State of Our Union Can Be Strengthened Through Manufacturers’ Growth Agenda Time for Action on Recovery February 12, 2013 National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons issued this statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight:“Manufacturers welcomed the President’s remarks on immigration reform and STEM education, which show a true commitment to developing the skilled workforce desperately needed. It is encouraging to see a promise of infrastructure investment that will serve as a foundation of future manufacturing. 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 businesses.It is impossible to expect manufacturing to thrive when manufacturers are deprived of the tools they need to compete in the global economy while battling a 20 percent cost disadvantage. While tonight’s speech had a familiar focus on economic growth and recovery, we unfortunately didn’t hear a call for action on comprehensive tax reform that will benefit manufacturers. A manufacturing resurgence won’t come from limiting the global power of manufacturers. Tax reform is essential because it is our uncompetitive system that is hurting manufacturers both at home and in the global marketplace. We need a regulatory policy that lessens the burden on job creators and an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy and approval of the Keystone XL pipeline that will power manufacturers for years to come.Comprehensive immigration reform, expanded trade and efforts to reduce the skills gap are all laudatory and needed. However, there are many more difficult issues that must be tackled. Americans have been waiting for years for a real, sustained recovery. Manufacturers have been doing their part despite policies that stand directly in the way of growth. Previous State of the Union addresses provided strong rhetorical support. Now it’s time for the President and Congress to act and implement the Growth Agenda that manufacturers have laid out. If he does so, we will not simply be talking about recovery—we will be living it.”Click here to read A Growth Agenda: Four Goals for a Manufacturing Resurgence in America.