Tax

Tax reform means money can go where it’s needed most: empowering manufacturing workers to invest in the community, support their families, grow the economy, create more secure jobs, increase wages and make manufacturing in the U.S. more competitive.

Policy and Legal

NAM Urges Passage of New MTB Bill

The House should move quickly to pass the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Reform Act, legislation on which the NAM has led advocacy efforts.

What’s going on: On Tuesday, House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Adrian Smith (R-NE) introduced the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Reform Act, which seeks to renew the MTB—a manufacturing-critical law that temporarily removes or reduces tariffs on products not available in the U.S.—as soon as possible.

  • The NAM, which has long urged Congress to take up the issue, lauded the legislation and called for its swift passage.
  • “Historically, the MTB has always had bipartisan support, and we thank House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Adrian Smith for his leadership and efforts to introduce MTB legislation,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Policy Chris Netram in a statement cited by Chairman Smith’s office. “We urge the House to act quickly so that we can get one step closer to getting this critical legislation to President Biden’s desk.”
  • The last MTB expired in December 2020.

Why it’s important: In the nearly three years that they have been operating without an MTB, manufacturers and other businesses in the U.S. have paid more than $1.3 million a day to get inputs they cannot find in the U.S., according to an NAM analysis.

  • Passing the MTB through 2026, on the other hand, and reauthorizing passage of future MTB cycles will boost U.S. competitiveness.
  • Tariff relief under the previous MTB increased U.S. gross domestic product by up to $3.3 billion every year, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Policy and Legal

NAM: Manufacturers Need a Better Section 301 Exclusion Process

To thrive, create jobs and produce the essential goods the U.S. and our trading partners use every day, the manufacturing sector needs a fair, transparent Section 301 tariff exclusion process, the NAM said Tuesday.

  • However, the tariff increases announced this week by the Biden administration could make it much more difficult for manufacturers to produce those critical items.

What’s going on: As part of the U.S. Trade Representative Office’s final Section 301 tariffs review—which the NAM had long urged the office to complete—President Biden said his administration plans to raise “tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles to roughly 100% … increas[e] a key tariff rate on steel and aluminum products to 25% from 7.5%,” raise the solar-cell tariff to 50% from 25% and create a new 25% duty on shipping cranes, according to Reuters (subscription).

  • Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 authorizes the U.S. to act against foreign trade practices it believes violate agreements. The NAM has been pushing for a finalized report with a fair, transparent Section 301 tariff exclusion process that will both reduce the burden on manufacturers and keep pressure on China to adhere to fair practices.
  • The process would allow manufacturers to ask for tariff exclusions for specific products they need.
  • “The NAM has long advocated for a full global strategy and a rules-based trading system that benefit manufacturers and workers by opening new markets with our allies,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said.

Why it’s important: Far from freeing the U.S. of “unacceptable risks” stemming from unfair Chinese trade practices, in the absence of a new exclusion process, these tariff increases could limit the ability of manufacturers in the U.S. to obtain needed supplies for goods production.

  • This, in turn, could jeopardize U.S. jobs and competitiveness.
  • “Manufacturers are concerned about the potential impact this broad swath of tariffs could have on our ability to produce the essential products needed to drive our economy forward, especially if critical inputs become less available and more costly,” said Timmons.

The background: The USTR is legally required to review Section 301 tariffs four years after they are initiated. This most recent review—started in May 2022—is overdue.

  • The exclusion process the NAM has long requested allows manufacturers to ask for tariff exclusions for specific products they need.

What should be done: “Manufacturers urge the administration to negotiate new trade agreements with allies and partners around the world and create a new, comprehensive and transparent 301 exclusion process to ensure that manufacturing in America is not being disadvantaged by our own government,” Timmons concluded.

Press Releases

Restoring MTB Will Strengthen Manufacturing

For More Than Three Years, Manufacturers Have Been Paying Millions of Dollars in Higher Prices for Critical Inputs

Washington, D.C. – Following the introduction of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Reform Act, National Association of Manufacturers Managing Vice President of Policy Chris Netram released the following statement:

“For more than three years, manufacturers—particularly small and medium-sized manufacturers—have been paying millions of dollars in higher prices for critical inputs due to the expiration of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill. This legislation is a significant step forward for manufacturers, which are losing more than $1.3 million every day on products not available in the U.S.—more than $1.5 billion overall.

