Transportation and Infrastructure

Manufacturers need a modern infrastructure system to compete in a global economy. Strong and reliable infrastructure—from roads and rails to pipelines and broadband—helps manufacturers move materials and products efficiently, and gives our hardworking employees the tools to succeed.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Outline Executive Action Policy Priorities for Incoming Administration

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers called on President-elect Joe Biden to help ensure the future strength of manufacturing in America by extending key executive orders into the new administration and rescinding those that have harmed manufacturing.

“For decades, we have worked with policymakers from across the ideological spectrum to craft policies that encourage the growth of manufacturing in the United States,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons in a letter to the incoming administration. “Now more than ever, America needs leaders in Washington who are focused on increasing American jobs, wages and investment.”

The letter outlines executive orders that have had a significant impact, positive or negative, on manufacturers over the past four years, and it urges the president-elect “to reverse the most harmful of these orders and keep or expand those that create an environment that is conducive to growing America’s manufacturing sector.”

The NAM’s recommendations will help manufacturers continue to respond to the devastating pandemic and will also power the United States’ economic recovery by setting the stage for manufacturing growth.

To read the full letter, click here.

Background:

The NAM has requested President-elect Biden repeal the following executive orders and consider executive orders for extension.

Executive Orders

Rescind:

  • “Rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program”
  • E.O. 13950 – “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping”
  • E.O. 13672 – “Revocation of Federal Contracting”
  • E.O. 13769 – “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”
  • “President’s Report to Congress on the Proposed Refugee Admissions for FY 21”
  • Presidential Proclamation 10052 – “Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak”
  • E.O. 13944 – “Ensuring Essential Medicines, Medical Countermeasures and Critical Inputs Are Made in the United States”
  • E.O. 13948 – “Lowering Drug Prices by Putting America First”
  • E.O. 13957 – “Creating Schedule F in the Excepted Service”

Extend:

  • E.O. 13771 – “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”
  • E.O. 13805 – “Establishing a Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure”
  • E.O. 13766 – “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High-Priority Infrastructure Projects”
  • E.O. 13845 – “Continuing the President’s National Council for the American Worker and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board”
  • E.O. 13932 – “Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates”
  • E.O. 13777 – “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”
  • E.O. 13806 – “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States”
  • E.O.s – “Strengthening the Federal Government’s Anti-Counterfeiting Efforts”

-NAM-

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 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.32 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% 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.

Policy and Legal

Congress’s Funding Package: What Manufacturers Should Know

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Congress’s new funding package, which covers COVID-19 relief and much more, will provide Americans with much-needed security during this holiday season. Manufacturers are among the major beneficiaries, as Congress recognized that the sector is essential to keeping our country healthy, fed and functional throughout the pandemic.

The NAM’s policy team reports that legislators closely followed the NAM’s recommendations in a wide variety of policy areas. Here are a few highlights.

The Paycheck Protection Program: This program was reauthorized with $284 billion in new funding and extended through March 31, 2021. It also lets businesses choose when to spend the loans, expands the list of acceptable uses for the loans and simplifies loan forgiveness.

Taxes: The last round of stimulus, called the CARES Act, included a payroll tax credit for “eligible employees” affected by the virus. This new package extends that credit through June 30, 2021, while also upping the percentage from 50% to 70%. Meanwhile, it increases the amount of workers’ pay that qualifies for this tax credit from $10,000 for the year to $10,000 per quarter.

And that’s not it for taxes. This package also extends or makes permanent many other provisions. For example, it extends the deadline by which workers must pay back deferred payroll taxes, while also extending the temporary, refundable tax credit for small and medium-sized employers that are providing required paid leave.

Labor: As you’ve probably read by now, the package gives workers on unemployment $300 per week on top of their state benefits. These payments will last until March 14, 2021.

Vaccines/COVID-19 care: And now for the measures that will help end this pandemic for good. The package includes $20 billion for the purchase of vaccines, making them free for all who need them; $8 billion for vaccine distribution; $20 billion to assist states with testing; and a $20 billion distribution from the existing provider relief fund.

And we’re still not finished . . .

Long-term fixes: Congress also included manufacturing priorities that predate the pandemic and remain absolutely crucial.

