Policy and Legal

Manufacturers need smart laws and effective policies. That’s why the NAM is standing up for manufacturers everywhere – from the halls of power where we advance important legislation, to the courts where we fight to defend our rights.

Policy and Legal

As Infrastructure Week Ends, Policymakers Aim For Change

Ahead of Wednesday's White House meeting, manufacturers are calling on Congress to act.

Last week, across the country more than 500 organizations participated in the 7th annual Infrastructure Week to call for a national infrastructure investment. The timing couldn’t be better, as President Trump and congressional leaders meet for their second round of talks Wednesday at the White House.

At hundreds of events throughout the week business leaders made their case for the urgent need to update our nation’s infrastructure, beginning with a national kickoff hosted in Washington, D.C. that featured dozens of manufacturing leaders, including National Association of Manufacturers board members Barbara Humpton, Siemens CEO, and Jason Andringa, Vermeer president and CEO.

Humpton and Andringa both appeared on a panel discussing upgrading America’s infrastructure to meet 21st century demands.

“Digital has brought an entirely new world to a huge segment of our lives,” Humpton said during a panel live-streamedby the NAM. “My prediction is we’re at the front end of bringing that kind of digitalization to infrastructure.”

“Broadband infrastructure is incredibly important,” Andringa said. “As you think about all the transportation assets that will be increasingly connected and communicating with each other, that’s also a very serious aspect.”

Andringa also pointed to the NAM’s landmark infrastructure investment plan “Building To Win” as a blueprint for policymakers.

Later in the week, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons headlined an event on Friday in Houston.

“The broad consensus around the urgent need to modernize our nation’s infrastructure is why this event is able to bring together uncommon allies: business and labor, think tanks and coalitions, leaders from the left, right and center,” Timmons said.

Timmons also penned an op-ed in Fox Business Wednesday morning with Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston, noting the “status quo is failing” and calling for a bipartisan infrastructure deal.

Manufacturers are hoping the same will be true for policymakers in Washington. Leaders on both sides of the aisle in Washington have begun discussing a potential infrastructure investment package and means of funding it. Wednesday’s much-anticipated meeting between President Trump and congressional leaders is expected to center around funding mechanisms for potential bipartisan infrastructure legislation.

“Manufacturers are calling on Congress to act. Everything from our roads and bridges, ports and waterways, broadband and 5G technologies and more need a robust investment,” said Catie Kawchak, Director, Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy at the NAM. “Across the country the message from Infrastructure Week is simple: The infrastructure choices we make today will shape America’s future. Our blueprint “Building to Win” calls for a one trillion dollar investment, but we are more than happy to have that number doubled as President Trump and congressional leaders have suggested. We’re hopeful that this week’s talks continue in good faith and that they agree on an actionable solution.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, more details about the NAM’s blueprint “Building to Win” can be found here.

Press Releases

NAM Statement on EPA Cost-Benefit Rule Memorandum

Timmons: “This Announcement Isn’t Deregulation; It’s Better Regulation”

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on EPA’s memorandum outlining reforms to how it conducts cost-benefit analysis:

Reforming the way the EPA performs cost-benefit analysis is likely to have a greater positive impact on the future of manufacturing in America than any single EPA regulatory action, said Timmons. This announcement isn’t deregulation; it’s better regulation. Through this new initiative, the EPA will get regulations done right the first time, delivering clarity and transparency for manufacturers. Our industry will spend less time working through complicated rules and more time doing what we’ve promised the America people we’ll do: create new jobs, raise wages and benefits and invest in new operations while protecting our air and water.


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 $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact 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.

Practical Insights

A News Source for Manufacturing

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NAM Senior Vice President of Communications and Brand Strategy Erin Streeter discusses the NAM’s digital strategy and the shift to become a news source for the industry.

Why is the NAM diving into becoming more of a news source for the industry?

First, it’s a direct response to the needs of our members. We’re committed to ensuring that our members and allies have the tools they need to be nimble and effective advocates for our industry. We also want to be a platform for our members to tell their stories of success and achievement.

Second, in this disruptive environment, becoming America’s manufacturing news source isn’t really a choice. We saw this tidal wave of change hitting advocacy and communications coming, and we’ve been building a messaging, rapid response (“War Room”) and newsroom operation that has drawn the attention of some the most powerful leaders in our country and is watched by key business reporters and decisionmakers. We can’t let up now. If we don’t write our story and if we don’t present the facts, we are ceding control of our industry’s future to others.

Building “brand newsrooms” and operating like a media organization aren’t things trade associations have been known to do. Can you explain the rationale for a trade association like the NAM moving in these directions?

That’s right—but it is critical if we want to continue to position the NAM as a leader not only in the manufacturing industry, but also in Washington and across the country.

