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

NAM Fights Back Against SEC About-Face

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As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission turns its back on a bipartisan agreement on proxy advisory firms, the NAM is taking action.

The background: In 2020, the NAM supported—and the SEC finalized—a major rule to increase oversight and transparency with regard to proxy advisory firms. These unregulated and unaccountable entities influence publicly traded companies by recommending how institutional asset managers should vote in corporate proxy contests.

  • Since last January, the SEC’s new leadership has taken steps to undermine and reverse the 2020 rule. The NAM has filed suit against the SEC for refusing to enforce the 2020 rule, called on the agency to provide “reliable rules of the road” and opposed a proposed rule to reduce proxy firm oversight.

The new rule: Yesterday, the SEC released a final rule that rescinds many of the critical reforms the NAM secured in 2020. Specifically, the new rule removes requirements for proxy firms to engage with impacted companies and their shareholders, and it weakens the 2020 rule’s anti-fraud provisions.

Arbitrary and capricious: The SEC is making these substantial changes absent any new evidence—because the 2020 rule was never allowed to take effect. It has also failed to articulate a satisfactory policy justification. Federal agencies are prohibited from issuing regulations that are “arbitrary and capricious”—an easy descriptor for the SEC’s actions given the agency’s abrupt and unjustified about-face.

NAM in action: The NAM announced yesterday that it plans to file suit against the SEC to preserve the 2020 rule. It will argue that the SEC’s decision to change course without allowing the 2020 rule to take effect and be fairly evaluated epitomizes arbitrary and capricious rulemaking.

What we’re saying: “The SEC has offered no justification for abandoning a decade’s worth of bipartisan, consensus-driven policymaking,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “This move will undoubtedly harm the competitiveness of publicly traded manufacturers, and it will hurt Main Street investors.”

Policy and Legal

Why Nuclear is Key to Climate & Energy Security

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As energy prices remain at their highest levels in more than a decade, there’s little sign that the U.S. is on a steady course toward energy security. That’s why the NAM is urging the federal government to pursue all available options—including nuclear.

The lowdown: Nuclear energy is a safe, reliable and the largest zero-emission source of energy in the U.S.

  • At a time of pronounced supply chain challenges, oil-and-gas lease cancellations and costly shortages of critical minerals, nuclear energy could go a long way toward fortifying the grid.
  • In addition, the technology has advanced enormously in recent years. Microreactors, small enough to be moved by truck, are poised to help solve the challenge of powering remote areas.
  • The Department of Energy also recognizes the importance of nuclear energy, recently noting its relevance to energy security in the department’s Supply Chain Assessments.

What we’re saying: “The reality is that to meet our growing electricity needs and climate goals, nuclear-generated power must be part of the solution,” said NAM Director of Energy and Resources Policy Chris Morris. Here are his key policy recommendations:

  • Encourage capital formation: The NAM secured a significant $6 billion investment in the Civilian Nuclear Credit Program through the recent infrastructure bill, but more robust investments will be needed to ensure operations continue at current nuclear projects, Morris said.
  • Relicensing: Licensing and permitting processes should meet the highest standards, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission often takes years to complete them. The NRC should use its position on the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council to make efficiency improvements in its licensing processes under the recently announced Permitting Action Plan.
  • Fuel supply chain security: The U.S. imports uranium for civilian nuclear use from Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Canada and Australia, among others. Meanwhile, new advanced reactor concepts will utilize high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) which is now solely produced by Russia and China. The NAM has been calling on policymakers to prioritize increasing domestic production.
  • SMRs and microreactors: Small modular reactors use factory-built components to streamline construction, while microreactors are portable and self-sufficient. Both will be crucial for next-generation nuclear power—but the U.S. government must invest in their manufacturing and modernize regulations accordingly.
  • Spent fuels: The NAM has long supported ongoing R&D into the storage and transportation of spent fuels—and progress is being made. Just yesterday, NRC staff recommended licensing a new storage project in New Mexico, “determining there would be largely minor environmental impacts from the project,” according to POLITICO (subscription).
  • Public perception: Commercial nuclear power is sometimes viewed as dangerous or unstable based on historic misconceptions. In truth, the U.S. nuclear industry is leading the world in best practices, safety and accountability. Policymakers must engage with local communities to provide the facts and emphasize the importance of nuclear power for combating climate change.

The last word: “Our current fleet and the next generation of nuclear power must be a substantial part of a clear-eyed strategy to address climate and energy security,” Morris said.

