Capital Briefing: November 20, 2015

Capital Briefing

In This Issue



Capital Briefing will take a break during the Thanksgiving recess and return on December 4. 

#Manufacturing Tweet of the Week

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


This Week in Washington

Senate Moves to Stop EPA GHG Regulations.
Late Tuesday, the Senate voted to approve resolutions to strike down both of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) greenhouse gas (GHG) rules for power plants. The NAM key-voted both pieces of legislation and also supported the votes as a leading member of the Partnership for a Better Energy Future, which comprises more than 170 organizations representing more than 80 percent of the U.S. economy.

Under the Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval, lawmakers can reject recently finalized regulations with a simple majority vote. These resolutions of disapproval would prevent the implementation of GHG regulations for new and modified power plants as well as for existing power plants—a regulation commonly referred to as the Clean Power Plan. Both resolutions passed on largely party-line votes of 52–46, with Republicans voting in the majority.

The regulations are a key concern for manufacturers, as together they implement standards that take energy options off the table and threaten manufacturers' competitiveness. They would increase energy prices while many of our international competitors operate free from similar constraints.  

The House has introduced similar resolutions of disapproval, which have passed through the Energy and Commerce Committee. The full House is expected to vote on the resolutions after the Thanksgiving holiday. President Obama has threatened to veto the resolutions.

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

Hot Topic

Transportation Bill Moving Toward Final Phase.
The members of a newly named conference committee to resolve the differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of H.R. 22 met this week for the first time. Staff from the relevant committees have been intensely negotiating a final long-term transportation bill behind the scenes.

The House resoundingly passed its final bill on November 5 by a 363–64 vote. This week, the House passed a short-term extension by voice vote that authorizes federal highway and transit programs until December 4.

The Senate quickly moved the extension measure this week, and the extra time will allow conferees to wrap up and finalize negotiations on a bicameral agreement. The NAM sent a letter to House and Senate conferees this week outlining several key priorities and urged them to include a long-term reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank in the final legislative package.

Details: Robyn Boerstling, (202) 637-3178.

Tax, Technology and Domestic Economic Policy

Manufacturers Fight Back on Pension Premium Hikes.
The NAM joined more than 120 companies and associations in urging every member of Congress to reject any further increases to the premiums that employers of traditional pension plans pay to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

Even though Congress has already increased PBGC premiums by almost $17 billion over the past three years—with manufacturers paying nearly half that amount—the recently enacted budget deal included a multibillion-dollar hike to single-employer pension premiums by increasing the flat and variable rate premiums by another 25 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

These premium increases translate into a tax on manufacturers that may have a negative impact on retirement security and the economy. Every additional dollar that employers must pay to the PBGC is one less dollar that can be used to fund participant benefits, expand businesses, create jobs or grow the economy. Congress should oppose any further increases to PBGC premiums. For more information, read the NAM's recent Shopfloor blog post on the issue.

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

Manufacturers Still Concerned About BEPS Proposals After G-20 Leaders' Approval.
This week, leaders at the G-20 Summit endorsed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) recommendations. In a blog post, the NAM reiterated that some of the BEPS proposals would impose substantial and unnecessary compliance costs on companies. In some cases, they would force the disclosure of sensitive, confidential U.S. taxpayer information, creating a whole new set of unnecessary business challenges for global companies.

In particular, the NAM noted that the new “master file” provision could force global companies to disclose an unprecedented amount of proprietary information about their global operations to foreign governments.

In today’s cyber-driven economy, it is essential that any information disclosure and sharing provisions protect the proprietary business information of U.S. companies. The NAM urges the U.S. government to refrain from pursuing implementation until Congress has fully vetted the proposed changes for their impact on U.S. companies and the broader economy.

The NAM remains committed to working with Congress and the Obama Administration to ensure a fair and transparent tax climate that keeps manufacturers competitive in the global marketplace. Implementation of the BEPS proposals—or any international tax regulation—should not come at the expense of manufacturers’ ability to innovate and compete.

Details: Dorothy Coleman, (202) 637-3077.