With today’s noisy, fragmented media environment, manufacturers need a resource they can trust and resource that can get their stories out to the public and key decision-makers. And lawmakers and the public need an authority on all things manufacturing.

What is new about NAM.org?

Everything. The whole concept is new. Take a look around. You’ll see various streams of relevant, timely news on a range of topics. You’ll see interviews with leading experts and CEO perspectives. This site is the next step in our mission to be a constant presence in people’s lives, using new technology, data and analytics to provide customized user experiences that interest, educate and drive action for the manufacturing sector.

With this new site, we are supercharging our ability to provide a best in class user experience across our social, email and mobile products.

In what ways can manufacturers leverage this site and NAM news platforms, such as the Input morning email newsletter?

They can tell their stories. This is their platform. Manufacturers across this country are transforming their communities, innovating great new products and giving people new opportunities for high paying jobs. We want to show the world the great things our industry is doing and how we’re keeping our promises to invest in our people and our communities.

There’s no organization that knows the industry better than the NAM, the one-stop shop for manufacturers. So we’re well-positioned to be a credible and compelling platform—and outlet—for stories about our members. Just like anyone might think of CNBC, Fox Business or Bloomberg as a place to drive business news, I hope we’ll be looked at as a place where our members—and all manufacturers—want to break news because of the quality of our reporting and our proven capacity to reach audiences that matter.

Will the general public or casual reader find a home at nam.org?

Absolutely. Anyone who cares about manufacturing in America—and everyone should care!—can learn something from this site. Again, it’s America’s manufacturing news source. It might be breaking news about a new manufacturing facility coming to their community. Or it might be a helpful Q&A to understand what’s really going on in Congress.

Our Creators Wanted video series is a great example of the compelling content that is designed with the general public in mind. The series tells the stories of real modern manufacturing workers. In their own words, they describe the reason they love the industry. These are targeted to younger people (and their parents) who are making decisions about their future careers. So by inspiring that next generation, this content is supporting the mission of the NAM and our education and workforce partners, The Manufacturing Institute—and it’s changing lives.

There’s truly something for everyone…and we’d love to get feedback on how we can make it even better!

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Take Action on Climate

With a recent three-year United Nations environmental report spearheaded by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) highlighting dire warnings about human impact on the planet, leaders in the United States are under renewed pressure to find solutions that work. In communities across the country, manufacturers are taking a stand for sustainability – and demanding action against climate change.

While manufacturers have created their own policies to reduce pollution and increase sustainability, manufacturing leaders are increasingly pushing for action. Although policymakers in Washington have yet to settle on a unified approach, the manufacturing industry is making clear that the existing state of affairs is unsustainable.

“Manufacturers hope we can all agree that the current policy – a disjointed system of federal and state regulations that take decades to install and often fail – is not the answer,” said Ross Eisenberg, Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “A piecemeal regulatory approach just isn’t going to cut it.”

While proposals like the Green New Deal have garnered significant press coverage without gaining a single vote in Congress, manufacturing leaders are seeking opportunities for consensus on climate legislation by focusing on actionable solutions. These proposals include scaling up the adoption of energy- and water-efficient products and technologies, prioritizing innovation and creating pathways for the deployment of new technologies like carbon capture, utilization and storage. It also involves working collaboratively by creating public-private partnerships between government and manufacturers to help them further decarbonize. Finally, manufacturers are encouraging the United States to reengage with the international community in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions together, rather than in isolation.

Manufacturers have unique qualifications to speak about this issue, as most have implemented meaningful programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, pioneer new strategies and technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set aggressive emissions reduction targets.

These actions have had a significant effect. Over the past decade, the manufacturing industry has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent while the sector’s value to the economy has increased 19 percent. It’s outpacing competitors and demonstrating that it is possible to reduce emissions without falling behind in a global market.

“Our barometer is that manufacturers in America must stay competitive in the global economy, and that requires realistic, practical policies that we can implement while we continue to do the things that make the manufacturing sector strong,” said Eisenberg. “Speaking for the 12.8 million men and women who make things in America, we’re ready.”


Oregon Manufacturer Sees 35% Increase In Business

"This Will Be A Major Part Of Our Business. Tax Reform Helped Us Secure That Customer."

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manufacturing worker

Miles Fiberglass, a small family-owned Oregon manufacturing company, announced it has been able to increase its business by thirty five percent due to tax reform, resulting in a surge of new hires and investment.

Due to a new provision in the tax law allowing for immediate write-off of new equipment, Miles Fiberglass purchased a new semi-truck and a second mixer to set up room for demand from a new customer, saving money on the new assets in the process.

“This will be a major part of our business,” Miles Fiberglass president Lori Miles-Olund said. “Tax reform helped us secure that customer.”