Press Releases

Manufacturers to Sue SEC on Proxy Advisory Firm Rule

“The SEC has offered no justification for abandoning a decade’s worth of bipartisan, consensus-driven policymaking”

Washington, D.C. – Following the Securities and Exchange Commission’s announcement that it is rescinding critical reforms designed to protect publicly traded manufacturers and their investors from unregulated and unaccountable “proxy advisory firms,” National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“The SEC has offered no justification for abandoning a decade’s worth of bipartisan, consensus-driven policymaking. This move will undoubtedly harm the competitiveness of publicly traded manufacturers, and it will hurt Main Street investors. The SEC’s decision to change course without allowing the 2020 rule to take effect and be fairly evaluated epitomizes ‘arbitrary and capricious’ rulemaking. The NAM will be filing suit in the coming weeks to preserve the 2020 rule’s commonsense reforms and protect manufacturers from proxy advisory firms’ outsized influence.”

Background:

The NAM has long called for increased oversight of proxy advisory firms. In July 2020, the SEC issued final regulations to enhance transparency and accountability for proxy firms, a move Timmons called a “long-sought, major win for the industry and millions of manufacturing workers.” In October 2020, the NAM filed a motion to intervene in ISS v. SEC (ISS’s attempt to overturn the rule) in support of these reforms.

In June 2021, the SEC announced that it was suspending enforcement of the 2020 rule; the NAM voiced concern about the agency’s “efforts to bypass the required notice-and-comment process to keep this lawfully issued rule on ice indefinitely.” The NAM filed suit against the SEC in October 2021 challenging this unlawful suspension. Oral arguments in NAM v. SEC took place in May 2022.

In November 2021, the SEC proposed to rescind critical portions of the 2020 rule, a move the NAM called “deeply troubling.” The NAM filed comment opposing the recission proposal in December 2021.

-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.

Press Releases

North American Manufacturing Industry Statement on the Two-Year Anniversary of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement

Washington, D.C. – The leading organizations representing manufacturers and millions of manufacturing workers in the United States, Mexico and Canada released the following statement on the two-year anniversary of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA/T-MEC/CUSMA):

“On this two-year anniversary, we recognize the substantial value that this agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement have represented for our industry’s competitiveness, our economies and North American workers. Manufacturing is critical for the entire North American economy. Our closely integrated supply chains contribute more than $3 trillion annually to the North American economy, and more than $2 billion worth of manufactured goods cross our borders each day.

“The USMCA can only reach its full potential if it is fully implemented in a manner that upholds its letter and spirit. That is why manufacturers across North America continue to strongly and respectfully urge political leaders to work together to live up to the commitments of the agreement, which garnered broad support in all three countries. Full compliance with the agreement will provide certainty for the more than 23 million manufacturing workers in the United States, Mexico and Canada and boost our region’s ability to compete with the rest of the world.

“The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), the Confederation of Industrial Chambers of Mexico (CONCAMIN) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reiterate our longstanding commitment to engage with the Canadian, Mexican and U.S. governments to ensure that the USMCA/T-MEC/CUSMA is fully implemented and that it supports our industry’s competitiveness and our workers at this critical time for our economies.”

Background: Earlier this week NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons wrote to President Biden about certain challenges in U.S.-Mexico trade relations.

 

-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. 

 

-CME-

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is Canada’s largest trade and industry association, and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada. CME directly represents more than 10,000 leading companies nationwide. As Canada’s leading business network, CME – through various initiatives, including the establishment of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition – touches more than 100,000 companies from coast to coast, engaged in manufacturing, global business, and service-related industries.

 

-CONCAMIN-

The Confederation of Industrial Chambers of the United Mexican States, CONCAMIN, established in 1918, is the main organization representing the different industrial sectors and activities of high importance for the economic development of Mexico. The National Confederation of Industrial Chambers, is by law a mandatory consultative body of the State since its creation 104 years ago, it represents 118 Chambers and Associations.

It generates 48 out of every 100 formal jobs in the country. Through 1.2 million Economic Units, we contribute 40% of the GDP and 90% of the country’s exports. 

Policy and Legal

NAM Outlines Health Care Priorities

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In a message to members of the Congressional Health Care Task Force, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons urged Congress to pursue several health care priorities for manufacturers.

The big picture: Timmons laid out three core principles that guide NAM health care advocacy and engagement.

  • First, the NAM believes that free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity are the values that can successfully push forward the process of simplifying health care and achieving lower costs.
  • Second, the NAM believes that the medical credo “first, do no harm” should guide health care policy efforts.
  • Third, the NAM believes that the health care policy and business environment must allow and encourage unparalleled innovation, investment and manufacturing right here in the U.S.

In accordance with these principles, the NAM is pushing for several specific policy advances.

Transparency: “Manufacturers appreciate ongoing efforts to improve transparency in health care,” Timmons wrote. “Our industry has experienced the impacts of cost variation related to a range of health care services. These impacts can make health coverage more frustrating and expensive, for both consumers and employers who sponsor coverage.”