  • Energy: This is the big one—the first comprehensive modernization of U.S. energy policy in well over a decade, and an upgrade that the NAM has long fought for. We can’t cover all of its many provisions here, but they include everything from energy storage to nuclear development to carbon capture to renewable energy. It’s a major victory for manufacturers and the NAM.
  • Environment: The legislation also includes a provision for phasing down hydrofluorocarbons—greenhouse gases used in refrigeration. Relatedly, it creates new R&D programs for technologies that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the power sector. Both are high priorities for manufacturers’ sustainability efforts.
  • Anti-counterfeiting measures: These measures are designed to protect manufacturers’ intellectual property, and they include the empowerment of the Federal Trade Commission to take action against bad actors exploiting the pandemic.
  • Transportation: As part of this package, Congress passed the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act, which provides a two-year authorization for ports, inland waterways and important water infrastructure investments.
  • Broadband: And lastly, the package funds the improvement of digital infrastructure and broadband access, including for underserved and rural populations. It also includes a support program for those experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.

What’s missing? Since you ask, the package does not include the liability protections that the NAM advocated. But the NAM will continue working on this priority next year.

The last word: NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said of the legislation, “Some are stirring up controversy over aspects of the spending text to drum up ratings or score political points. But the bottom line is manufacturers—and all Americans—need relief now. This package gives manufacturers and many other Americans a lifeline in the face of the disaster this pandemic continues to wreak on lives and livelihoods. There is unfinished work for sure. But it makes no sense to hold up an action that can bring real relief to this country.”

You can read a more expansive list of policy wins here.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Secure Priorities in Year-End Stimulus Legislation

Stoick: “We have been fully engaged with House and Senate leaders to keep this vital work going"

Washington, D.C. – Following passage of Senate amendment to H.R. 133 – United States Mexico Economic Partnership Act [Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021], National Association of Manufacturers Vice President of Government Relations Jordan Stoick released the following statement:

“Manufacturers secured many of our top priorities in this important legislation, including numerous provisions the NAM first proposed in our ‘American Renewal Action Plan.’ The additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program will provide a continued lifeline for small manufacturers. Furthermore, the resources for testing and vaccine distribution, as well as tax incentives for manufacturers that keep employees on payroll and invest in safety measures, will ensure America’s dedicated, essential manufacturing workers can continue their mission safely.

“Across the country, manufacturers are providing the vaccines, PPE and supplies needed to defeat COVID-19, so we have been fully engaged with House and Senate leaders to keep this vital work going. We have a difficult winter ahead, and this legislation will help save lives and livelihoods and keep manufacturers operating. As folks continue to roll up their sleeves and receive initial doses of the vaccine, we are also looking to the other priorities facing us in the new year—including historic investments in infrastructure, energy innovation and more—to ensure manufacturers can lead a full economic recovery and American renewal.”

-NAM-

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 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% 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.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Ready to Build American Infrastructure Back Better

Washington, D.C. – Following President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg to be Secretary of Transportation, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“Manufacturers congratulate former Mayor Pete Buttigieg on his nomination to lead the Transportation Department. He hails from a manufacturing state, so he knows the critical role our industry plays in our economic recovery. And for our country to recover—to ‘build back better’ as President-elect Biden says—we absolutely need to see infrastructure investment of historic proportion.

“From roads and bridges to waterways, electric grids and 5G technology, the future of modern manufacturing depends on the strength of our infrastructure. America should be leading the world in modern infrastructure, not falling behind, so we look forward to working with Secretary-designate Buttigieg to achieve the goals manufacturers have laid out in our ‘Building to Win’ plan.”

-NAM-

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 12.2 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 62% 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.

Policy and Legal

Rural America Needs Better Broadband

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With so many people working from home, access to high-speed internet has become more important than ever, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription). Still, some people—and particularly those living in rural areas—continue to struggle to connect.

Some higher speeds: On average, internet speeds have gotten faster. According to data from WhistleOut, which compares broadband and wireless internet plans, home internet speeds across the United States have increased from an average of 84.9 megabits per second in March to 94.6 megabits per second in July. The minimum broadband service speed, according to the FCC, is 25 megabits per second.

A few rough patches: Still, plenty of people are being left out. A study from Microsoft suggests that up to 150 million people across the country have slow or unreliable internet connections.

Why it matters: Broadband doesn’t just make it possible to work from home; it’s also important for COVID-19 response measures like contact tracing.

The NAM’s angle: In April, the National Association of Manufacturers released the “American Renewal Action Plan,” which calls for historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure, including digital infrastructure, to spur economic renewal and competitiveness. The NAM’s “Building to Win” strategy also includes a focus on broadband buildout along with other forms of infrastructure critical for manufacturing.

The word from NAM: “Connectivity was already a key issue for manufacturers before this crisis as they embraced digital transformation,” said NAM Director of Innovation Policy Stephanie Hall. “The importance of universal broadband for our industry and communities is even clearer now as we turn to technology solutions for work, school and nearly every aspect of daily life.”

