Capital Briefing: August 7, 2015

Capital Briefing

#Manufacturing Tweet of the Week

Details: Martha Sprague, (202) 637-3083.


This Week in Washington

Take Action During the August Congressional Recess.
Every summer, the NAM reaches out to its membership to urge manufacturers to engage with members of Congress while they are in their districts for the August recess—and this year is no different. Policymakers will be home for more than 30 days, offering manufacturers the perfect opportunity to educate them on the issues that most affect our industry and to let them know that inaction is not an option.

Here's how you can get involved during this year's August recess:

  • Take action on the issues most important to your company. Visit the NAM's Manufacturing Works advocacy website to send an e-mail to policymakers today. The NAM is encouraging members to engage policymakers on reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, highway and infrastructure spending, Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform, tax reform and ozone regulations.
  • Invite members of Congress to tour your manufacturing facility in August. Use the NAM's Plant Tour Guide to plan your visit. If you need assistance, contact NAM External Relations Manager Leann Paradise. Let us know when a tour has been scheduled. We can provide you with briefing documents and other helpful information.
  • Make August 10 a day of action by encouraging your employees to reach out to members of Congress on your company's top issues. Employees can also send messages from Manufacturing Works, or the NAM can help you craft a custom message that you can share with your workforce.

Visit the NAM's August congressional recess toolkit for more information. There is unfinished business waiting for members of Congress when they return to Washington, and manufacturers like you can lay the groundwork. 

Details: Christopher Glen, (202) 637-3121.

Hot Topic

Administration Finalizes GHG Rules for Existing and New Power Plants.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations for power plants on Monday, creating a final standard for existing power plants that is more stringent than what was proposed originally. Every sector of the economy could be affected as the final rule intends to reshape the electric power grid. As NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a press release, “We need policies that foster continued innovation, encourage new investments and allow manufacturers to remain competitive—not ones that punish and penalize.”

As users of one-third of the energy produced in the United States, manufacturers rely on secure and affordable energy to compete in a global economy. The EPA’s regulation threatens to eliminate this competitive advantage by increasing costs and removing reliable and abundant sources of energy from our nation’s energy mix. At a voluminous 2,000-plus new pages, the EPA’s suite of regulations creates considerable uncertainty for manufacturers, and the rules will almost certainly be challenged in court. Significant changes in the final rules include an increased overall emissions-reduction requirement of 32 percent by 2030, up from the proposed 30 percent; drastically changed emission targets for some states, such as North Dakota, which received a more than quadruple increase to a 44.9 percent reduction target; and straying further away from an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

The NAM also led industry pushback against the final rule as the co-chair of the Partnership for a Better Energy Future (PBEF), which comprises more than 170 organizations representing more than 80 percent of the U.S. economy. PBEF is the leading voice in support of a unified strategy and message in response to the Obama Administration’s GHG regulatory agenda. This week, the NAM and PBEF issued a call to support the Affordable Reliable Electricity Now Act of 2015 (S. 1324), which would give manufacturers greater legal certainty by delaying implementation until after the legal challenges have been resolved. The bill would also protect the electric grid in cases of the rule having adverse impacts on reliability. S. 1324 passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday. For more information, visit our website.

Details: Ross Eisenberg, (202) 637-3173 and Greg Bertelsen, (202) 637-3174.

Energy and Resources Policy

NAM Turns Up the Volume on Ozone.
The NAM’s television ad campaign highlighting the negative impacts of the EPA’s proposed ozone rule continued this week with a new video asking the question, “Common sense—does it exist in our nation’s capital?” Stringent new standards proposed by the EPA threaten to be the most expensive regulation in U.S. history, costing upward of $140 billion annually in reduced GDP and threatening the competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States. At a time when air quality continues to improve and existing ozone standards have yet to be fully implemented, it is critical that policymakers recognize the threat an even more severe ozone regulation could have on manufacturers and the economy—and pursue a more balanced approach. If the EPA simply let current law be implemented, emissions would be cut by another 36 percent from current levels. With only two months left before the expected release of the Obama Administration’s new ozone rule, the NAM will continue to turn up the volume on lawmakers inside and outside the Beltway and urge President Obama to retain the existing ozone standard. Click here to watch the latest ad and for more information on ozone.