Connectivity: “The technology is available, and businesses have the capability to deliver and realize the potential of a fully connected health care system,” Timmons wrote. “Privacy laws and regulations need updating so that the deployment and adoption of new innovations to improve connectivity in our health care system can flourish.”

HSAs: The NAM believes Health Savings Accounts allow employees to have more control over their health care spending. To ensure HSAs can increase consumer flexibility and benefit American employees, the NAM supports efforts to increase limits and modernize rules governing HSAs.

Value-based arrangements: “Manufacturers are encouraged by the potential for health care innovation through outcomes-based health care arrangements,” Timmons wrote. “These arrangements would align incentives across a range of parties—health care providers, employers, patients, insurers and pharmaceutical and life sciences manufacturers—so that delivery of care, payment arrangements and clinical outcomes are achieved in an efficient manner.”

Association health plans: The NAM supports efforts to reform, advance and strengthen Association Health Plans. AHPs are beneficial especially to small businesses that struggle to offer affordable health care coverage to their employees. The NAM believes that additional legislation is needed to protect the longevity and sustainability of AHPs as a health care option.

Innovation: The NAM believes strong intellectual property protection is essential to creating a more competitive health care market, bringing down prices and fostering innovation by encouraging research and development.

The last word: “Despite the many challenges and strains facing the health care system, we are a nation that prides itself on first-class, best-in-the-world medical care,” Timmons wrote. “Our institutions, public and private, continue to lead the world on patient care, lifesaving treatments and medical research. We must uphold those successes while seeking to control or lower the cost of health care through market-oriented approaches. Employers are leading a great deal of innovation in health care delivery, and those positive developments must be allowed to flourish.”

Press Releases

New Study: Ports Stoppage Would Be Devastating Hit to Manufacturers’ Competitiveness

Cost Economy Half a Billion Dollars a Day, Destroy 41,000 U.S. Jobs

Washington, D.C. – As negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore and Warehouse Union near a critical deadline, manufacturers are sounding the alarm about potential economic consequences of a port stoppage if disruption were to occur over two weeks at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s largest port complex. According to a study by Inforum Economics, a 15-day disruption would cost the U.S. economy nearly half a billion dollars a day—for a total of $7.5 billion—and destroy 41,000 jobs, including more than 6,100 in manufacturing.

As the industry continues to grapple with historic supply chain challenges, inflationary pressures and rising transportation and energy costs, manufacturers are calling on the parties to reach an agreement immediately to avoid this continued uncertainty.

“The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach support a major share of cargo relied upon by American businesses and consumers, supporting supply chains across the entire country. With supply chains already stretched thin, inflation at its highest level in four decades and concerns of a recession rising, any disruption would mean a devastating hit to our economy and to manufacturers’ competitiveness,” said National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The disruption would be felt immediately. Manufacturing jobs will be lost if parts and supplies don’t arrive. New equipment, machinery and products can’t be built when ships are backed up and there is no one available to unload and process cargo. Our overseas customers won’t wait for us to fix these disruptions, either—they’ll simply find other suppliers, weakening U.S. manufacturing competitiveness in the process.

“This is why the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union must not allow a disruption at these ports. Manufacturers, our millions of employees and the countless others whose lives and livelihoods depend on the products we make are counting on the PMA and the ILWU to reach a resolution and keep the ports running.”

Background: At the time of publication, the PMA and ILWU are engaged in labor negotiations. The NAM commissioned an analysis using the Inforum LIFT economic model to quantify the impacts of a 15-day closure at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Specifically, it estimates how such a closure would impact U.S. employment, output and income. These ports have experienced historic disruptions and bottlenecks since late 2020, and nearly 84% of manufacturers now list freight and transportation costs as a key driver of inflation.

-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

New Unionization Changes Could Harm Manufacturers

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An ongoing push for new unionization policies would be damaging for manufacturers and their workforces, and the NAM is leading the fight against them. NAM Director of Labor and Employment Policy Brian Walsh recently laid out what these efforts are and what they mean for the manufacturing industry.

The background: Recent unionization efforts at major corporations like Starbucks and Amazon have gained headlines across the US. But, according to Walsh, these movements are part of a much broader effort:

  • “Where manufacturers should be really concerned…is the possible changes to union-organizing activity through legislation, such as the PRO Act, or through decisions from the National Labor Relations Board that will change current interpretations of labor law and enact card check nationwide,” said Walsh.

Card check: In case you aren’t familiar with it, card check is an alternative to the secret ballot elections that are required to occur with federal oversight.

