In advance of the upcoming Nevada caucuses, presidential candidates convened at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas on Sunday to discuss their plans for the future of America’s infrastructure. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and businessman Tom Steyer took part in the event, titled “Moving America Forward: A Presidential Candidate Forum on Infrastructure, Jobs and Building a Better America.”
United for Infrastructure, a nonprofit that educates the American public about the importance of infrastructure to the nation’s economy, workers and communities hosted the event. As a member of the United for Infrastructure steering committee, the National Association of Manufacturers helps advance an infrastructure agenda that unites business and labor interests in a common call for urgent action to modernize U.S. infrastructure.
“From making products to transporting them to customers, modern manufacturers must be incredibly precise to maximize productivity, but without reliable infrastructure, it’s impossible to do that cutting-edge work,” said NAM Director of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Catie Kawchak. “Now is the time to deliver transformational advancements to the infrastructure that connects our communities and facilitates free enterprise.”
Manufacturers led the call for significant infrastructure investment. In 2019, the NAM updated “Building to Win,” a blueprint to revitalize our nation’s infrastructure. The comprehensive policy framework provides solutions to support workers in the United States, jumpstart economic growth, spur job creation and enhance quality of life by improving and expanding transportation, energy, water and digital infrastructure in order to pave the way for the success of new generations. It also lays out a path for Congress to fund these investments.
“I was encouraged to hear the candidates participating in the forum say that modernizing U.S. infrastructure must be a top priority,” said Kawchak. “While we won’t agree with every candidate on every specific, each candidate included provisions from ‘Building to Win’ in their infrastructure platforms. Building a 21st-century infrastructure system is a top priority for manufacturers and an issue that unites diverse stakeholders—from Republicans to Democrats and from business to labor. It will remain an important issue for candidates throughout the election cycle.”
Recently, manufacturers took to Capitol Hill to do their part to combat counterfeit products entering the United States. Counterfeit goods are increasingly prevalent and pose a threat to consumers’ wellbeing and manufacturers’ competitiveness. To take a stand on this growing issue, Johnson & Johnson recently testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. In their testimony, the company highlighted the challenges facing health care manufacturers and the dangers counterfeiting can pose to the health of patients and consumers.
“Illicit trade has increased dramatically in recent years, impacting nearly every industry,” said Johnson & Johnson Vice President of Global Brand Protection Rich Kaeser. “The problem is obviously a serious concern in the health care and personal care industries where patients and consumers can be injured or even die due to unsafe, counterfeit and illicit products. These situations demonstrate why businesses must partner with one another and with government, so collectively we can be a greater force to deter the growing threat of [counterfeiting].”
Beyond consumers, counterfeiting also seriously impacts private shippers like UPS as well as the manufacturers that rely on their services. A new report from the Department of Homeland Security outlines a series of actions on how the federal government can partner with the private sector to combat trafficking in fake goods.
“With the rise of e-commerce and a global economy, counterfeit goods are a significant problem for many of UPS’s customers, particularly small and medium-sized companies,” said Laura Lane, UPS President of Global Public Affairs. “UPS is pleased to see the administration taking action on counterfeits, including enforcing the collection of advanced electronic data, and assurances that packages coming into the U.S., whether through the private express industry or the global postal system, receive consistent treatment and that there is uniformity at U.S. borders to curb counterfeits and dangerous goods from getting into our country.”
With the administration’s breakthrough “phase one” trade deal with China, the U.S. gained strong, enforceable intellectual property protections to help counter the importation of fake goods, but there is still significant work to be done to protect consumers and manufacturers, including ensuring those commitments are honored. In order to achieve long-lasting reform, a broad coalition of public- and private-sector voices need to be part of the process.
“Manufacturers have always had to deal with counterfeit goods, which lead to damaging consequences for consumers and the business community,” said National Association of Manufacturers Vice President of Labor, Legal and Regulatory Policy Patrick Hedren. “At the end of the day, this is about as bipartisan an issue as you can find. Manufacturers are eager to work with members of Congress, the administration and private-sector stakeholders to better protect the public from the threat of fake goods.”
Vice President Mike Pence celebrated manufacturers' achievements and praised the NAM's Creators Wanted campaign.
Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump was awarded the inaugural Alexander Hamilton Award.
Axios' Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen spoke with NAM SVP of Communications and Brand Strategy Erin Streeter about the state of media in the U.S.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan shared details about the infrastructure investment he is leading as the National Governors Association chairman.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito spoke about trade and manufacturing in West Virginia.
