“Fix it now.” If yesterday’s Port of Los Angeles virtual press conference had a single message, that was it.
NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons joined Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka for a question-and-answer session on the manufacturing supply chain and “Competing to Win,” the NAM’s agenda for bolstering manufacturing competitiveness.
Labor uncertainty: Timmons acknowledged the positive steps taken by leadership of the Port of LA over the past 12 months to improve the flow of goods, but he noted that workforce concerns continue to create supply chain uncertainty across shipping modes.
- “One of the biggest issues slowing down our domestic supply chains is the labor uncertainty tied to critical infrastructure,” Timmons said. “For example, there was the real danger of a crippling rail shutdown last month. The NAM supported the administration’s efforts to reach an agreement to avert this, but negotiations are still ongoing, and there’s a deadline next month on Nov. 19.”
- The solution, Timmons said, lies with policymakers and industry, who “have to be vigilant about putting out these sparks before they turn into fires.”
Taxes: Timmons also discussed the need for a more favorable tax code, which plays a major role in the ability of manufacturers in the U.S. to compete, he said.
- “For example, a longstanding deduction for full and immediate expensing of research and development expenses is being phased out,” Timmons said. “Businesses will now have to amortize their R&D expenses over a number of years; that’s a huge disincentive that makes it costlier to conduct R&D within the U.S.—not to mention a potentially huge tax hike for small and medium-sized manufacturers at the end of the year.”
- China, meanwhile, allows manufacturers a 200% deduction for R&D expensing, giving that country a major advantage.
Workforce and immigration: Manufacturing is “in the middle of a workforce crisis,” Timmons said. Enacting new, better immigration policy and investing more in certain workforce programs can help solve it.
- Manufacturing has nearly 800,000 open jobs—and many of them could be filled if legislators would expand work-permit programs, Timmons said. “Clearly, we need border security, but we also need more avenues for people to come legally and to work.”
- There should be more federal investment in apprenticeship models, too, so that students can “earn while they learn” in manufacturing, he added.
All hands on deck: Congress must work to fix these issues “in a very bipartisan way,” Timmons said. “We hear all the time from elected officials, both Democrat and Republican, and even independent, that they want to be supportive of manufacturing.”
- “They understand that manufacturing is the lifeblood of any competitive economy … and we appreciate that. But we also need to make sure that in addition to saying good things about manufacturing, that elected officials are actually doing the things they need to do. That’s what [‘Competing to Win’] is all about.”
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.
With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.
“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”
The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.
The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org