The company’s business growth prompted leadership to hire roughly a dozen new employees. The company also purchased a new infusion gun, which dramatically reduces emissions in the manufacturing process and enables further growth while creating a cleaner work environment for employees.

“They see the growth thanks to tax reform,” Miles-Olund said. “They see the addition of customers. It puts them at ease that business is good.”

Last year, Miles Fiberglass raised its starting wage by 9 percent thanks to the tax law, bumping everyone up the chart.  Growth has continued this year, and the company is already setting up plans to increase production for yet another customer.

“It’s going to be easier for us to get financing for future capital and purchase more equipment,” Miles-Olund said.

“It’s clear that, more than a year after its passage, tax reform continues to provide a boost to the U.S. economy and the U.S. manufacturing industry,” National Association of Manufacturers’ Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economy Policy Chris Netram said. “Rolling back the law would only hurt manufacturers like Miles Fiberglass, and we’re seeing that concern reflected in our latest survey.”

Policy and Legal

USMCA Passage is Critical for Manufacturers in Every State

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Last year, leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the United States came together to modernize the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. The result was the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA – a broad update that was agreed to in November 2018. Yet more than six months later the USMCA is still pending approval in Congress. Comprehensive new state-level data from the National Association of Manufacturers shows the USMCA’s positive impact, and manufacturers are voicing their support for this deal.

“The USMCA is about restoring certainty, improving the rule of law and expanding our partnerships with our most significant trade partners,” Linda Dempsey, NAM vice president of international economic affairs, said. “Not only will its ratification grant manufacturers the certainty they need to continue growing and creating jobs into the future, but it will also expand U.S. manufacturing access to Canada and Mexico and help level the playing field for American workers.”

As manufacturers’ most critical partners, Canada and Mexico purchase one-fifth of the total value of U.S. manufacturing output – more than the next 11 countries combined. These exports support about 2 million American manufacturing jobs and 43,000 small- and medium-sized businesses.

“Passage of this agreement is critical for U.S. manufacturing sector,” said Dempsey. “Canada and Mexico are manufacturers’ most important partners.”

The agreement promises stronger intellectual property rules to protect manufacturing inventions, setting new and improved standards for the digital economy. It expands U.S. manufacturing’s ability to export products abroad, ensuring manufacturers can sell their products duty free and eliminating red tape at the border that often hinders small- and medium-sized businesses seeking to sell their products in both Canada and Mexico. The USMCA also levels the playing field for U.S. manufacturers in critical ways by raising standards, improving transparency and prohibiting anti-U.S. discrimination from foreign governments. The benefits would extend to every state, offering communities across the country opportunities for growth.

With a push for action among policymakers and the public, manufacturers are asking Congress to ratify this agreement that improves trade relationships, strengthens the manufacturing sector and benefits the 12 million employees who work in the manufacturing industry.

“Without movement,” Dempsey said, “American manufacturing workers and communities are at risk.”

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Stand Up for Equality

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Manufacturing businesses have long been proponents of equality in the workplace. As legislation to codify protections for LGBT individuals passes through the House of Representatives, the National Association of Manufacturers joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and other members of the business community in advocating its passage, forging coalitions and providing congressional testimony.

Introduced with bipartisan support in the U.S. House and Senate in March, the Equality Act includes federal protections for individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity under the existing framework of the Civil Rights Act, which already provides protection against discrimination on the basis of religion, national origin, race, color or sex. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that no person can face legal discrimination based on their gender or sexual orientation, setting a clear federal standard to enable individuals to succeed based on their abilities and qualifications to perform a job.

“Employers understand the importance of creating an environment in which the very best people can succeed based on merit,” Patrick Hedren, NAM vice president, labor, legal and regulatory policy, said. “At the same time, manufacturers know that discrimination in any form is antithetical to the values that we work to uphold every day: equality of opportunity, individual liberty, free enterprise and competitiveness.”

In March, more than 40 other industry associations rallied to support the Equality Act, providing an important boost for the groundbreaking legislation. In the weeks since, manufacturing representatives have testified before the House Education and Labor Committee and signed a coalition letter to the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services calling for the Act’s passage. As Congress considers the way forward, manufacturers have made clear that they intend to advocate forcefully on behalf of the legislation and uphold their commitment to workers of every gender identity and sexual orientation.

“The Equality Act creates a clear federal standard that matches the sentiments manufacturers already share: gender identity and sexual orientation have no impact on an employee’s abilities and discrimination is not welcome on the manufacturing floor,” Hedren said. “We look forward to working with Congress as this important legislation moves ahead.”

Demystifying Data

Tax Reform Repeal Would Lead To Lost Jobs, Wages in U.S. Manufacturing

NAM survey data suggests repealing tax reform would strike a major blow to manufacturing jobs, wages and investments.