  • To begin the unionization process, card check efforts require over 50% of employees to sign a card indicating their interest in forming a union. Card check proposals also jeopardize employees’ right to privately cast their ballots and could lead to less secure union elections, according to Walsh.
  • “The NLRB’s General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, aims to overturn longstanding practices surrounding union elections and card check policies,” added Walsh. “She has also called for overruling prior standards that have given employers the right to speak to their employees on union organizing. This would be devastating for employers.”

PRO Act: “Manufacturers support workers’ federally protected right to collectively bargain, but the Protecting the Right to Organize Act would hurt relationships between employers and employees by allowing unions to access personal employee information in union-organizing drives,” said Walsh.

  • “It is also another way to eliminate the secret ballot by taking away the ability for workers to privately cast their votes in a union election. This makes a worker’s vote known on a physical card for union organizers and their co-workers to see—making them susceptible to pressure campaigns.”

The NAM in action: The NAM is advocating against these policies and has been successful at holding back the PRO Act in the Senate.

  • Most recently, the NAM has been leading a campaign to make sure that card check language is not included in Congress’ final China competition bill.

What’s ahead: “Because of the composition of the NLRB, we expect many cases to be decided against employers,” said Walsh. “This is where the work of the NAM Legal Center is going to be really important in our efforts to beat back union tactics. We will be engaged in NLRB proceedings—and are prepared to go to court when necessary.”

Get involved: To take action on this issue, go here.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Launch Ad Campaign to Protect Manufacturing Competitiveness

Tax Increases Do Nothing to Reduce Energy Costs, Address Supply Chain and Inflation Challenges

Washington, D.C. – Amid historic supply chain challenges and inflationary pressures, along with increasing energy costs, the National Association of Manufacturers is launching a six-figure ad campaign calling on Congress to protect manufacturing jobs by opposing new taxes on the industry, including those meant to punish the very energy manufacturers that are being asked to produce more. The print, radio and digital ads will run in Washington, D.C., and in key states across the country.

“Manufacturers have kept our promises—especially after the 2017 tax reforms—to create jobs, raise wages and benefits and invest in our communities. To keep up this winning record, we need Congress to enact policies consistent with our manufacturing competitiveness agenda. That’s how we’ll strengthen supply chains, expand access to affordable, reliable energy and tamp down inflation. Our industry is ready to keep solving problems and create well-paying jobs—but returning to outdated tax policies will impede our progress,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

Background on manufacturing growth following the enactment of tax reform in 2017:

  • In 2018, manufacturers added 260,000 new jobs. That was the best year for job creation in manufacturing in 21 years.
  • In 2018, manufacturing wages increased 3.1% and continued going up—by 2.9% in 2019 and 3.0% in 2020. Those were the fastest rates of annual growth since 2003.
  • Manufacturing capital spending grew 4.5% and 5.7% in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
  • Overall, manufacturing production grew 3.2% in 2018, the best since 2010.

The NAM has published research on the impact of rolling back tax reform (study available here and click here for a summary of the study’s findings) and increasing the U.S. Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (GILTI) tax burden (study 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 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.

Press Releases

Manufacturers on Supreme Court Decision

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization:

“America is at its best when we address difficult questions in a spirit of compassion and empathy, with respect for each other’s deeply held views. That is the example that we will strive to set at the NAM. Our mission is to uphold the values of free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity, which we know have made America exceptional and kept manufacturing strong.

Even amid all positions and strongly held views, many businesses must now discern how best to support employees and families within the framework of the law. The NAM will work to connect our member companies with the legal, HR and health care information and resources they need to navigate the effects of the ruling.”

-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.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Warn Gas Tax Suspension Is a Step Backward

Washington, D.C. – Following the decision by President Biden to instruct Congress to suspend federal gasoline and diesel taxes for three months, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“Our nation achieved historic progress with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, but this move is likely to derail its implementation by suddenly disrupting its funding, delaying critical projects that Americans desperately need and that are vital to manufacturers’ competitiveness. Our focus should be on increasing energy production here at home—to make manufacturers more competitive, to bring energy and gasoline prices down and to provide lasting relief for American families. We need the same smart, long-term approach that inspired the infrastructure bill to solve today’s energy challenges.

“Since the beginning of this administration, we have provided specific solutions and recommendations for improving energy security and taking an all-of-the-above approach: restarting and expanding oil and gas leasing on federal lands, prioritizing funding and expediting permitting for traditional and emerging energy options, expanding critical mineral mining and processing, strengthening and diversifying clean energy supply chains, promoting regulatory predictability by refraining from revising air standards until previous ones are met, upholding the infrastructure law’s One Federal Decision policy and more. We would be in a better position now if these and other actions had already been taken, and the need to act has only grown more urgent. Manufacturers will continue doing everything in our power to be part of the solution.”

-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.

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