AIM summarizes President Obama’s State of the Union Address
President Barack Obama delivered his annual State of the Union Address to a new Congress on Tuesday night.
While addressing energy, defense, tax reform and guns, the president discussed the creation of manufacturing hubs similar to Associated Industries of Missouri’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence.
“President Obama mentioned the formation of manufacturing innovation institutes similar to the one in Youngstown, Ohio and AIM’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence,” said Ray McCarty, president of AIM. “Associated Industries of Missouri and our federal partner the National Association of Manufacturers are excited to work with federal departments to promote manufacturing in Missouri through the Center of Manufacturing Excellence as one of those hubs.”
The president made several comments to the growth in the manufacturing sector which encouraged him to make the commitment to the manufacturing hubs.
“Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing,” said Obama. “There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. So tonight, I’m announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And, I ask this Congress to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made in America.”
The comments brought much praise from business groups in D.C. The National Association of Manufacturers was pleased with the announcement, but encouraged the president and his departments to commit to more infrastructure, jobs and energy with the advancement of the Keystone Pipeline.
“The Keystone Pipeline is 118,000 jobs and it really drives the point that infrastructure matters,” said Aric Newhouse, NAM’s senior vice-president for policy and government relations. “We’re sitting in the 21st century looking to compete internationally and we’re sitting with infrastructure that sadly is not where it needs to be.”
President Obama mentioned the need for energy independence many times throughout his speech, but did not mention the Keystone Pipeline once.
“Much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together,” said the president. “I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let’s take their advice and free our families and businesses from painful spikes in gas prices we’ve put up with for far too long.”
According to the Partnership to Fuel America, the U.S. currently imports more oil from Canada than any other nation. If the president would sign the agreement to bring the Keystone Pipeline through the United States, the industry would benefit from an estimated 85,000 jobs (6,763 in Missouri) by 2020, equating to a financial benefit between $200 and $800 billion. Such an increase would mean approximately $585 million in new tax revenues for communities along the pipeline route.
While the president’s speech lacked a commitment to investing in energy infrastructure with the U.S.’s northern neighbor, he did discuss a trade commitment with the European Union.
“To boost American exports, support American jobs, and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said President Obama. “I am announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union – because trade that is free and fair across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.”
Associated Industries of Missouri is the proud Missouri affiliate for the National Association of Manufacturers.
U.S. exports grew by $66.7 billion over the last year, according to the NAM. That number is less than half the value of export growth in 2010 and 2011, a rate described as “anemic” by the NAM.
“It is encouraging to see a promise of infrastructure investment that will serve as a foundation of future manufacturing,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the NAM. “The announcement of negotiations toward a free trade agreement with the European Union represents a significant step forward in leveling the playing field in foreign markets. However, equally important is creating an atmosphere where employers can hire workers and invest in their business. It is impossible to expect manufacturing to thrive when manufacturers are deprived of the tools they need to compete in a global economy while battling a 20 percent cost disadvantage.”