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While some politicians in Washington and presidential candidates across the country are openly discussing rolling back key parts of the historic tax reform bill signed into law back in 2017, the National Association of Manufacturers’ latest survey data paints an alarming picture of the impact such a move would have on the U.S. economy and the manufacturing industry in particular.

According to the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey from first quarter of 2019, two thirds (66 percent) of manufacturers would be forced to consider cutting back investments in the United States if Congress rolled back portions of the tax reform bill, while 62 percent would scale back projected growth in wages and bonuses. Meanwhile, more than half (54 percent) would cut back on hiring.

“These are scary numbers,” Chris Netram, NAM’s Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy, said.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took the U.S. tax code from one of the least competitive among advanced economies to “just about average,” Netram said. “Backsliding to uncompetitive rates and policies tells companies that operate in a global supply chain that the U.S. is not open for business. It will force them to look elsewhere.”

“Long term, the global economy will still continue to grow,” Netram said. “But the United States won’t capture as much of it.”

Because taxes are a fixed cost in any investment, raising taxes drives the required rate of return on any investment even higher, raising the threshold for what would make an investment profitable and changing the calculus for businesses planning future investments in equipment and employees.

Small manufacturers have benefited from tax reform’s provision allowing for a 20 percent deduction of “pass-through” small business income. While much of the discussion in Washington has focused on the corporate tax rate, far more manufacturers file as pass-through businesses, meaning smaller firms would bear the brunt of a full tax reform repeal.

“The number of pass-throughs dwarfs the number of corporate filers,” Netram said. “If you were looking to harm small manufacturers, reducing or repealing the pass through deduction is how you’d do it. That’s one thing that’s so alarming about what some leaders are talking about in Washington.”

The NAM has conducted its quarterly Outlook Survey since 1997. Last year’s aggregated results found the most optimistic reading among U.S. manufacturers in the survey’s history, with respondents crediting the tax reform bill as a major factor. A similar survey from 2018 found huge majorities were planning to increase investments, hiring and wages due to the tax law. Meanwhile, job growth in the industry in 2018 was the fastest in more than twenty years.

“Adopting a more competitive tax system has boosted the industry,” Netram said. “Rolling back the benefits of tax reform would make it more difficult to further grow our thriving American manufacturing sector.”

Press Releases

NAM Statement on White House Immigration Proposal

Timmons: “Administration’s Announcement Moves Us Closer to a Way Forward”

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the White House’s immigration proposal:

America’s immigration system is fundamentally broken, and manufacturers are committed to being part of the solution. The administration’s announcement moves us closer to a way forward, said Timmons.

Earlier this year, manufacturers offered our plan, ‘A Way Forward,’ to help guide leaders in Washington as they tackle this complicated issue. We were pleased to see the President’s plan aligned with several of our ideas, including focusing on economic realities, increasing employment-based immigration and welcoming those with skills to match workforce demands, along with enhancing overall security. Immigrants make our country stronger, and we agree with the President when he says we should expand legal immigration even more.

Manufacturers will continue working with leaders in both parties, on Capitol Hill and in the administration to achieve lasting reforms that bolster our national security, offer compassion and address economic and workforce realities. Ultimately, we all share the same goal—building a safer and stronger America.

In February, the NAM released its immigration plan “A Way Forward” which identified seven core areas for action for Congress and the administration to take to fix our broken immigration system once and for all. Timmons also visited the border to see the problems firsthand.


The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) 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 million men and women, contributes $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact 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.

Press Releases

NAM Urges U.S., China to Reach a Bilateral, Enforceable Trade Deal

Timmons: Manufacturers Need a “Lasting Agreement That Ends China’s Unfair Practices, Eliminates Tariffs and Provides Real Enforcement”

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the ongoing U.S.–China talks and the implementation of increased U.S. tariffs on Chinese products:

U.S. and Chinese officials must accelerate their efforts to reach a lasting agreement that ends China’s unfair practices, eliminates tariffs and provides real enforcement. These developments should add a greater sense of urgency to the negotiations.

For years, China has refused to play by the rules, harming manufacturers with intellectual property theft and other unfair trade practices. That’s why the NAM was the first business association, in early 2018, to call for a bilateral, enforceable trade agreement to help level the playing field for America’s manufacturing workers.

A trade war will not solve our problems. So we look forward to the United States and China returning to the negotiating table to get this deal done as soon as possible.

The NAM first called for the administration to pursue a bilateral trade agreement with China in a letter from Timmons to President Trump in January 2018. The NAM also testified before the Senate Finance Committee and U.S. Trade Representative on the impact of tariffs and the importance of reaching an enforceable bilateral trade agreement with China. In August 2018, the NAM released a full negotiating objectives framework for an agreement that will address China’s unfair trade practices and level the playing field for manufacturers in the United States.


The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) 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 million men and women, contributes $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact 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.

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