Policy and Legal

How Trade Route Shifts Are Affecting Ports

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West Coast ports are being impacted by changing trade patterns, losing imports to the East Coast and Canada, among other competitors, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription). Some of that shift began in 2017, after infrastructure work made it possible for larger vessels to use the Port of New York and New Jersey. Meanwhile, West Coast ports aiming to move goods east must use networks of trains and trucks that run on crumbling U.S. infrastructure.

The breakdown: Ports on the West Coast took in less than 40% of seaborne imports during the first seven months of the year, with ports on the East Coast racking up a little bit more than half.

  • Asian imports are still leaning to the West Coast, but the makeup is beginning to change. Last year, Los Angeles moved 9.4 million containers compared to 7.5 million containers for New York and New Jersey. Still, the New York/New Jersey East Coast port did become the second-busiest port in the country, bumping Long Beach, California, out of the runner-up spot.
  • Canadian ports are also getting into the game, offering cheaper transportation services that undercut U.S. costs.

Related: West Coast freight networks—including railroads and trucks—are struggling to handle demand after limiting personnel and operations in the face of COVID-19, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

The NAM’s angle: The NAM has urged Congress for years to enact infrastructure reform, laying out its priorities in its “Building to Win” blueprint.

Most recently, during United for Infrastructure (formerly Infrastructure Week), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) spoke to NAM members at an event co-hosted by Nucor Steel about Congress’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of infrastructure investment. During the event the senator noted, “The most sustainable path forward on surface transportation authorization is a one-year extension of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.”

Policy and Legal

COVID-19 Is Delaying Infrastructure Projects

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Along with the many other things not happening this year are a wide variety of infrastructure projects. A report released by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association lays out the extent of the delays and even cancellations, reports ConstructionDive. A few of the numbers:

  • About $9.6 billion in projects have been delayed or cancelled.
  • 16 states have nixed or postponed projects worth about $5 billion.
  • 20 local governments are responsible for the rest, at $4.54 billion.
  • 44 states, transportation authorities and local governments expect to see a drop in revenues . . . which could translate into less funding for infrastructure down the road (so to speak).

Why infrastructure matters: One industry that relies on infrastructure is, of course, transportation. And very soon, transportation will help save our economy and public health: once the COVID-19 vaccine is ready, it must be distributed nationwide.

Right now, delivery companies like UPS, FedEx and DHL are bolstering their networks and capacity to ship medical goods in anticipation of the vaccine, Transport Topics reports. Here are some of the details:

  • Preparations include building “freezer farms” capable of storing millions of doses of the vaccine at low temperatures. UPS has started work on two such facilities, while FedEx is adding at least 10 freezer facilities.
  • The companies will also need a lot of dry ice, which keeps medical supplies cold during transport.

This will be the largest vaccine distribution effort in history. Preserving and improving our infrastructure means that future generations, when faced with other health challenges, will be able to distribute medicines easily. And meanwhile, it will enable manufacturers to keep the economy thriving as only they can.

NAM involvement: Last month, the NAM and 118 manufacturing organizations sent a letter to Congress urging it to pass a long-term surface transportation bill, in part because of the challenges surrounding COVID-19.

The big picture: The NAM has been an advocate for infrastructure reform long before the pandemic and will continue long after. NAM Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling recently made the comprehensive case for infrastructure investment in a blog for Trade Vista.

And for the full slate of NAM recommendations, check out its “Building to Win” plan for candidates and elected officials, which the NAM will keep promoting throughout the campaign season and during the next administration.

Press Releases

NAM Survey: Manufacturers Face Major Headwinds, but Continue Operating in Support of COVID-19 Response

Despite Drop in Optimism and Worsening Business Conditions, Majority of Industry Keeping Doors Open

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers today released the results of the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2020 showing that despite a historic drop in optimism, to nearly 34%, and challenging business conditions, the vast majority of manufacturers (98.7%) have continued or only temporarily halted operations. The survey also shows that manufacturers are innovating to find solutions to keep businesses running and to protect workers and communities, with almost 22% retooling to produce personal protective equipment, 67% reengineering processes to reflect COVID-19 safety protocols and 12% completely reevaluating the mission of the firm.

Manufacturers have led the country through the COVID-19 response, and America is counting on our industry to lead our recovery and renewal, said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. While these numbers show that we’ve faced difficult circumstances and that there is a challenging road ahead, manufacturers have proven that with our grit, determination and patriotic spirit, we can overcome any challenge facing the nation. And in our ‘American Renewal Action Plan,’ the NAM has shown the way forward.