Sen. Mark Warner addressed the NAM Board of Directors to provide a view from Capitol Hill.
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford talked about the new geopolitical landscape in America.
Vice President Mike Pence addressed the National Association of Manufacturers’ Board of Directors Meeting on Friday. In a speech livestreamed to manufacturers across the country, he paid tribute to the NAM’s 125-year history, celebrated manufacturers’ accomplishments and praised the NAM’s historic Creators Wanted campaign, which was publicly unveiled earlier in the week—asserting that “President Trump will continue to back the efforts just like that one to create job training and vocational education and make it more accessible than ever before.” His appearance capped a three-day event attended by government officials and manufacturing leaders from across the nation.
— The NAM (@ShopFloorNAM) February 14, 2020
“I’m really here just to pay a debt of gratitude,” Vice President Pence told the manufacturing leaders gathered. “You’ve been investing in your companies and investing in working Americans… You’ve really revived the confidence of the American people and opened doors of opportunity.”
The vice president touted the impact of United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, which was developed and signed into law with the vocal support of small and large manufacturers. The agreement helped secure the 2 million American manufacturing jobs that depend on exports to Canada and Mexico, the biggest markets for U.S. exports in the world.
“We have a deal in the USMCA that is an unambiguous win for American workers, American manufacturing and American agriculture,” said Vice President Pence. “And we are grateful to each and every one of you for helping to bring it about.”
Vice President Pence also shined a light on several manufacturing companies that are keeping their promises to make bold investments following tax reform and regulatory certainty, including HM Manufacturing, which invested $500,000 in new equipment, hired 20% more workers and raised wages by 25%; BWX Technologies, which created 170 new jobs at three new facilities in Ohio and Indiana; and Nephron Pharmaceuticals, which gave employees a 5% raise.
“All of you in this association and the companies large and small that are represented here, for 125 years have improved the lives of the American people,” said Vice President Pence. “I’m standing in front of some of the most generous and conscientious corporate citizens in America. Your companies get behind literally every worthy cause in every big city and small town in America. So why don’t you give yourselves a round of applause for what you and your employees do to improve the lives of the American people every day. We’re truly grateful.”
Earlier in the week, the NAM awarded its inaugural Alexander Hamilton Award to Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump for her leadership on job training and workforce development.
Thanks for joining us, @IvankaTrump! You’ve shown unwavering commitment to manufacturing like no one else in government has ever done. @ShopfloorNAM is proud to have signed #PledgetoAmericasWorkers. https://t.co/rumIPeA5Am
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) February 14, 2020
In addition to the Vice President and Ivanka Trump, board meeting attendees heard from Axios’ Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei and political leaders including Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Today I addressed the @ShopFloorNAM Winter 2020 Board of Directors Meeting in Washington, DC, where I highlighted Maryland’s amazing economic resurgence and the national infrastructure initiative I’m leading as @NatlGovsAssoc chairman. pic.twitter.com/KzwiSh5I68
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) February 13, 2020
Enjoyed speaking with @ShopFloorNAM this evening about manufacturing and trade in West Virginia. Looking forward to the benefits of #USMCA and the Phase One China deal on our state’s economy. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/HhZRjHj8v1
— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) February 13, 2020
NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons presents Ivanka Trump with the inaugural Alexander Hamilton Award.
The supercar Acura NSX is designed, developed and manufactured in America.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos meets with manufacturing leaders.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos greets BTE President Chuck Wetherington.
Ivanka Trump poses with a Rosie the Riveter actor.
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner meets with manufacturing and political leaders.
Ivanka Trump discusses Creators Wanted with Timmons and Honda Vice President of Government and Industry Relations Jennifer Thomas.
Ingersoll Rand CEO and Chairman and NAM Board Chair Mike Lamach speaks about why the Creators Wanted campaign is critical to the industry.
The NAM celebrated its 125th anniversary and officially unveiled its Creators Wanted campaign on Wednesday evening.
Manufacturers and industry leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., last night with high-profile government officials to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the National Association of Manufacturers and the launch of it and The Manufacturing Institute’s “Creators Wanted” campaign. Hosted by the NAM, the event featured Senior Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, who received the organization’s inaugural Alexander Hamilton Award, which recognizes leaders who inspire Americans to promote, perpetuate and preserve manufacturing in America.
