Capital Briefing: July 10, 2015

Capital Briefing

#Manufacturing Tweet of the Week

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

This Week in Washington

Ex-Im Lapse Threatens Jobs and Competitiveness.
Despite demonstrated, strong bipartisan support for a long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, a minority of Congress forced the Ex-Im charter to lapse on June 30. Now attention is turning to the highway transportation bill, where lawmakers are expected to attach an amendment in the Senate to reauthorize the bank and send the bill to the House before the August recess.

The NAM continues to lead the charge against this U.S. retreat from global competitiveness—to show the impact on small businesses across the United States and to focus the debate on reality, such as the need to compete against more than 60 foreign government export credit agencies.

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons told CNN that even a brief expiration of Ex-Im’s charter will send a message to foreign competitors that the United States is “taking its position of economic leadership for granted.”

NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse joined small business NAM members and bank users from Ohio and California to shine a spotlight on what’s at stake for manufacturers and exporters in the Associated Press, The Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg News, CBS News and more.

NAM member Peter Bowe, president of Ellicott Dredges LLC, reinforced our message to lawmakers with an op-ed in The Hill.

Please take action and rally your employees to contact members of Congress today—to urge long-term reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank and to fight for our future.

Details: Lauren Airey Wilk, (202) 637-3141.

Hot Topic

House Votes in Favor of Balanced Approach to Administration's Ozone Rule.
The House voted this week to support manufacturers in our call for a more balanced approach to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to lower the federal ozone standard—a rule that could amount to the most expensive regulation in U.S. history.

By a vote of 249–180, the House defeated an amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that would strike critical language designed to give states and manufacturers more time to meet the existing standards that were just revised in 2008.

The NAM designated the vote a Key Manufacturing Vote and issued a press release praising the House for standing up to regulatory overreach on behalf of manufacturers.

A widely cited NAM report found that the EPA’s ozone regulation could cost the economy as much as $140 billion annually, place the equivalent of 1.4 million jobs in jeopardy and cost the average U.S. household $830 per year. It could also place thousands of counties across the country into nonattainment, a punitive classification that severely inhibits business growth.

NAM board member and Neenah Enterprises, Inc. President and CEO Tom Riordan’s op-ed, “EPA Must Balance Standards with Cost to Community,” carried our messages in The Daily Caller. Riordan chairs the NAM’s Small and Medium Manufacturers Group.

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

Tax, Technology and Domestic Economic Policy

NAM Voices Manufacturers’ Concerns on SEC Rules.
The NAM filed two sets of comments with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this week, pushing back on burdensome proposed rules stemming from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

One of the proposals would implement the so-called “pay ratio” requirement to require public companies to regularly disclose the ratio of the median employee’s pay to the compensation of the chief executive. The other proposal to implement the “pay versus performance” requirement would force public companies to disclose the relationship between the compensation “actually paid” to executives and a company’s financial performance.

Our pay ratio comments reiterate our previously stated concerns about the burden of the proposed rule. Our pay versus performance comments point out that the rule would add an additional and duplicative layer of disclosure and burden to manufacturers without providing any significant benefit to shareholders.

In addition, the NAM announced last week the formation of the Corporate Governance Coalition for Investor Value. This new coalition will tackle shareholder activism and other corporate governance issues, such as executive compensation. The coalition came together as a result of the recent uptick in shareholder activism activities. Click here for a letter sent to the SEC announcing the formation of the coalition. 

Details: Carolyn Lee, (202) 637-3079 and Christina Crooks, (202) 637-3076.

Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action

NAM Challenges Waters of the United States Rule.
When the EPA published a final rule on June 29 expanding its jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action and 13 other business groups promptly filed suit.

The CWA limits the jurisdiction of the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discharge pollutants to “navigable waters,” a term that the EPA attempted to define several years ago and which ultimately led to a Supreme Court ruling with no clear majority on how this issue should be resolved. The agency’s latest attempt again expands the amount of land around the country over which the EPA claims the power to regulate, and this will no doubt require a more decisive resolution in court.

The rule exerts jurisdiction over a staggering range of dry land and water features—large and small; permanent, intermittent or ephemeral; flowing or stagnant; natural or manmade; and interstate or intrastate. Our complaint is that the rule “bears no connection to the statutory text, far exceeds the authority granted by the commerce clause and violates the individual rights protected by the due process clause.”

Twenty-seven states have also sued the EPA, and more business groups are expected to file suits in various courts around the country in the days ahead. The definitions in the rule are complex and vague, and potential civil penalties for violations can be up to $37,500 per discharge, per day, per offense. Inadequate permits can also result in criminal penalties and citizen suits.

Legislation to overturn the rule is pending in the Senate (S. 1140), and the House has already approved a similar bill. Other legislation cutting implementation funds for the rule is included in fiscal 2016 appropriations bills.

Details: Quentin Riegel, (202) 637-3058 and Rachel Jones, (202) 637-3175.

Manufacturing in Action

Spotted around the U.S. Capitol over the Fourth of July weekend...

Photo by Anna Miars/National Association of Manufacturers

Get Involved

MFGWorks App Now Available for Android.
Android users can now take advantage of the MFGWorks app. The NAM developed this free app for smartphones and tablets to give employees, families and friends the power to take action in support of manufacturing while they are on the go. A version is also available for Apple devices. Download the MFGWorks app and share it with your colleagues, family and friends. We are all part of a growing manufacturing economy, and we need your help to keep positive momentum on Capitol Hill.

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

The Week Ahead

Senate Hearings:
TUESDAY — The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee holds a hearing on small businesses engaged in energy development and energy-intensive manufacturing. WEDNESDAY – The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a business meeting to consider pending calendar business.

Details: Mahta Mahdavi, (202) 637-3176.

House Hearings:
WEDNESDAY – The Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on hydraulic fracturing on federally managed lands.

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

Economic Reports:
Several reports coming out next week will help us gauge the current environment for manufacturers. The Federal Reserve will release June industrial production numbers on Wednesday, which we hope will show a rebound after declining for two straight months. Another highlight will be new housing starts on Friday, where we will also be looking for improvements from past months. We will get new survey numbers next week from the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserve Banks as well as the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation. Other data points to watch for include the latest figures on consumer confidence, consumer and producer prices, retail sales and small business sentiment.

Details: Chad Moutray, (202) 637-3148

Questions or Comments?

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