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.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Warn of Harmful Impact of Proposed Interest Expense Limitation

Analysis Shows Limiting Interest Deductibility Disproportionately Harms Manufacturers, Costs Jobs

Washington, D.C. – Following the release of an analysis­­­ on the damaging effects of a proposed interest expense limitation under consideration by Congress, National Association of Manufacturers Managing Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Chris Netram released the following statement.

“Manufacturers are already facing incredible economic headwinds due to increased input costs, labor shortages and strong inflationary pressures. This analysis shows that limiting tax deductions for interest on business loans disproportionately harm manufacturers at a perilous time—costing hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic growth at a time when our industry is trying to drive our nation’s recovery.

“When Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, manufacturers raised wages, invested in U.S. operations and spurred growth. Congress should be considering proposals that double down on the TCJA’s winning record rather than considering tax increases that will sabotage our recovery.”

The analysis was prepared by EY’s Quantitative Economics and Statistics group.

 Key Findings:

The EBIT-based 163(j) and proposed163(n) interest expense limitations before market adjustments would cost:

  • 623,000 Jobs
  • $31.6 Billion in Employee Compensation Annually
  • $60.1 billion in GDP Annually

-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 12.7 million men and women, contributes $2.71 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.

Policy and Legal

NAM Urges Biden Administration to Protect Innovation

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NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons urged Biden administration officials to support innovative manufacturers and reject a dangerous proposal to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and other products.

  • Timmons’ call went out to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and senior White House officials.

The situation: Timmons’ advocacy comes in response to a World Trade Organization proposal that would waive IP rights for a broad range of COVID-19 products, putting American innovation and jobs at risk.

  • As this goes to press, the U.S. and other countries are actively negotiating potential text ahead of the WTO’s forthcoming ministerial conference that kicks off this Sunday.

The issue: IP rights have been crucial in supporting American innovation and manufacturing during the pandemic. They have incentivized the rapid development of vaccines, COVID-19 therapeutics, personal protective equipment and other essential products and created the legal certainty for hundreds of innovative partnerships to ramp up their production.

The challenge: The controversial WTO proposal is rooted in the false premise that global vaccination efforts are lagging due to a lack of supply.

  • “The primary challenge to global COVID-19 vaccination is not supply, but distribution and demand,” said Timmons.
  • Facilitating global COVID-19 vaccination will take solving supply chain bottlenecks and logistical challenges while improving the ability of local health systems to deliver the vaccines and effective treatment.

The way forward: Instead of the waiver, the U.S. should push for creative efforts to fight COVID-19, including building consensus for the Trade in Health Initiative, working with like-minded countries to develop practical innovations that leverage increased trade and targeting WTO-identified trade bottlenecks.

  • “The NAM and its members stand ready to work with you and your agencies to advance solutions that will, once and for all, tackle this devastating pandemic,” said Timmons.

NAM in action: The NAM recently launched an advertising campaign in key states and districts on the issue, urging the administration to protect American jobs and innovation.

Policy and Legal

The NAM Calls on Congress to Help on Energy, Climate

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The U.S. needs a unified climate-change strategy that will strengthen our energy security while empowering manufacturers, the NAM told the House of Representatives’ Energy, Climate and Conservation Task Force this week.

What’s happening: The Republican task force is one of seven recently created by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to enact targeted policy solutions to current challenges and guard against future crises.

  • Among these are rising energy prices, supply chain instability and a lack of critical minerals—all dilemmas that can be fixed through sound policy, NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones told the task force.

What can be done: “We welcome the ECC Task Force’s proposals that will address current challenges, including increasing domestic energy production; stabilizing and securing supply chains—particularly domestic production and processing of critical materials, minerals and chemicals; permitting reform that provides regulatory certainty for the development and deployment of projects; and innovation policies that incentivize an all-of-the-above energy approach rather than picking winners and losers,” Jones said.

Why it matters: Jones urged task force members to seek solutions found in the NAM’s comprehensive climate blueprint, The Promise Ahead, as well as its supply chain recommendations and energy and environmental policy agendas.

  • Jones stressed the need for a unified domestic and global approach to tackling climate change while strengthening U.S. energy security.