“Ivanka Trump embodies the collaborative spirit and relentless drive needed to solve manufacturers’ most pressing challenge—the workforce crisis,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Like no one in government has ever done, she has provided singular leadership and shown an unwavering commitment to modern manufacturing in America.”
Other leaders in attendance included Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and more than a dozen members of Congress from across the political spectrum.
The “Creators Wanted” campaign is an unprecedented, nationwide effort to reshape America’s perception of manufacturing and take on the manufacturing industry’s skills gap. Manufacturing executives are rallying around the initiative—more than $14 million in initial sponsorships will help the campaign engage communities across the country and inspire more Americans to pursue careers in modern manufacturing.
#CreatorsWanted is an opportunity to leverage the manufacturing industry’s unmatched strength to confront the workforce crisis w/ immediate, long-term solutions. Thanks to our sponsors, @ShopfloorNAM & @TheMfgInstitute can secure the industry's future. https://t.co/YkRj2djc9j
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) February 12, 2020
The “Creators Wanted” campaign will feature an on-the-ground, interactive mobile tour in more than 20 states and a culminating “Making America” festival in Cincinnati, Ohio. By 2025, “Creators Wanted” aims to reduce the skills gap in the United States by 600,000, expand the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools or reskilling programs by 25% and increase the positive perception of the industry among parents to 50% from 27% today.
“Since its inception 125 years ago, the National Association of Manufacturers has stood up for the men and women who make things in America,” said Timmons. “Today, manufacturers are keeping our promise to make a difference for our communities and our country. We have set ambitious goals that we intend to exceed. We will keep manufacturing front and center in 2020 and deliver the results our members expect and deserve.”
Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc., a manufacturer of restroom accessories for non-residential buildings, is creating new jobs in the U.S. by expanding its toilet partition product line production in Tennessee. This $4.5 million investment in U.S. manufacturing was made possible thanks to the strong economy and competitiveness fostered by tax reform.
In 2018, shortly after the passage of tax reform, Bobrick acquired a competitor based in the United Kingdom. Bobrick has since moved production for the North American product lines to its Jackson, Tenn., facility, where they just completed a 40,000-square-foot expansion.
“Bobrick is a great example of a global company relocating manufacturing from international operations to be closer and more responsive to domestic markets,” said Bobrick President Mark Louchheim. “I’m proud that we’ve been able to do that, especially as we expand.”
Since the beginning of 2017, Bobrick has increased its workforce by more than 30 percent, and the company plans to hire more workers in the coming months.
In addition, Bobrick is investing in its five other North American plants to help them continue to stay on the cutting edge of manufacturing technology.
“We’re truly in a renaissance of manufacturing when it comes to technological advances,” explained Louchheim. “We’ve made significant investments in all of our plants. Robotics and modern technology have made us more efficient than ever as a manufacturer. The increased competitiveness from productivity gains resulted in growth, and not a reduction in our labor force. Therefore, we are not only growing the company, but we’re also developing our workforce with higher-level skills and pay.”
Bobrick’s commitment shows that the future for U.S. manufacturing is bright.
“Tax reform leveled the playing field for manufacturers,” said Chris Netram, the National Association of Manufacturers Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy. “Bobrick is a great example of what manufacturers have been saying all along. Making our tax code more competitive sets the stage for companies of all shapes and sizes to create jobs, grow the economy and invest in the U.S.”
“The lower corporate tax rate made a huge impact on our ability to continue to invest in this business,” said Louchheim. “We couldn’t be more excited about the good things to come.”
Last week, the first drug to treat life-threatening peanut allergies was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, offering families and children new protection against potentially deadly reactions.
The therapy, manufactured by Aimmune Therapeutics, opens the door to additional remedies that may change how food allergies are treated and give millions of people the chance to enjoy experiences like plane travel and meals at a restaurant without worrying about dangerous inadvertent exposure or cross-contamination. Aimmune is working on additional food allergy treatments as well, offering hope to individuals who suffer from a range of severe allergies.
This new development is an example of the manufacturing industry’s capacity for innovation, and a reminder of the importance of research and development. Currently, pharmaceutical manufacturers in the United States spend more on research and development than any other industry. With approximately 1,100 facilities in the United States, pharmaceutical manufacturers are leading a period of significant medical breakthrough.
