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President Biden Gets to Work, and the NAM Responds

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As President Joe Biden took office yesterday, the NAM took a pragmatic stance, calling this new political era “a time for healing.” As NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons put it, “Today, manufacturers recommit ourselves to be part of the solution—to be part of the healing process. We invite all Americans to join us in doing the same.”

And since the new president started his first day with a flurry of executive orders, the NAM responded to those, too. Here’s a rundown of the new policies, plus the NAM’s statements.

Immigration: While also moving to reverse a ban on immigration from certain Muslim-majority countries, President Biden strengthened the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, offering support to the so-called Dreamers. He called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that provides Dreamers with permanent status and a path to citizenship.

  • Responding to the DACA action, Timmons said, “Manufacturers are very encouraged by today’s critical first step. . . .  The broad goals of the Biden plan align with many of the core recommendations in ‘A Way Forward,’ manufacturers’ post-partisan roadmap for immigration reform. The path we have laid out is one that we believe can bring the country together, and we look forward to working with the Biden administration to move a comprehensive immigration reform plan through Congress.”

Keystone XL: President Biden also rescinded the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, at least temporarily erecting a barrier to its progress.

  • “Manufacturers are disappointed with the administration’s decision to block this sustainable project, which can serve as a model for infrastructure of the future, and if not reconsidered, represents a missed opportunity for manufacturing workers in America,” said Timmons. “Manufacturers have a strong commitment to responsible environmental stewardship, and protecting our environment does not require us to walk away from his job-creating opportunity.”

COVID-19: Ten executive orders focused on combating the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CNBC. The NAM had called for aggressive actions to support manufacturers’ COVID-19 response months ago, including in its April “American Renewal Action Plan” and, mostly recently, in conversations with the transition team.

  • The orders included a new COVID-19 response office as well as a pandemic supply chain resilience strategy to help strengthen domestic production of important supplies.
  • President Biden also restored U.S. membership in the World Health Organization and directed agencies to use the Defense Production Act to spur production of critical materials like N95 masks, swabs and other vaccine- and virus-related equipment.

“It’s very encouraging to see [President Biden] is starting off with strong, decisive action to fight COVID-19, save lives and get our economy on the road to recovery,” said Timmons on Twitter. “Manufacturers are committed to ending this deadly pandemic.”

Masks on: One of President Biden’s orders will now require masks to be worn on federal property, and he plans to require masks on public transportation as well. The NAM has prioritized face coverings since the beginning of the pandemic, including by launching a “Wear a Face Covering” ad campaign and providing a crucial estimate of how many masks American businesses need.

  • “President Joe Biden is showing real leadership with his executive orders on masks,” said Timmons. “Masks save lives, help us keep our economy open and are vital until we can all get vaccinated.”
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