Manufacturers matter: Jones also hammered home the importance of including manufacturers in the conversation about climate and energy fixes.

“An agenda for the future must recognize manufacturers as the solution to emerging environmental challenges and build on the strong steps manufacturers have already taken to become more sustainable and tackle climate change; apply sound science and evidence-based approaches in new proposals; and appropriately balance the United States’ economic and environmental interests so that achieving one goal does not mean ignoring the other.”

Policy and Legal

NAM to Congress: It’s Time to Act on China

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We can ensure that this is the “American century” that brings success to manufacturers and citizens alike—but only through swift action to fix our relationship with China and ensure that our manufacturers can compete on a level playing field—the NAM recently told members of the House of Representatives’ China Accountability Task Force.

What’s going on: To strengthen national security and our global competitiveness, we need a new approach to China, NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Ken Monahan told key Republican leaders of the task force.

  • The task force, established by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R- CA) and run by the lead Republican on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), includes 18 leading Republican members focused on tackling broad issues related to China.

The recommendations: According to Monahan, the U.S. approach should include:

  • A “national strategic vision [for] and bold investments” in domestic manufacturing;
  • Sound engagement with allies, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region;
  • “Assertive global leadership to ensure that the U.S.—not China—is writing the rules for the international system, including issues such as trade and climate”;
  • Consistent pressure applied directly and with allies to ensure China meets its trade and economic commitments;
  • Strategic use of “enforcement tools to target … areas of problematic Chinese trade behavior”;
  • Expanded efforts to combat Chinese intellectual property theft;
  • Targeted upgrades to national security frameworks; and
  • Stronger collaboration between manufacturers in the United States, Congress and the executive branch “to advance American values abroad.”

Why it’s important: Without such moves, troubling actions by China would likely only increase.

  • “For manufacturers, China has long been a hub for unfair industrial subsidies and government-fueled overcapacity in areas like steel and aluminum that distort global markets,” Monahan said.
  • “China continues to promote discriminatory industrial policies, forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft that harm manufacturers and workers in the U.S. Increasingly, China is also using global institutions and its economic influence to build alliances that challenge American interests, human rights and democratic values.”

NAM leadership: The NAM has called on political leaders of both parties, in the administration and on Capitol Hill, to develop and implement a clear, robust strategy to tackle China built on these core principles. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons urged President Biden in March 2021 to take such action, repeating the call to senior administration officials in August 2021.

News

NAM Urges Changes to Climate Disclosures Rule

As the Securities and Exchange Commission considers a prescriptive rule that imposes significant and burdensome climate-related disclosure obligations on public companies, the NAM is pushing back. It is fighting for critical changes that will support manufacturers’ leadership on climate change.

The background: Manufacturers have long been leaders on climate solutions, working to create the technologies and processes needed to combat climate change while also providing material information about their climate-related efforts to investors.

  • But a recent rule proposed by the SEC would mandate that companies, large and small, report reams of complex climate-related information, even when that information may not have any impact on their financial performance or operations.

The rule: The proposed rule, which the SEC released in March, would require qualitative descriptions of companies’ climate-related risks and strategies as well as quantitative reporting of their greenhouse gas emissions and any climate-related impacts on their financial statements.

  • The result would be an unworkable framework that does not align with current practices—imposing an enormous burden on manufacturers across the country.
  • Additional information can be found about the rule here and about the NAM’s engagement with the SEC on climate disclosures here.

The response: The NAM has laid out a series of necessary changes that the SEC must make to reduce the compliance costs and liability risks associated with the rule’s requirements. Our recommendations will align the rule more closely with current climate reporting practices—decreasing burdens on public companies and increasing information utility for investors. Specifically, the NAM is calling on the SEC to:

  • Delay annual GHG emissions reporting, granting manufacturers time to collect and verify data for a midyear report (rather than the proposed February deadline).
  • Strike disclosure of Scope 3 emissions, which requires tracking emissions data through the supply chain. While some manufacturers are already working to understand these emissions, the data collection, estimation and reporting methodologies are still evolving. At a minimum, the SEC should provide more flexibility for companies subject to the Scope 3 requirement.
  • Rescind accounting changes that would require climate impact analyses of companies’ consolidated financial statements on a line-by-line basis.
  • Adjust the climate-related risk disclosures and Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions reporting requirements to make the provisions less prescriptive and more aligned with existing company practices.
  • Fine-tune the guidelines for reporting on climate-related goals to avoid penalizing companies that set ambitious targets.
  • Remove requirements that companies disclose competitively sensitive information about the internal tools they use to understand and plan for climate risks, scenarios and activities.

