Capital Briefing: October 2, 2015

Capital Briefing

#Manufacturing Tweet of the Week

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


This Week in Washington

NAM Touts Manufacturing Strength as Congress Dithers.
Members of the NAM’s Board of Directors, which includes more than 300 CEOs and manufacturing leaders, are meeting in Washington, D.C., this week. The NAM Fall 2015 Board of Directors Meeting brought manufacturing leaders to our nation’s capital, amplifying our impact and influence to achieve results.

“We’re here because we believe, and we want to make stronger, manufacturing and American Exceptionalism: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in his address. “So let’s now go boldly in the face of the competition, determined to uphold our highest ideals. Let’s win. Let’s win together.”

Many board members gave testimonials during Timmons’ report, including Vermeer Corporation CEO and Chair of the Board Mary Andringa, who spoke about the NAM’s ongoing efforts to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, and Emerson Chairman and CEO David Farr, who spoke about the NAM’s crucial victory on Trade Promotion Authority.

The meeting gave members the opportunity to delve deep into the policymaking issues consequential to manufacturing and the latest political developments in Washington. “Twenty-first century U.S. manufacturers are on offense, striving to outperform and out-innovate our competition, but we can’t let Washington hold us back,” said Tenneco Inc. Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Chair Gregg Sherrill. “We need leadership that will unleash our power to create jobs, grow the economy for everyone and invest for tomorrow.”

Hot topics included the NAM’s legislative advocacy, legal action and voter outreach—and how board members, as part of the manufacturing army, can magnify the NAM’s influential voice to change an otherwise gridlocked Washington. The NAM is playing a more important part than ever, particularly as the presidential campaign heats up nationwide.

On the policy front, board attendees heard from FedEx Corporation Chairman, President and CEO Frederick Smith about what drives economic growth in America. They also attended a panel on “Fueling America” featuring Exxon Mobil Corporation Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson. He discussed the importance of the energy industry to the U.S. economy, the growing demand for energy around the world, the most effective means to reduce emissions and other environmental impacts from energy use and the need for public policies that incentivize investment and innovation to ensure we reach our shared goals. Chris Womack, Executive Vice President and President, External Affairs, Southern Company, moderated the panel, presented by Ecolab.

In addition, PTC President and CEO James Heppelmann and Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter explored the future of manufacturing through a seminar on the Internet of Things (IoT), the network of physical objects connected by the web. In a subsequent panel on the future of manufacturing, Rockwell Automation Chairman and CEO Keith Nosbusch, Big Ass Solutions Founder and Chief Big Ass Carey Smith and John Crane Group President and CEO Duncan Gillis discussed how the IoT is transforming manufacturing and the way their companies do business, including how more efficient and accurate data help their companies stay competitive in a dynamic economy.

Neenah Enterprises, Inc. President and CEO and Small and Medium Manufacturers (SMM) Group Chair Tom Riordan led talks about the issues unique to SMMs. Riordan encouraged SMMs to get involved in the NAM’s Key Contact program, which brings together manufacturers who have, or are willing to forge, meaningful relationships with elected officials and take other proactive steps to engage policymakers. “This is a core piece of what we as an association are doing, and need to keep doing, to make sure we are at the forefront, not only when we are here in Washington, but also when we are back home,” Riordan said.

Additional board meeting speakers included Ingersoll-Rand plc Chairman and CEO Michael Lamach; Irex Corporation President and CEO W. Kirk Liddell; Snap-on Incorporated Chairman and CEO Nicholas Pinchuk; and The Cook Political Report National Editor Amy Walter.

Details: Paul Hartgen, (202) 637-3053.

Hot Topic

Manufacturers Want Congressional Action Following EPA Ozone Ruling.
On Thursday, October 1, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-anticipated final ozone rule, lowering the federal air quality standard for ground-level ozone from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb.

For the last year and a half, the NAM has been engaged in an unprecedented campaign to educate lawmakers at the federal, state and local levels that an overly strict ozone rule would harm the nation’s job creators. Manufacturers both big and small and from all sectors of manufacturing engaged their elected officials and the Obama Administration, sending a clear message: Jobs and livelihoods are at stake; keep the current standard.

“Today, the Obama Administration finalized a rule that is overly burdensome, costly and misguided,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons after the EPA finalized the regulation. “For months, the Administration threatened to impose on manufacturers an even harsher rule, with even more devastating consequences. After an unprecedented level of outreach by manufacturers and other stakeholders, the worst-case scenario was avoided. However, make no mistake: The new ozone standard will inflict pain on companies that build things in America—and destroy job opportunities for American workers. Now it’s time for Congress to step up and take a stand for working families.”

There is no question that manufacturers’ voices were heard throughout this process. Governors from across the country, senators and representatives from both political parties, state regulators and hundreds of state and local officials all stood up for manufacturers and spoke out against an overreaching ozone regulation. While the most severe and costly scenarios were ultimately avoided in the final rule, this new regulation will still create significant challenges and costs for manufacturers across the country who have already led a 33 percent reduction of ozone levels since 1980.

With the previous standard of 75 ppb still in the very early stages of implementation and ozone levels all but guaranteed to continue falling well into the next decade even without this latest EPA overreach, it is more important than ever for Congress to step up and return some balance to ozone policies.