“Restoring the MTB would strengthen manufacturing here at home, giving our sector the ability to source raw materials and components that can’t be produced domestically at scale or at competitive prices.

“Historically, the MTB has always had bipartisan support, and we thank House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Adrian Smith for his leadership and efforts to introduce MTB legislation. We urge the House to act quickly so that we can get one step closer to getting this critical legislation to President Biden’s desk.”

-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 nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.89 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% 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 Call for Comprehensive, Transparent Section 301 Exclusion Process

Administration Must Pursue a Global Strategy To Open New Markets with Allies

Washington, D.C. – Following the Biden administration’s announcement of new 301 tariffs targeting Chinese products in sectors including electric vehicles, solar equipment, semiconductors, batteries, medical equipment and critical minerals, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“Manufacturers are concerned about the potential impact this broad swath of tariffs could have on our ability to produce the essential products needed to drive our economy forward, especially if critical inputs become less available and more costly.

“The NAM has long advocated for a full global strategy and a rules-based trading system that benefit manufacturers and workers by opening new markets with our allies. But when countries play by their own rules and create distortions, the U.S. should consider the use of all legislative and enforcement tools.

“The expansion of manufacturers’ global reach through a more open and more fair global trading environment has been pivotal to expanding U.S. industrial production to record levels, enabling businesses of all sizes to raise wages and create more high-skilled U.S. jobs. That is why manufacturers urge the administration to negotiate new trade agreements with allies and partners around the world and create a new, comprehensive and transparent 301 exclusion process to ensure that manufacturing in America is not being disadvantaged by our own government.

“Politicians and policymakers on both sides of the aisle need to understand that we can’t instantly reshape supply chains that took decades to build—especially the supply chains that bring us vital inputs and components essential to our everyday lives.

“Additionally, to fully unleash the power of manufacturing in the United States, policymakers must also ensure that America maintains a competitive tax and regulatory regime that allows manufacturers to ramp up domestic investment; streamline the permitting process so that new facilities and energy and infrastructure projects will not be held up by red tape; grow the manufacturing workforce; and protect innovation. Together, these policies will help manufacturers create jobs, grow wages and expand exports to the 95% of customers who reside outside of our border.”

-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 nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.89 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% 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 Commend House Ways and Means Committee’s Efforts Toward Comprehensive PBM Reform

Bill Would Protect Seniors and Set the Stage for Broader Reforms

Washington, D.C. – Following the House Ways and Means Committee’s unanimous approval of legislation to reform pharmacy benefit managers—middlemen who unfairly increase the prices that patients pay at the pharmacy counter by controlling negotiations between insurers and biopharmaceutical manufacturers—in Medicare markets, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“The NAM commends the Ways and Means Committee for unanimously taking a powerful step toward reforming the PBM system and lowering the cost of health care for all Americans.

“When Americans face soaring prices for medicines or treatments, there’s a good chance that is because a PBM has driven up the price. These middlemen operate with minimal transparency, and their practices distort the market, increasing the list prices patients pay for medicines while making it more difficult for manufacturers to offer quality, affordable health care benefits.

“By increasing transparency into PBMs’ business models and delinking their compensation from a medicine’s list price, these critical PBM provisions will significantly reduce costs for seniors who rely on Medicare for health care coverage. Congress should advance these important reforms.

“In addition, manufacturers encourage Congress to enact similar reforms in the commercial insurance market to bring down health care costs for manufacturing workers participating in employer-sponsored plans.”

-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 nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.89 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% 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

Manufacturers Participate in Small Business Week Capitol Hill Showcase

a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie

Manufacturers were among the select businesses invited to participate in last Wednesday’s Small Business Week showcase on Capitol Hill, and two in particular—Marlin Steel in Baltimore and its affiliated entity, Madsen Steel Wire Products, in Michigan and Indiana—made use of the time with lawmakers to advocate for some manufacturing-critical priorities.

What’s going on: Republicans on the House Small Business Committee hosted the event to shine a spotlight on the work of job creators throughout the country and draw attention to the federal government’s costly regulatory onslaught (Washington Examiner).