The last word: “The SEC’s climate rule as written would be harmful for both large and small manufacturers and unhelpful for investors,” said NAM Senior Director of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Charles Crain. “The NAM is committed to supporting our members in their efforts to combat climate change and inform investors about this critical work, and the recommendations we’ve offered present an important step toward that goal.”

Watch: NAM President & CEO Jay Timmons joined CNBC to discuss the impact of the proposed rule.

Press Releases

Manufacturers: New Water Permitting Proposal Falls Short of Needed Certainty

Washington, D.C. – Following the introduction of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Water Quality Certification Improvement Rule, National Association of Manufacturers Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones released the following statement:

“The EPA’s new water permitting proposal falls short of providing the certainty that manufacturers in America desperately need from their local, state and federal regulators, and if the EPA doesn’t get the regulations right here, American families will continue to feel the consequences of rising construction costs and delayed infrastructure investments. While we are pleased that this proposal provides some clarity on the scope of reviews and sets timelines to increase predictability, it just doesn’t go far enough to stop activists from abusing what were intended to be important water protections.

“Manufacturers in America have endured red tape and permitting delays for decades, and manufacturers know what happens when the vaguely worded Section 401 is used as an excuse to block critical infrastructure: We lose out on modern manufacturing jobs. By setting clearer guidelines, the EPA could empower manufacturers to invest in our people and communities with confidence and to work with state leaders to protect our water and environment. The NAM will continue working with policymakers to improve this measure so that it can strengthen environmental stewardship while speeding infrastructure investment and expanding manufacturing here in the United States.”

-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 12.7 million men and women, contributes $2.71 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.

Policy and Legal

NAM Pushes for Smart SEC Cyber Rule

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed a rule that would impose new cybersecurity disclosure requirements on manufacturers—and the NAM is pushing to make those requirements work better.

The background: The SEC issued guidance in 2018 telling public companies what information about their cybersecurity protections they should provide to investors, but the SEC now feels that more disclosure is warranted.

The requirements: The SEC has proposed a rule that would require two different kinds of disclosures from public companies:

  • Cybersecurity incidents: If a manufacturer experiences a material cybersecurity incident like a breach or a hack, the company would have four days to make a public disclosure describing the nature of the incident, what systems were implicated and how the company is responding.
  • Governance and risk management: The proposed rule would require manufacturers to disclose the processes they use to identify and guard against cybersecurity risks, with information on their procedures and personnel.

The problem: SEC disclosures are public—and by requiring detailed disclosures about cybersecurity processes and incidents, the proposed rule could force manufacturers to provide a roadmap to potential hackers and cyber attackers.

  • At the same time, the inflexible four-day window for reporting cybersecurity incidents means that manufacturers would be required to disclose information about attacks even if an incident is ongoing or the subject of a law enforcement investigation.
  • This could potentially interfere with efforts to stop the attack, risking the exposure of sensitive information or implicating national security.

Our move: The NAM has urged the SEC to make commonsense adjustments to the rule in order to protect manufacturers from attacks and give companies the flexibility to respond to cybersecurity incidents appropriately.

  • Specifically, the NAM has called on the SEC to adopt a more principles-based approach to the proposed risk management disclosures, allow for greater flexibility with respect to incident reporting and coordinate with U.S. law enforcement and national security experts when finalizing the rule.

Our take: “A final rule that requires timely and accurate reports without instituting one-size-fits-all mandates will ensure that shareholders have access to useful information without exposing businesses, investors, and all Americans to increased risks,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Chris Netram. “The NAM strongly supports a flexible approach to cybersecurity reporting, and manufacturers respectfully encourage the SEC to promulgate a final rule that allows public companies to both inform and protect their shareholders.”