“As the employers of nearly 13 million Americans, manufacturers care deeply about lowering the cost of health care—and as the innovators behind many revolutionary medicines, manufacturers are also committed to delivering lifesaving and life-changing cures for people in this country and around the world,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. “In order to continue that work, we need policymakers to take an approach to drug pricing that protects our ability to provide quality health care and spur innovation, not squash it.”
Some approaches to lowering drug prices, such as international price indexing, which is a form of price fixing, would have adverse effects by preventing manufacturers from investing in life-saving innovations. These price controls act as a tax on manufacturers, leaving less money for research and development and fewer investments in potential cures for debilitating conditions and illnesses that affect millions of vulnerable people.
Instead, manufacturers urge policymakers to take more constructive solutions that preserve American innovation and quality of care.
“The men and women who keep U.S. manufacturing facilities running go to work every day with one goal: to keep Americans healthy,” said Timmons. “We know that our elected leaders share that goal as well, but good intentions must be paired with good policy.”
Today, the Iowa caucuses will kick off the Democratic presidential primary, beginning the months-long process to decide which candidate will represent the party in November. As is so often the case, the men and women who make things in America are in a position to have their voices heard and play a leading role in determining the outcome—in Iowa and across the country.
Manufacturers account for almost 19% of Iowa’s total economic output, and the 233,000 manufacturing jobs in Iowa make up about 14% of the state’s workforce. Between those manufacturing workers and the tens of thousands more jobs and households supported by manufacturers’ indirect impact on Iowa’s economy, manufacturing voters are poised to play an important role in shaping Iowa’s election-night decision—and manufacturers are positioned to lead on solutions with voters and candidates alike.
“Support for pro-growth policies should span the political spectrum, and for the most part it does,” said Doug Neumann, executive director of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. “During his NAM State of Manufacturing Address, Jay’s message on ‘post-partisanship’ really resonated with the Iowa business community. In my community, we try to lead this way with our elected officials and work with whoever is elected to get things done.”
According to Nicole Crain, executive vice president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, the business community in Iowa wants a candidate who supports manufacturing issues and understands their challenges.
“Business leaders like certainty and the ability to plan investments in their business five, ten years into the future,” said Crain. “As the election gets closer, leaders will be looking for a candidate who understands business, is open to hearing the concerns of employers and considers their positions when proposing policies for the country.”
Trade, immigration and workforce are top of mind for manufacturers.
“Iowa manufacturing voters have a crucial role to play during the caucuses and throughout the 2020 election season,” said Michael O’Brien, NAM assistant vice president of advocacy. “That’s why the NAM will work diligently throughout the year to make sure that manufacturing voters understand the issues and the stakes for manufacturing come Election Day.”
Last week, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons delivered the 2020 State of Manufacturing Address at Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa, highlighting the NAM’s policy agenda and laying out manufacturers’ priorities. Coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the founding of the NAM, the livestreamed Address kicks off a yearlong focus on the association’s contributions to manufacturing and its work to strengthen the industry going forward.
“The story of the past 125 years is one of manufacturers…changing our country for the better, and being the solution,” said Timmons. “That’s our calling for the next 125 years.”
Timmons honed in on Creators Wanted, an unprecedented campaign led by the Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s workforce and education partner, to attract a new generation and change the industry’s perception. This spring, the Creators Wanted Tour is expected to engage more than 250,000 Americans with high-tech manufacturing and reach more than 15 million people online. The tour stops will build momentum for the Making America Festival in Cincinnati in September. Timmons also announced major Creators Wanted sponsorships from Vermeer and neighboring Iowa manufacturer Pella Corporation.
At the event, the NAM released its “Competing to Win” agenda, a detailed roadmap for candidates and elected officials. Representing 12.8 million men and women who make things in America—from small business owners to global companies in every industrial sector—Timmons called for the nation to support leaders who stand for free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
After the Address, Timmons participated in a panel with Vermeer’s President and CEO Jason Andringa, moderated by NAM’s Senior Vice President of Communications and Brand Strategy Erin Streeter. They further emphasized the role business leaders should play in helping unify the nation, the success of manufacturers’ trade agenda and Andringa’s ability to make unprecedented investments in his business due to tax and regulatory reform.
“Manufacturers like us are proud to offer rewarding careers, to support our community and to strengthen our country,” said Andringa. “Like millions of men and women across the United States, we are committed to building a better future—and today, we’re more optimistic than ever about what that future holds.”