Details: Ross Eisenberg, (202) 637-3173 and Greg Bertelsen, (202) 637-3174.

Trade Policy

Trans-Pacific Partnership Talks Continue as Manufacturers Call for Strong Outcomes.
On July 31, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ministers announced that they were unable to finalize the TPP agreement but had made “significant progress” during last week’s discussions in Maui, Hawaii. While explaining that discussions are needed to resolve “a limited number of remaining issues,” ministers stopped short of setting a new deadline or ministerial meeting for completing the talks.

The NAM had been working with negotiators and our members throughout the week pressing for the highest possible outcome agreement, including through the release by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons of the NAM’s TPP principles and the release of a joint business letter spearheaded by the NAM urging an ambitious outcome—not a lowest common denominator approach full of product or sectoral carve-outs from baseline rules. When the ministers made their announcement, the NAM released a statement expressing disappointment that a high-standard deal could not be completed, but urging negotiators’ “continued attention to the issues that are most critical to grow the U.S. economy and support high-paying jobs in the United States...including through concrete new market access, the protection of intellectual property, provisions to enable e-commerce and a level playing field, fair treatment and strong property and investment protection standards, all of which must be enforceable for all industries.”

The NAM is staying engaged with negotiators and our members as the TPP talks continue in the coming weeks. The NAM will continue to push for an ambitious outcome that will grow manufacturing opportunities in the United States.

Details: Linda Dempsey, (202) 637-3144 and Ken Monahan, (202) 637-3078.

Tax, Technology and Domestic Economic Policy

SEC Finalizes Costly Pay Ratio Rule.
On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 3–2 to finalize rules implementing the Dodd-Frank Act Section 953(b) requirement that public companies regularly disclose the ratio of employees’ median pay to the compensation of a company’s chief executive. This final “pay ratio” rule creates millions of dollars in compliance costs and significant burdens for manufacturers without any benefit for shareholders, as the SEC itself noted in the original proposal. While the final rule attempts to take into consideration some of the concerns raised in the NAM’s 2013 comment letter, the SEC did not mitigate the most significant burdens of collecting and calculating the information necessary to comply with the pay ratio requirement.

For more information on how the SEC pay ratio rule burdens manufacturers with millions in new costs, visit our Shopfloor blog.

Details: Christina Crooks, (202) 637-3076.

Manufacturers' Center for Legal Action

NAM Leads Action on Open Internet Lawsuit.
This week, the NAM led a business association coalition in filing an amicus brief in support of the pending lawsuit on the legality of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) decision to regulate the open Internet. The amicus brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, contends that applying an antiquated regulatory framework to the Internet will stifle future investment and innovation while yielding no commensurate benefits for consumers. It also complicates manufacturers' ability to make the timely and necessary capital investment decisions they need to out-innovate and outperform their competitors. A recent study estimates that capital investment by certain broadband providers could be between $28.1 billion and $45.4 billion lower than expected over the next five years if wireless broadband is reclassified, per the FCC's decision.

Details: Patrick Forrest, (202) 637-3061.

Manufacturing in Action

The CMA 2015 Summer Leadership Conference's session on how economists shape business decisions gave audience members an opportunity to ask questions. The session, which featured an interview between NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray and Robert Litan, author of Trillion Dollar Economists and senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, provided a detailed look at how economists shape business decisions, business models and government policies, expanding the popular idea of the economist's role from one of forecaster to one of innovator.

Photo by David Bohrer/National Association of Manufacturers

The Manufacturing Institute

STEP Ahead Awards Nominations Open.
Manufacturing faces a serious skills gap, and part of that gap is the underrepresentation of women. While women make up approximately 50 percent of the labor force, that number is only about 25 percent in manufacturing. In response to this glaring statistic, The Manufacturing Institute is taking action.

STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead is a growing grassroots movement of manufacturers dedicated to overcoming the shared challenges facing the industry, closing the skills gap and advancing quality talent. This initiative celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of current leadership in manufacturing, inspires the next generation of women leaders through mentorship programs and documents best practices in attracting and retaining female talent.

The STEP Ahead Award is a national recognition and distinction, celebrating chosen honorees and emerging leaders, building their leadership skills and strengthening their networks. As manufacturers continue to struggle with attracting, retaining and advancing talent, STEP Ahead offers an avenue for corporate action and impact.

Click here to nominate a woman in manufacturing for the STEP Ahead Award to promote the vital role of women in our workforce.

Details: Amirh Morgan, (202) 637-3137.

Get Involved

The NAM Election Center Is Back and Better Than Ever.
The NAM Election Center has been redesigned and refreshed for the new election cycle. On the Election Center, you will find resources to help you communicate with your company's employees effectively and legally about the importance of voting in 2016. From a guide to help you start a new get-out-the-vote effort at your company, to co-brandable materials, to sample language for your e-mails and newsletters, the Election Center is your one-stop shop. Through our partnership with TurboVote, employees can easily register to vote and sign up for e-mail and text message Election Day reminders.

Now is the time to start the conversation—remember, presidential primaries and caucuses begin in February! Take a moment to visit the Election Center today at www.nam.org/electioncenter.

Details: Leann Paradise, (202) 637-3049.

Don't Miss a Beat During Your Summer Vacation.
You can take the NAM’s advocacy tools on the road with you this summer by downloading the MFGWorks app today on all of your Apple and Android devices. The NAM developed this free app for smartphones and tablets to give manufacturing employees, families and friends the power to take action in support of manufacturing while they are on the go. You can also catch up on your reading through MFGWorks by linking directly to the NAM’s Shopfloor blog and Member Focus digital magazine.

To download, simply visit www.nam.org/downloadadvocacyapp today, or search “MFGWorks” in the Apple App or Google Play Store.

Details: Leann Paradise, (202) 637-3049.

CMA 2015 Summer Leadership Conference.
More than 100 association executives gathered at The Broadmoor hotel and resort for the NAM's Council of Manufacturing Associations' semiannual leadership conference. Attendees discussed legislative policies impacting manufacturing, such as TSCA, ozone, blacklisting, cybersecurity threats and the industries most targeted and the upcoming 2016 election cycle as well as trends in association business models to help organizations meet their strategic goals. The next conference takes place January 13–15, 2016, in Middleburg, Va.

Details: Tonya Muse, (202) 637-3130.

Upcoming Events

Save the Date: Cargo Logistics America Expo & Conference December 2–3.
The NAM is a supporting partner of the Cargo Logistics America (CLA) Expo & Conference, December 2–3, in San Diego, Calif. Come see the entire supply chain—all major transportation modes and all cargo types—under one roof. If your company has a supply chain that runs through America, you will want to attend CLA 2015. Featured keynote speakers will include Marlin Steel Wire Products LLC President and Owner and NAM Executive Committee member Drew Greenblatt. Registration with a special discount for NAM members will open this month. For more information, e-mail info@cargologisticsamerica.com.

Details: Chrys Kefalas, (202) 637-3082.

The Week Ahead

The Senate and House will be on recess until Tuesday, September 8.

Economic Reports:
Next week, we will get the latest news on industrial production on Friday. After being unchanged in both May and June, we will be looking for signs of a possible rebound in manufacturing output in the July data. Along those lines, economists hope to also see signs of better hiring and retail spending activity in reports due out on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Job openings in the sector have moved in the right direction in prior releases, providing some encouragement for net hiring moving forward. Other highlights for the week include updates on consumer confidence, labor productivity, producer prices and small business optimism.

Details: Chad Moutray, (202) 637-3148

Questions or Comments?

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