Policy and Legal

NAM Takes Proxy Battle to Court

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The NAM Legal Center stood up for manufacturers in federal court this week, arguing that the Securities and Exchange Commission unlawfully suspended a rule governing proxy advisory firms.

A quick refresher: Proxy advisory firms advise institutional investors, like retirement fund managers, on how to vote on the policies of public companies in which the funds invest. This gives the firms significant power over public companies.

The fight: The NAM secured a significant victory in 2020 when the SEC finalized a rule increasing oversight of proxy advisory firms, which had long operated without SEC oversight.

  • Manufacturers strongly supported the 2020 rule, which was designed to increase transparency, highlight conflicts of interest and provide accurate and decision-useful information to investors.
  • At the beginning of the Biden administration, however, the SEC’s new leadership announced that it would not enforce the rule—without engaging in notice-and-comment rulemaking, a clear violation of administrative law.

Our move: Shortly after the SEC announced it wouldn’t enforce the 2020 rule, the NAM Legal Center filed a challenge to prevent the agency from abdicating its responsibilities. Put simply, a new administration cannot set aside lawfully promulgated rules that it happens to disagree with—and the NAM is standing up for that principle in court.

Our case: Arguing before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas this week, the NAM made clear that the SEC acted unlawfully by suspending the compliance date of the proxy firm rule indefinitely without going through the required public notice-and-comment process to amend or repeal it.

  • The SEC, in turn, argued that the agency hasn’t technically suspended the rule, but rather that SEC staff has made a nonbinding and “informal” recommendation not to enforce it—an action that has the same effect as an official suspension and one which the SEC’s own lawyers have described as providing “relief” to proxy firms.

Our take: “The SEC is attempting to end-run its legal obligation to enforce this rule,” said NAM Deputy General Counsel for Litigation Erica Klenicki. “We are in court fighting for manufacturers and their investors across the United States, who deserve protection from the outsized influence of proxy firms and who depend on the SEC, and all federal agencies, to adhere to the rule of law.” 

Press Releases

Successful Indo-Pacific Framework Critical for Manufacturers

Washington, D.C. – Following the Biden administration’s announcement on the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, National Association of Manufacturers Vice President of International Economic Affairs Ken Monahan released the following statement:

“NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons pressed the administration on critical components to the IPEF earlier this year, and manufacturers are encouraged that the framework will address key manufacturing priorities we have outlined in areas such as digital economy, resilient supply chains and transparency and good governance. These priorities are essential for manufacturing businesses and workers for a region that represents more than two-fifths of total U.S. manufacturing trade and is a market for U.S. exports that support nearly 2 million American jobs.

“As discussions continue, we’re looking for U.S. leaders to support manufacturing jobs by taking an approach that opens markets, strengthens U.S. innovation and technology leadership, raises global standards and establishes best-in-class trade rules.”

Background: NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons stressed in a February letter to senior administration officials that high-standards trade with the Indo-Pacific is critical to manufacturers’ success and global competitiveness. Additionally, the NAM submitted  comments on the IPEF in April to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

-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 12.7 million men and women, contributes $2.71 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.

Policy and Legal

Increased Production, Not Regulations, Will Lower Gas Prices

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Policymakers can help alleviate the pain Americans are feeling at the pump and elsewhere—but by increasing domestic energy production, not through ill-conceived legislation, the NAM told U.S. House leadership this week.

Missing the mark: On Thursday, the House narrowly approved a measure that “gives the President the power to issue a declaration making it unlawful for energy companies to increase prices that are ‘unconsciously excessive,’ and authorizes the FTC to enforce those violating the act,” according to CNN.

  • “[M]anufacturers oppose H.R. 7688, the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act; it misses the mark,” NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones wrote to the House leaders on Thursday. She added that price gouging is already illegal in most states and comes under Federal Trade Commission investigation.
  • The new measure “does nothing to address the real drivers of rising energy costs and only adds additional regulatory red tape that could drive prices even higher,” Jones continued.

What will work: Instead, legislators should focus on increasing production of energy here at home, which will lower inflation and pump prices, as well as make the U.S. more competitive globally, Jones wrote.

“That starts with opening our diverse resources on federal lands, approving responsible exploration and production, supporting sustainable permitting and quickly building out more energy infrastructure.”

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