Manufacturers Still Concerned About BEPS Proposals After G-20 Leaders' Approval.
This week, leaders at the G-20 Summit endorsed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) recommendations. In a blog post, the NAM reiterated that some of the BEPS proposals would impose substantial and unnecessary compliance costs on companies. In some cases, they would force the disclosure of sensitive, confidential U.S. taxpayer information, creating a whole new set of unnecessary business challenges for global companies.

In particular, the NAM noted that the new “master file” provision could force global companies to disclose an unprecedented amount of proprietary information about their global operations to foreign governments.

In today’s cyber-driven economy, it is essential that any information disclosure and sharing provisions protect the proprietary business information of U.S. companies. The NAM urges the U.S. government to refrain from pursuing implementation until Congress has fully vetted the proposed changes for their impact on U.S. companies and the broader economy.

The NAM remains committed to working with Congress and the Obama Administration to ensure a fair and transparent tax climate that keeps manufacturers competitive in the global marketplace. Implementation of the BEPS proposals—or any international tax regulation—should not come at the expense of manufacturers’ ability to innovate and compete.

Details: Dorothy Coleman, (202) 637-3077.

NAM Tells Congress That FCC Regulatory Overreach Hurts Manufacturing Innovation.
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held an oversight hearing this week focused on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the impact regulatory overreach is having on the ability of the private sector to grow. The NAM weighed in with the entire subcommittee before the hearing to oppose the FCC's attempt to regulate the Internet with laws from the early 20th century.

Manufacturers of all sizes from all industries leverage connected technology throughout their products and processes. The deployment of this technology has led to unprecedented innovation in our sector, helping to drive growth.

The NAM cautioned that this action by the FCC would lead to decreased investment in our telecommunications infrastructure, threatening our lead in the race for new and innovative technologies that have the potential to transform our industry and create jobs.

Details: Brian Raymond, (202) 637-3072.

Manufacturing in Action

The NAM hosted the George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management for a discussion on advocacy in Washington.

Photo by David Bohrer/National Association of Manufacturers

NAM in the News

Manufacturers Talk Policy with Presidential Candidate Bush.
Manufacturers from across the United States participated in a tele–town hall this week with former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL). Gov. Bush is the second 2016 presidential candidate to participate in the tele–town hall series hosted by the NAM, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Associated General Contractors of America, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Retail Federation.

On the call, Gov. Bush addressed and answered questions from manufacturers and business owners on key policy issues, including labor, trade, tax and environmental regulations. One important question came from Jay Pittas, president and CEO of Remy International, Inc. and a member of the NAM Board of Directors, relating to Gov. Bush's position on the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The tele–town halls offer manufacturers and business owners an opportunity to hear directly from presidential candidates on policies that impact businesses and the economy.

The NAM will continue this event series over the next few weeks. The next scheduled tele–town hall is December 2 with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). For more information, visit our webpage. Through our state-of-the-art NAM Election Center, we are manufacturers' leading source for election information and tools.

Details: Mallory Micetich, (202) 637-3085.

The Week Ahead

Senate Hearings:

The Senate is on recess during the week of November 23.

Details: Rick Limardo, (202) 637-3198.

House Hearings:

The House of Representatives is on recess during the week of November 23.

Details: Laura Ringdahl Siegrist, (202) 637-3038.

Economic Reports:

A number of releases are due next week before the Thanksgiving holiday, each of which will give us another impression of the current state of the economy.

On Tuesday, we will receive an update on real GDP growth in the third quarter, which is likely to be slightly higher than the 1.5 percent estimate reported earlier. Regarding manufacturing activity, there will be new surveys showing the health of the sector in the United States and Eurozone from Markit, the latest results from the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank and preliminary data on October durable goods orders and shipments.

In addition, the Census Bureau will release early estimates for goods exports, which have been challenged this year by global weaknesses and the strong dollar. Beyond these measures, other indicators to watch for include the latest figures on consumer confidence, existing and new home sales and personal income and spending.

Details: Chad Moutray, (202) 637-3148.

Questions or Comments?

Contact Christine Grimaldi at cgrimaldi@nam.org

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