’s why manufacturers are watching the House Natural Resources Committee. The committee is busy marking up broad bipartisan legislation to strengthen energy policy on federal lands. H.R. 4239, the Strengthening the Economy with Critical Untapped Resources to Expand American Energy Act, or the SECURE American Energy Act, reforms existing regulatory frameworks for energy development on America’s Outer Continental Shelf and the vast onshore acreage that is under federal ownership.

Although energy production has surged in recent years, the vast majority of this new activity has occurred on private lands, while exploration on federal lands has shrunk. As a result, energy production continues to be artificially limited, reducing manufacturers’ potential competitive advantage. The federal government owns approximately 640 million acres onshore, or roughly 28 percent of the land, in the United States. And with 86 percent of our offshore resources unavailable for development or analysis, America could be producing much more. To remain competitive in a global economy, we need access to all kinds of energy—and that includes sharing the riches under our seas and on federal lands.

The onshore provisions of H.R. 4239 would allow for more local control over energy plans on federal land. States that demonstrate they can effectively regulate would also receive the full 50 percent of mineral revenues, helping to fund schools and public services like local police and fire. H.R. 4239 would also stop instances of duplicative federal regulations when a state already has effective requirements. The SECURE America’s Energy Act also strengthens our access to offshore energy, opening new areas to offshore wind energy and giving more states and local communities a chance to reap the benefits of exploration.

Continuing to expand fair access to energy resources allows us to be less dependent on foreign oil and ensure America’s energy independence. Manufacturers will continue supporting measures that promote expanded access to U.S. energy resources that make manufacturers more energy secure, while driving job creation and growth. Energy is an issue that can bring us together.

National Association of Manufacturers Sponsors Bipartisan “Build to Win” Event in Ohio

By | Energy, Policy Experts, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and its affiliate, the Ohio Manufacturers Association, partnered with the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber on Tuesday to host a panel discussion on infrastructure development and investment.

Expanding infrastructure is “great for the economy, great for the workers, middle-class jobs that are secure with benefits and pensions and good retirements, so it’s all good,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) told WKBN News during the “Fueling America’s Future: Accelerating Energy and Transportation Infrastructure” event.

The bipartisan discussion included Rep. Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio’s 13th District, and Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), a Republican who represents Ohio’s 6th District. They were joined by Rocco DiGennaro Jr., president of the Western Reserve Building Trades; David Ledonne, vice president for operations in the Utica Shale and Appalachia for MarkWest/MPLX; and moderator Ryan Augsburger, managing director of public policy for the Ohio Manufacturblogpic1ers’ Association.

“We know based on what we hear from our members that the support for transportation and energy infrastructure comes from all corners of the state,” Augsburger said in kicking off the event for about 100 members of the business and civic community who attended. “It crosses party lines, as you’ll see here today with the congressmen, and it transcends just about every demographic group you can imagine.”

The panel members answered questions from the audience about critical pieces of infrastructure, such as pipelines, roads, bridges, power plants and how investment in them can help bring manufacturing back to Ohio. The speakers conveyed a sense of optimism over plans for development.

DiGennaro explained how 500 of his union members would be working on a natural gasfired power plant next year and how eager his members are to work on ethane cracker plants as well. Ledonne provided the audience with an overview of how oil and gas development leads to expanded manufacturing as he provided an update on the significant investment Markwest/MPLX has made in the state.

The panelists drove home the point of how critical it is to invest in energy and transportation infrastructure. Rep. Ryan summed up the discussion best during a question-and-answer session:

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House Committee Approves Bill to Repeal Pay Ratio, Conflict Minerals

By | Policy Experts, Shopfloor Policy, Taxation, Trade | No Comments

Blog co-authored with Ken Monahan, director of international trade policy.

