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  • Writer's pictureAIM Team

Join the Manufacturing Army in Washington June 10–11

Manufacturers of all sizes from across the United States will converge in Washington, D.C., for the NAM’s 2014 Manufacturing Summit June 10–11. NAM members will have the opportunity to meet with members of Congress and Administration officials, talk with congressional leaders and network with their colleagues during this annual two-day, action-packed fly-in event. It’s not too late to get involved! To register for the full Summit or individual events, click here.

“Manufacturing is making a comeback, but imagine how much stronger this comeback could be if Washington removed impediments to growth and focused on policies that will help us compete, innovate and strengthen our communities,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Manufacturers are engaged in the policy battles that will determine the future path of our country.”

Your advocacy can push lawmakers across the finish line on policies critical to manufacturers’ competitiveness. According to a survey of congressional staff conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation, “in-person visits by constituents” is the best strategy to influence an undecided lawmaker.

This year, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will share their insights about the legislative and political outlook in Washington and how we can make a difference on the issues that matter most to manufacturers. Our focus will be on a wide range of critical pro-growth policy issues, including tax, energy and regulations, labor and workforce, trade and infrastructure.

Manufacturers will educate lawmakers on how manufacturing drives our economy and the importance of the following priorities on the NAM’s Growth Agenda:

Tax Policy As Washington continues to debate comprehensive reform of our nation’s tax system, policymakers can take steps to create a tax climate that encourages innovation and spurs investment, job creation and economic growth. Key ingredients for a comprehensive tax reform plan include the following: A Lower Corporate Tax Rate: The United States has the highest corporate tax rate among developed countries. A corporate rate of 25 percent or lower will make the United States a more attractive place to manufacture and attract foreign direct investment. Lower Tax Rates for Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers: Nearly 70 percent of manufacturers—small and medium-sized businesses—pay taxes at the individual rate. Tax reform must be comprehensive and ensure that the result does not disadvantage these businesses that play a critical role in the supply chain and broader economy. A Strong, Permanent and Competitive Research and Development (R&D) Incentive: Research and technology investment play a key role in U.S. job creation and innovation. The United States has been a leader in promoting R&D for more than 30 years, but more and more countries have provided greater certainty for businesses in recent years by enacting permanent R&D incentives. The certainty provided by a strengthened, permanent R&D incentive would enhance its value and help ensure U.S. leadership in global innovation. A Modern International Tax System: Current tax laws make it difficult for U.S. companies to thrive in the global marketplace. To make U.S. multinationals more competitive, a new international tax system should be similar to systems in most industrial countries, structured to enhance competitiveness, not raise revenue. A Robust Capital Cost-Recovery System: Capital investment is key to economic growth, job creation and competitiveness. Promoting investment through a strong capital cost-recovery system must be part of any tax reform effort. Energy Policy Manufacturers support an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that embraces all forms of domestic energy production, including oil, gas, coal, nuclear, energy efficiency, alternative fuels and renewable energy sources. As consumers of one-third of the energy used in the United States, manufacturers need access to a secure, affordable and reliable energy supply. Manufacturers need policies from Washington that preserve our energy advantage and unlock an energy-fueled manufacturing comeback, including the following: Keystone XL Pipeline: The Keystone XL pipeline is vital to the United States as it will provide an affordable and reliable energy source, create more than 42,000 jobs in the manufacturing, construction and service sectors and add more than $3.4 billion to our economy. Every single environmental review conducted by the Department of State over the five-year permitting process for Keystone XL has found that the project can be constructed without adversely impacting the environment. Manufacturers need Congress to pass legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline immediately. Energy Efficiency: A recent poll by the NAM and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association found that 9 in 10 Americans support using energy-efficient products and believe it is important to include energy efficiency as part of our country’s energy solutions. Manufacturers encourage senators to pass the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 2262), sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH). S. 2262 would encourage the adoption of energy-efficient products and technologies in manufacturing, commercial and residential sectors and the federal government. Chemical Manufacturing Reform: Energy is driving major new investments in manufacturing, particularly the chemical sector. The American Chemistry Council reports that 177 new chemical industry projects valued at $112 billion in potential new U.S. investment have been announced, which, if constructed, could create hundreds of thousands of new, permanent jobs. However, manufacturers believe the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA)—the primary federal statute regulating the manufacturing, importation and use of chemical substances—is out of date and must be modernized.Manufacturers support the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (S. 1009) and its companion legislation being drafted by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) in the House. Environmental Regulations Manufacturers are committed to protecting the environment through greater sustainability, increased energy efficiency and conservation and a reduction in emissions. With some of the largest, most expensive new regulations in history on the immediate horizon, manufacturers need a balanced approach to environmental policies, not overly restrictive regulations that unnecessarily slow growth, increase costs and hurt competitiveness. A More Reasonable Approach to Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Regulations:Manufacturers need policies that support an “all-of-the-above” approach that allows for access to all forms of energy. The Obama Administration’s GHG proposals will limit our access to fossil fuels, driving up energy costs for manufacturers, threatening electric reliability and harming our competitiveness. The Obama Administration’s approach would also set a dangerous precedent for manufacturers who stand next in line for GHG regulations, which will be modeled from current proposals. Last fall, the NAM launched its Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action to strengthen our advocacy toolbox. The NAM is involved in a number of cases on the environmental front and is awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court in our challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) first suite of GHG rules. Costly Ozone Regulations Threaten Manufacturers and the Economy: The EPA plans to tighten the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone this year. New ozone NAAQS could be the most expensive regulation ever administered on manufacturers, with compliance costs exceeding $100 billion per year nationwide.Virtually every state and county in the United States