At the Council of Manufacturing Associations Winter Leadership Conference last week, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons discussed the industry’s extraordinary achievements during uncertain economic and political times and the need for continued strong industry leadership in 2020.
In his remarks, Timmons described how 2019 was defined by major manufacturing achievements, including many that were considered unlikely.
Before @NAMCMA leaders last week, I discussed how 2019 brought very promising trade developments–not just USMCA, but also a 7-year reauthorization of the @ExImBankUS and a deal with China that includes transformative intellectual property protections. pic.twitter.com/HLtJNeFiIX
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) January 13, 2020
Timmons also made the case that, while not all of the manufacturing industry’s victories were widely covered in mass media, they were numerous and necessary.
Manufacturers also racked up victories that didn’t make constant 2019 headlines–from new @SEC_News rules, to @EPA regulatory certainty, to the repeal of onerous taxes on health care. pic.twitter.com/G5M5P9g2vQ
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) January 13, 2020
Timmons made note of the ongoing 2020 election and cast the manufacturing industry as a leader in complicated political environments. In the midst of the escalating campaign, Timmons laid out manufacturers’ vital role.
The politics of the 2020 election will strain our nation. Our institutions will be challenged. Our country needs a unifying force. Manufacturers must speak and act in ways that bridge differences and forge consensus. pic.twitter.com/4fpiucYP1N
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) January 13, 2020
As manufacturers look to the future, Timmons discussed the need for new skilled workers and an engaged workforce that can help drive modern manufacturing and promote America’s manufacturing strength. He spoke about the Creators Wanted campaign—a unique and unprecedented effort from the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute to inspire a new generation to pursue careers in the industry.
.@TheMFGInstitute’s and @ShopfloorNAM’s #CreatorsWanted campaign is not only part of our workforce strategy, but also the foundation on which the industry will build the future. Now is our chance to transform perceptions and inspire a new generation. pic.twitter.com/I9UYCJusVn
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) January 13, 2020
Timmons closed by stating that manufacturers’ leadership will determine not only the achievements of this coming year, but also what the United States looks like and represents for years to come—and he called on manufacturing leaders to seize that opportunity.
Manufacturers must embrace this new decade. Lead boldly. Affirm our values. Be a force for unity. Engage our people. And keep our sights focused firmly on the future.
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) January 13, 2020
Aric Newhouse is the senior vice president of policy and government relations at the National Association of Manufacturers. Here he breaks down manufacturers’ biggest policy victories in 2019 and what is ahead for 2020.
Manufacturers saw many big achievements in the final weeks of 2019. What is the impact of these and was it a surprise?
The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement with a strong bipartisan vote of 385-41. The trade agreement still needs to be approved by the Republican-led Senate. This was a major accomplishment, especially considering that about two years ago many thought that the U.S. was on the verge of withdrawing from NAFTA and the entire North American trading relationship, which support 2 million manufacturing jobs, was at risk of crumbling.
On top of the USMCA, the Trump administration reached a “phase one” trade deal with China. This is another achievement many thought would be impossible. But now we have real, enforceable intellectual property protections in place in China and a foundation for a “phase two” deal.
Right before Congress left for the holidays, they passed a year-end government funding bill, which included a seven-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank and the repeal of the medical device tax, “Cadillac” tax and health insurance tax. Some of those taxes were poised to hit hard in 2020, so this comes as a big relief for manufacturers.
And was all this a surprise? I am sure it surprised many people that all of this got done in the middle of a contentious political moment. However, the NAM has spent a long time, in some cases years, laying the groundwork to make these wins possible, so we had some confidence that the agenda of manufacturers and their workers would win the day.
There was a time when USMCA passage was in doubt. How did you win over lawmakers?
The NAM, in close coordination with our members and with their incredible support and work, made clear to policymakers that the USMCA was not about politics but was about our growth, our exports and our people. Successfully doing so turned the discussion around the deal from skepticism to support and was critical to its passage. Granted, we did not get everything we wanted, but we achieved our number one goal: protecting our biggest trading relationship with a modernized trade agreement.
What is ahead for 2020?
Number one, we will get the USMCA passed in the Senate. We will provide support for a “phase two” trade deal with China that further levels the playing field, provides enforceable rules and secures relief from costly tariffs. And we will continue our advocacy on manufacturers’ other top priorities, including infrastructure investment, immigration and health care reform. We want to see more regulatory certainty from the federal agencies so that manufacturers can continue investing confidently in the future.