Manufacturers across the United States are driving economic expansion while also supporting sustainable business practices, enhancing diversity in the workforce and combatting climate change. Yet, politically motivated activists threaten to slow this progress by insisting on their own narrow agendas. Recent actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission will empower these groups and divert resources from manufacturers’ investments in job creation and business growth.
As the Financial Services Committee in the House of Representatives begins a monthlong hearing series on environmental, social and governance topics and other issues related to the proxy process, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons is calling on Congress to rein in the SEC’s regulatory overreach and keep activists out of the boardroom.
Depoliticizing corporate governance: Activists on the left and right are increasingly abusing the proxy ballot to advance narrow social and political agendas. The SEC has taken steps in recent years to support and empower these activists.
- The NAM is suggesting reforms to the rules governing shareholder proposals that will prevent activists from hijacking the proxy ballot in pursuit of political agendas unrelated to long-term business growth and shareholder value creation.
Reining in proxy advisory firms: Despite their significant conflicts of interest, errors and lack of transparency, proxy firms exercise outsized influence on corporate governance. More oversight and accountability are needed to protect manufacturers and Main Street investors from these powerful actors.
- The NAM is pressing Congress to ensure that proxy firms are regulated appropriately by the SEC—including by requiring that the firms disclose and manage their conflicts of interest and allow companies to review their draft recommendations.
Protecting Main Street investors: In the face of pressure from ESG activists and proxy firms, the financial institutions that manage Americans’ 401(k) accounts and pension plans must take steps to protect these Main Street investors’ retirement savings.
- The NAM is calling on lawmakers to ensure that asset managers cast proxy votes and make investing decisions solely in Main Street investors’ financial best interests—and without over-relying on proxy firms and ESG ratings organizations.
Limiting ESG disclosure mandates: The SEC’s aggressive ESG rulemaking agenda will increase costs and liability for manufacturers and overwhelm investors with a deluge of irrelevant information.
- The NAM is urging Congress to limit any SEC disclosure mandates to information that is material to shareholders’ investing and voting decisions.
The last word: “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.
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