As policymakers and regulators debate solutions to help the economy recover from this pandemic, the NAM urges them to focus on the renewal agenda laid out in the “American Renewal Action Plan.” We have been encouraged by actions taken thus far, but there is still greater need for targeted liability reform, tax provisions to ensure investment in manufacturing and measures to reaffirm the U.S. supply chain to protect those businesses that continue to work on the front lines of the COVID-19 response to ensure as swift a recovery as possible.

The Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey has surveyed the association’s membership of 14,000 large and small manufacturers on a quarterly basis since 1997 to gain insight into their economic outlook, hiring and investment decisions and business concerns. The NAM releases the results to the public each quarter. Further information on the survey is available here.

-NAM-

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 11.5 million men and women, contributes $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters 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 Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Policy and Legal

Presidential Candidates Discuss Manufacturing at Infrastructure Forum

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In advance of the upcoming Nevada caucuses, presidential candidates convened at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas on Sunday to discuss their plans for the future of America’s infrastructure. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and businessman Tom Steyer took part in the event, titled “Moving America Forward: A Presidential Candidate Forum on Infrastructure, Jobs and Building a Better America.”

United for Infrastructure, a nonprofit that educates the American public about the importance of infrastructure to the nation’s economy, workers and communities hosted the event. As a member of the United for Infrastructure steering committee, the National Association of Manufacturers helps advance an infrastructure agenda that unites business and labor interests in a common call for urgent action to modernize U.S. infrastructure.

“From making products to transporting them to customers, modern manufacturers must be incredibly precise to maximize productivity, but without reliable infrastructure, it’s impossible to do that cutting-edge work,” said NAM Director of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Catie Kawchak. “Now is the time to deliver transformational advancements to the infrastructure that connects our communities and facilitates free enterprise.”

Manufacturers led the call for significant infrastructure investment. In 2019, the NAM updated “Building to Win,” a blueprint to revitalize our nation’s infrastructure. The comprehensive policy framework provides solutions to support workers in the United States, jumpstart economic growth, spur job creation and enhance quality of life by improving and expanding transportation, energy, water and digital infrastructure in order to pave the way for the success of new generations. It also lays out a path for Congress to fund these investments.

“I was encouraged to hear the candidates participating in the forum say that modernizing U.S. infrastructure must be a top priority,” said Kawchak. “While we won’t agree with every candidate on every specific, each candidate included provisions from ‘Building to Win’ in their infrastructure platforms. Building a 21st-century infrastructure system is a top priority for manufacturers and an issue that unites diverse stakeholders—from Republicans to Democrats and from business to labor. It will remain an important issue for candidates throughout the election cycle.”

Press Releases

NAM Statement on the 2020 State of the Union Address

Manufacturers: In 2020, Partisan Division Does Not Have to Be a Barrier to Progress

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement reacting to the 2020 State of the Union address:

“With the historic USMCA, unprecedented China deal, game-changing tax reform and ever-growing regulatory certainty, manufacturers have been given powerful tools to keep investing in our people and our communities. We are ready to join the President in building on this progress and achieve the brighter, more optimistic future he envisioned tonight. It is up to manufacturers to continue keeping our promises—to invest in America, hire American workers and raise wages and benefits, while also providing environmental stewardship alongside economic growth.

“The manufacturing agenda is a post-partisan agenda, and one we have spelled out clearly for candidates and elected leaders in ‘Competing to Win.’ When we agree, as we often did with the President tonight, we will work together, regardless of party. For instance, President Trump is right to issue a bold call to action on infrastructure, and as the USMCA proved, partisan division does not have to be a barrier to progress. On the other hand, we must not curtail our pharmaceutical manufacturers’ ability to conduct vital research and development to cure diseases and fight future epidemics similar to the coronavirus. And on immigration, the solution must be comprehensive, as outlined in the NAM’s ‘A Way Forward.’

“All of us must come together to solve the most pressing challenge facing manufacturers: our workforce crisis. Through the NAM’s historic ‘Creators Wanted’ campaign, we are embarking on a sustained, nationwide effort to reach millions of Americans, to narrow the skills gap and inspire a new generation to pursue the high-tech, high-paying jobs of modern manufacturing.

“For manufacturers, it’s not about politics or personality or process—it’s about good policy, policy that puts us on a trajectory to exceed even our loftiest ambitions. That’s what we expect from our presidents and politicians, and we will hold them accountable, just as we promise to hold ourselves to account as well.”

-NAM-

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 $2.37 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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 Manufacturers or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

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