The House Financial Services Committee has spent the last month holding hearings about environmental, social and governance policies that impact American businesses—and the NAM has been fighting for manufacturers every step of the way. This week, the committee held a markup to pass a package of legislation on the topic, and the NAM’s priorities were front and center.
The issue: Manufacturers in the U.S. are at the forefront of climate stewardship and innovation even as they power the U.S. economy, yet politically motivated activists and proxy advisory firms are making it difficult for manufacturers to succeed.
- Recent actions from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have empowered these groups. From unworkable ESG disclosure mandates to new standards encouraging shareholder activism to a lack of oversight of proxy firms, manufacturers are getting squeezed.
NAM in action: The NAM has advocated aggressively on behalf of manufacturers, pressing Congress to curb the impact of activists, proxy firms and the SEC on public company governance.
- NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons urged Congress to make changes that would protect manufacturers and Main Street investors, while NAM Managing Vice President of Policy Chris Netram testified before the Financial Services Committee about the need for action.
- “Congress must step in to depoliticize the business decisions that impact the lives and life savings of millions of Americans,” said Timmons. “Manufacturers are determined to create jobs, lead the economy and improve the quality of life for all Americans. We are counting on [Congress’] leadership to counter the SEC’s regulatory overreach and help us achieve these goals.”
The result: The House committee has embraced the NAM’s proposed reforms, a huge victory for manufacturers across the United States. The legislation approved by the committee this week would:
- Prevent activists from hijacking the proxy ballot in pursuit of agendas unrelated to long-term business growth and shareholder value creation;
- Rein in proxy advisory firms and limit their outsized influence on corporate governance;
- Reinforce asset managers’ fiduciary duty to Main Street investors and retirees; and
- Ease ESG disclosure mandates by requiring that public companies only report information that is material to their shareholders.
The last word: “Manufacturers strongly support the Financial Services Committee’s efforts to rein in the SEC’s regulatory overreach, keep activists out of the boardroom and protect Americans’ investments in manufacturing growth,” Netram said prior to the committee’s markup. “[W]e look forward to working with [Congress] to ensure that manufacturers can continue to drive economic expansion in the U.S. and support American competitiveness on the world stage.”
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