More than six years since Congress approved the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday took a step to modify or repeal various provisions from that law. The Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 5983), approved by the committee, specifically addresses some of the provisions that manufacturers have been raising concerns with for years, including the pay ratio and conflict minerals requirements. Read More

Energy Bill, TSCA Reform Show Momentum Building for Congressional Solutions on Energy, Environment

By | Energy, Policy Experts, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

This week, the Senate is debating S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, on the floor. The bill, introduced by Senate Energy Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and passed by the committee on a decisive 18-4 vote, is expected gain broad support from both sides of the aisle. There is a lot to like in the bill, including a wide range of measures on energy efficiency and improvements to the licensing process for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. The debate on S. 2012 comes on the heels of successful passage of legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by the Senate at the end of 2015. (The House passed a similar TSCA reform bill earlier in the year by a 398-1 vote, and the two bills await a conference.)

For years, Washington earned a well-deserved reputation for gridlock and an inability to solve problems. But these two bills, much like the recent successes on tax, infrastructure and trade, are a sign that the gridlock may be starting to ease. And if that’s the case, there are no shortage of energy and environmental issues that manufacturers would like some real, bipartisan solutions on. We talk about a lot of these in the our “Competing to Win” platform document, unveiled today by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons as he kicked off this year’s State of Manufacturing Tour. Read More

SOM Tour 2016: New Hampshire Is a Hotbed of Innovative Manufacturing

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A State of Manufacturing Tour guest blog post by Jim Roche, president of the Business & Industry Association, New Hampshire’s statewide Chamber of Commerce 

Today, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) kicked off its 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour in New Hampshire—and with good reason! New Hampshire is a hotbed of innovative manufacturing and home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary less than two weeks from now.

Here at the Business & Industry Association (BIA) of New Hampshire, the NAM’s official affiliate in the Granite State, we fight every day for policies that support our manufacturers—our state’s most important job creators. We push state legislators, the governor, our congressional delegation and regulators for public policy and commonsense solutions that are friendly to job creators and promote prosperity for New Hampshire businesses.

At today’s stop, the NAM laid out several key public policies that will help put manufacturing in America on solid ground, including important ideas likjim rochee fixing our outdated tax code and upgrading old infrastructure to take us toward a more modern economy.

Today’s tour also highlighted the many ways manufacturers are changing our lives for the better. Manufacturing has grown well beyond the outdated images of mill and textile work, particularly in New England. Today, manufacturing leads in electronics, fabricated metals, machinery and technology. And manufacturing is connecting people across continents. The sector offers outstanding jobs and careers for nearly 68,000 New Hampshire workers. New Hampshire’s manufacturers export almost $4 billion of goods around the world every year, bringing new wealth and economic activity into our state’s economy.

As we move deeper into this important election season, manufacturing voters are asking candidates hard questions about how they will help America compete to win in a global economy. No matter the outcome of the election, we need policies that support today’s diverse and dynamic manufacturers. When manufacturing succeeds, we’re all better off.


Report from St. Paul: Gov. Palin, the Speech

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(NAM Executive Vice President Jay Timmons is blogging from the Republican National Convention this week in St. Paul, Minn., following up on his reports from the Democratic Convention last week in Denver.)

What a time in our country’s history – Republicans will nominate their first female candidate for Vice President – Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Which ever party wins the White House, they will make history like never before – the first female Vice President or the first African-American President.

As Ronald Reagan said – The time is now.

In her speech accepting the nomination for Vice President this evening, Governor Palin made sure America knew she is ready for the job she is seeking. (Excerpts)

Last week, I blogged about my own mother’s rise as one of the first female CEOs in southern Ohio. It’s been a long road for the women of America, but as Hillary Clinton recently said, women are poised to finally break through the highest glass celling of them all. She may have thought she was talking about someone else, but turns out she was prophetic.

A reform-minded executive who understands fiscal responsibility, the Governor summed up her philosophy aptly: “I came to office promising to control spending, by request if possible, by veto if necessary.”

She concisely laid out a common sense approach to more domestic energy supply and lower prices at the pump as she called for more pipelines, nuclear facilities, clean coal and alternative sources: “We need to produce more of our own oil and gas….We need American energy produced by American ingenuity and brought to you by American workers.”

There are two months before the election and voters will learn more about all the candidates for President and Vice President. But if tonight is any indication, the Republican nominee for Vice President has shown SHE is ready to talk about public policy solutions that will positively impact real people in the real world.

And I’m pretty sure Americans will be listening.