could potentially be turned into a “no-growth zone,” where manufacturers cannot build new facilities or expand existing ones without first taking one down. Waters of the United States (WOTUS): Manufacturers oppose new EPA regulations that greatly expand the definition of WOTUS. These new regulations drastically expand federal jurisdiction from traditional navigable waters to tributaries, adjacent waters (such as ponds) and vaguely defined “other waters” (which may be virtually anything that is wet).Manufacturers cannot withstand the new regulatory burdens this rule would impose, as many facilities become subject to new permitting requirements, fieldwork, modeling burdens and delays. Labor Policy The Department of Labor and its agencies have set out to alter the relationship between employers and employees. Manufacturers are urging Congress to act to prevent the following rules from being implemented: National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “Ambush Elections” Rule: The NLRB’s“ambush elections” rule could allow union elections to take place in as few as 10 days. It also forces employers to provide employees’ private information, such as personal e-mails and cell phone numbers, to the NLRB. Manufacturers support the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 4320) and the Employee Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 4321) to stop this rule from going into effect. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Proposed Rule on Injury and Illness Reporting: OSHA is trying to change how companies report injuries and illnesses to the agency, which will have a significant impact on all employers because the information would be posted on the Internet without any context and will do little to make our workplaces safer. What it will do is lead to unfair judgments about a company and the manufacturing industry based on misinterpreted and misunderstood information. OSHA Letter of Interpretation on Inspections: Despite longstanding policy to the contrary, OSHA has begun allowing third-party/union representatives to join OSHA during an inspection at nonunion facilities. This is a significant change in how things have been done in the past and likely a tactic that unions will use to target companies for organization campaigns. Workforce Development The ability of manufacturers to succeed in the highly competitive global marketplace depends on access to an educated, flexible and knowledge-based workforce. American employees, in turn, need the education and skills to participate in a high-performance workforce for the robust and dynamic U.S. manufacturing economy. The NAM has developed a board-level taskforce to determine the most effective method of addressing the skills gap. Worker Training: The United States needs to use federal workforce training funds more effectively. Training programs that result in a certification or credential in a specific set of skills should be given priority and could be streamlined to be more user-friendly. The bipartisan, bicameral Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act introduced earlier this month would update the workforce development system. The NAM supports the bill and its focus on industry-recognized credentials. Career and technical education is a key component in developing a skilled workforce by providing real-world learning in technical fields. The Perkins Career and Technical Education Act must be reauthorized with a focus on industry-recognized credentials to better align programs with in-demand careers. International Trade Manufacturers large and small compete in a highly competitive global economy. Washington plays a critical role in advancing a robust trade policy that strengthens manufacturing competitiveness by opening new export markets, eliminating overseas barriers and ensuring trade rules are fully enforced. Manufacturers need Washington policymakers to take the following key actions: Reauthorizing the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank: The Ex-Im Bank provides export financing, loan guarantees and other services that enable thousands of manufacturers to support jobs and sell their made-in-the-USA products to purchasers around the world.Failure to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank before its September 30 expiration threatens manufacturing competitiveness in a tough global economy where overseas competitors are often backed by their own highly aggressive government trade finance programs. Clickhere for our “Exporters for Ex-Im” Shopfloor blog series highlighting the positive impact of Ex-Im’s services. Ensuring America Leads in Negotiating Market-Opening Trade Agreements:America’s ability to strike enforceable trade agreements that open markets and level the playing field has been stalled since Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) expired in 2007. TPA is a critical executive-congressional framework that enables congressional participation in trade negotiations and ensures timely action on completed deals. Congress and the Obama Administration must work together to renew TPA to conclude and implement strong trade agreements that create new opportunities for our nation’s manufacturers. Strengthening Manufacturers’ Global Cost-Competitiveness: Many manufacturers need duty-free access to key inputs that are not produced in the United States. For decades, Congress has provided that access through Miscellaneous Tariff Bills (MTBs). Passage of a new MTB has been stalled for nearly 20 months, effectively placing an additional tax on manufacturers. Infrastructure Manufacturers need a competitive infrastructure to thrive in today’s global economy. Unfortunately, the nation’s infrastructure is out of date and resting on a legacy built by previous generations. While manufacturers appreciate and helped lead the way on the recent two-year authorization of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, Congress must continue to advance critical transportation legislation. A recent survey conducted by the NAM and Building America’s Future found that 65 percent of manufacturers do not believe that our nation’s infrastructure is positioned to respond to the competitive demands of a growing economy over the next 10 to 15 years. Manufacturers are concerned that we are ceding important gains achieved in the 20th century to our global competitors. To compete in the 21st-century economy, we have to invest in and modernize our infrastructure with an eye toward economic growth, jobs and increased competitiveness. Congress must address the following critical issues: Fixing the Highway Trust Fund: According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and Congressional Budget Office, the Highway Trust Fund will no longer be able to meet its fiscal obligations to the states in late August, before the current authorization expires on September 30. Without congressional action, all new highway and transit projects will be put on hold. Passing a Multiyear Surface Transportation Authorization: The current surface transportation authorization—Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21)—is a two-year, $105 billion surface transportation authorization that funds federal highway and transit programs. It expires on September 30.

These real-world problems affect manufacturers every day. The Summit is your opportunity to make your voice heard on these critical issues and encourage Congress to enact policies that will spur vigorous economic growth and reduce the costs of doing business in the United States.

When we unite, we amplify our message that manufacturing makes America strong. It is critical for manufacturers like you—from front-office executives to plant managers and workers on the front lines—to visit congressional offices and federal agencies this year and emphasize the need for policies that will spur vigorous economic growth and reduce the cost of doing businessRoll Call highlighted some of manufacturers’ summer advocacy priorities earlier this week.



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