For manufacturers, the fight for reasonable and achievable regulations goes on, and it's time for Congress to act.

Visit www.nam.org/ozone for more information.

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

Trade Policy

TPP Negotiations Nearing Finish Line.
Trade ministers from the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have been meeting in Atlanta since mid-week to reach a final agreement. As of this morning, talks are ongoing with the potential to continue into the weekend. As outlined in the NAM’s TPP priorities document, the NAM has worked intensively to ensure that the final agreement will fuel our global economy through ambitious new market opportunities and high standards that are fully enforceable.

With the potential to cover more than 40 percent of the global economy, the TPP would set the standard on trade and investment rules for the Asia-Pacific region and more broadly. This week, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons issued a call for the right TPP—an agreement that is not weakened by lowest-common-denominator political expediency. NAM staff and our members have continued direct and ongoing contact with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and his counterparts to ensure that they understand what is necessary to secure a strong TPP deal.

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

Infrastructure, Legal and Regulatory Policy

House Introduces Bill on Positive Train Control.
All railroads, freight and commuter, are mandated by federal statute to install new technology and equipment known as Positive Train Control (PTC) by December 31, 2015. But to give the industry more time to comply, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced the Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015 (H.R. 3651).

The legislation would extend the PTC deadline to the end of 2018. It would also provide limited authority to the secretary of transportation to further extend the deadline beyond 2018 if railroads cannot meet the mandate despite serious efforts to install PTC.

As the deadline approaches, impacts for rail shippers are expected to be felt far in advance of December 31, and an extension of the deadline will be too late if left until the end of the year.

Manufacturers have called on the Obama Administration and Congress to extend the deadline as soon as possible and appreciate this quick action on the part of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and other committee leaders. H.R. 3651 is expected to reach the House floor next week.

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

Tax, Technology and Domestic Economic Policy

NAM Hosts Hill Briefing on Importance of IP and Trade Secrets.
The NAM partnered with BSA | The Software Alliance and the Congressional Caucus on Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention for a Capitol Hill briefing highlighting the importance of trade secrets to American competitiveness. Representatives from some of the world’s most innovative companies participated in a roundtable discussion with members of Congress on this key intellectual property protection tool and pending legislative initiatives that will enhance the competitive position of all industries. The NAM continues to urge all congressional offices to support the Defend Trade Secrets Act, a bipartisan bill that will increase our ability to go after perpetrators of trade secret theft by updating current law.

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

Manufacturing in Action

Eagle Manufacturing Company President and CEO Joe Eddy takes the stage at the board meeting to accept the 2015 Sandy Trowbridge Award for Excellence in Community Service. Each year, this award recognizes an NAM member company with 1,000 or fewer employees that has shown exemplary leadership in serving its community or state, and is an example of the giving spirit of our nation’s manufacturers and businesses. The award, a cash donation to the charity of the winner’s choosing, honors former NAM President Sandy Trowbridge for his contributions to American manufacturing and his distinguished career in public service.

Photo by David Bohrer/National Association of Manufacturers

Get Involved

Hosting a Manufacturing Day Event Is Great, but Registering It Is Even Better!
More than 2,000 events are registered on the Manufacturing Day website, but the actual number of events being held across the country is much higher!

If your facility is hosting an event, please register it on the official Manufacturing Day website, www.mfgday.com. It is important that all events are included so that we can truly highlight all the wonderful things manufacturing provides to local communities and the U.S. economy.

If your organization is hosting multiple events, be sure to register each location as its own event. There is a public/private option when registering if you are hosting a private or invitation-only event, so be sure to include yours if you have not yet done so.

Visit the events page to check whether your organization has signed up for Manufacturing Day. If you don’t see your facility, please register here.

Details: Christopher Glen, (202) 637-3121

Download the NAM Advocacy App.
Contact Congress while on the go! The NAM developed the MFGWorks mobile app for smartphones and tablets to give employees, families and friends the power to take action in support of manufacturing—wherever they are.

Download the MFGWorks app for Apple or Android devices and share it with your colleagues, family and friends. We are all part of a growing manufacturing economy, and we need your help to maintain positive momentum on Capitol Hill.

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

The Week Ahead

Senate Hearings:
TUESDAY — The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee holds a hearing on the National Labor Relations Board’s joint-employer decision. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on the modernization of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and related energy security issues.

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

House Hearings:
WEDNESDAY – The Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections holds a hearing on the enforcement update from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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

Economic Reports:
After a busy economic calendar this week, there are just a handful of reports being released next week. Manufacturers will closely watch the August trade data, which will come out on Tuesday, for signs of relief internationally.

Exports of manufactured goods have declined by more than 4 percent so far year-to-date, with significant headwinds for global demand coming from a strong dollar and weaknesses abroad.

On Thursday, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes of its September 16–17 Federal Open Market Committee meeting. This write-up might provide additional insights into its decision to postpone raising short-term interest rates at that meeting, with rates likely headed higher instead at either its October or December meeting. Other releases of note include the latest data on consumer credit and wholesale trade.

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

Questions or Comments?

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