Report from St. Paul: Bunning and the R&D Tax Credit

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(NAM Executive Vice President Jay Timmons is blogging from the Republican National Convention this week in St. Paul, Minn., following up on his reports from the Democratic Convention last week in Denver.)

NAM member company Brown-Forman honored the Kentucky delegation this afternoon and Sen. Jim Bunning was ready to talk policy.

An ardent advocate for a permanent R&D tax credit, he is ready to roll up his sleeves in the next Congress to get it done.

Without the predictability and consistency of a permanent credit, businesses can’t plan and vital research is often delayed.

As we search for new energy alternatives, it only makes sense that Congress unleash the creativity of American ingenuity. Senator Bunning understands that basic fact.

Report from St. Paul: Senator Kyl on Taxes

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(NAM Executive Vice President Jay Timmons is blogging from the Republican National Convention this week in St. Paul, Minn., following up on his reports from the Democratic Convention last week in Denver.)

John McCain’s Senate colleague from Arizona, Jon Kyl, was appropriately honored at a reception yesterday in Minneapolis. The second-ranking Senate Republican, Kyl is an economic stalwart who truly understands the importance of lower taxes, limited regulation and strong energy policy to economic growth and job creation.

He remains steadfast in insisting that the tax extender legislation be completed before Congress leaves town for the year and that they not contain tax increases. This legislative package is tremendously important for manufacturers as it includes energy efficiency, R&D tax credit and international provisions that will help protect and grow jobs. These provisions need to be passed before Congress adjourns and we are hopeful that a bipartisan agreement can be reached that does so without offsetting tax increases.

Report from St. Paul: A Dollop of Sensible Bipartisanship

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(NAM Executive Vice President Jay Timmons is blogging from the Republican National Convention this week in St. Paul, Minn., following up on his reports from the Democratic Convention last week in Denver.)

The NAM crew visited the Bipartisan Policy Center event, of which we were a sponsor. Just as in Denver, this event was evidence that those on different sides of the political aisle can work together to achieve positive results.

Respect goes a long way in Washington, and it’s something that is lacking in the nation’s capital these days. But two former political opponents attending the reception were reminders that it is possible to regain that spirit of cooperation.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) and former House Agriculture Chairman Dan Glickman (D-KS) were both on hand. Glickman is now CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America and we talked about how difficult it has become to get things done in DC now because of the partisan tenor. He noted that wasn’t always so, and that he believed in days past there was much more honor in the political process. “The Democrats always wanted me to run against Bob Dole,” he told me. “But I just couldn’t do it. He was a friend, I respected him, and he was just really good for the state.”

The ability to work with both sides of the political aisle and help educate Republicans and Democrats alike of the impact of their legislative initiatives on real people in the real world separates the NAM from some other organizations. Because in reality, no one who seeks public office intends to do harm to the economy or lose American jobs. But sometimes they just don’t realize the unintended consequences their actions might create.

Report from St. Paul: A Conversation wtih Mark Buse

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(NAM Executive Vice President Jay Timmons is blogging from the Republican National Convention this week in St. Paul, Minn., following up on his reports from the Democratic Convention last week in Denver.)

Had lunch with an old friend, Mark Buse, John McCain’s Chief of Staff in the Senate. As might be expected at the McCain nominating convention, Mark had to balance the bites of food in front of him, with calls from his boss.

Mark is someone who knows John McCain well – he first started working for then-Congressman McCain in 1984. Although he went into business for himself four years ago, the Senator called Mark back into public service earlier this year when he named him Chief. Prior to his stint in the private sector, Mark was the staff director of the Senate Commerce Committee where he worked with the Senator to advance common sense economic policy that promoted competition and growth.

My conversation with Mark reminded me that John McCain has a knack for surrounding himself with competent and knowledgeable folks. In addition to Mark, Rick Davis – the manager of the presidential campaign – has been a long-time loyalist of McCain. And the senior strategist Senator McCain recently brought on board – Steve Schmidt – is well-known as one of the most skilled and savvy campaign professionals in the country.

Most notable, in a town where long-term employment is often defined as anything exceeding 12 months, and relationships are too many times merely transactional, loyalty is a premium. John McCain hires well, and his team is known for their devotion and loyalty to him. That speaks volumes.