  • Marlin Steel and Madsen Steel President and Owner and NAM board member Drew Greenblatt manned a booth with his family at the showcase displaying several products—such as metal baskets and racks—manufactured at his family-owned custom wire and steel products businesses.
  • Greenblatt and others invited to the event had the opportunity to meet and speak with House Republican leaders, including Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), Small Business Committee Chairman Roger Williams (R-TX) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI).

The background: Marlin Steel, Madsen Steel and many other manufacturers thrived under a pro-growth tax provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that allowed businesses to deduct 100% of their R&D costs in the year the costs were incurred.

  • But in 2022 and 2023, that policy and two others—enhanced interest deductibility and 100% accelerated depreciation—expired.
  • Ever since, manufacturers’ tax bills have increased, as companies, including Marlin Steel, have been required to amortize their R&D costs over five years, making innovation-crucial investments much more costly.
  • “We want to grow jobs in our Indiana and Michigan factories, but we also need to give our talent the extraordinary tools needed to compete with China,” Greenblatt said. “We need immediate expensing to cover these huge investments. We put in $5 million but now have to pause investment. We need Congress and the president to act to allow us to hire more factory workers faster.” 

Why it’s important: The showcase gave Greenblatt an opportunity to hammer home to lawmakers the importance to manufacturing of reinstating the expired tax provisions—and the need to act quickly to ensure that an additional suite of pro-growth tax measures, set to expire at the end of 2025, is extended.

  • Another issue top of mind for Greenblatt and manufacturers everywhere is the flurry of regulations being handed down by federal agencies.
  • In 2022, the cost of federal regulations to manufacturers was approximately $350 billion, a 35% increase from a decade earlier, according to an NAM study.
  • Small manufacturers spend more than $50,000 per employee per year to comply with federal regulations. 

Stop the struggle: “As a small business owner myself, I know all too well the many struggles small businesses face when trying to compete in the marketplace,” Chairman Williams said. “It is my hope that this … showcase serve[s] as an opportunity for more to learn about how invaluable Main Street is to our economy and our country.”

Related: Last week, the NAM unveiled videos on social media from other leading small and medium-sized manufacturers, adding their voices to key competitiveness priorities, featuring NAM board members Patricia Miller, CEO and founder of M4 Factory, Charles Sukup, chairman and treasurer, Sukup Manufacturing Co., and Nicole Wolter, president and CEO, HM Manufacturing.

Policy and Legal

House Committee Forms Working Groups to Revive Tax Provisions

Following a steady drumbeat of advocacy by the NAM, the House Committee on Ways and Means has formed tax working groups dedicated to finding legislative solutions to the scheduled expiration of pro-growth tax policies at the end of 2025.

What’s going on: Each of the 10 working groups will focus on an area of the economy that will be affected by the sunsetting of certain measures in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

  • Ways and Means Committee Vice Chairman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) was selected to lead the American Manufacturing tax working group.
  • The members of Congress assigned to this team will examine the effects of pro-growth tax policies on the manufacturing sector.

Why it’s important: “Tax reform was rocket fuel for manufacturers: 2018, the first year the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was in effect, was the best year for manufacturing job creation in the previous 21 years,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Policy Chris Netram. “But those gains are at risk as key tax provisions expire, making it more difficult for companies throughout the supply chain to hire, invest and grow. Congress must build on the promise of tax reform to ensure that manufacturing in America remains strong.”

  • Earlier this month, Husco President and CEO and NAM Executive Committee member Austin Ramirez testified before the House Ways and Means Committee about the TCJA’s positive effect on manufacturing growth and the need for Congress to preserve the pro-growth business provisions of that legislation.
  • Their expiration “mean[s] that pass-through businesses like Husco will have more of our income subject to a higher rate of tax,” Ramirez said. “At the same time, the pass-through deduction will expire completely, doubling down on the tax hikes that we face. … [A]llowing tax reform to sunset will undermine much of the progress we’ve made since 2017.”

What we’re doing: The NAM will be engaging with each of the tax working groups over the next several months to ensure that manufacturing-critical tax provisions are extended and reinstated.

  • To get involved, reach out to NAM Senior Director of Tax Policy Alex Monié.
Press Releases

EPA’s Power Plant Rule Is Unachievable Without Substantial Permitting Reform

America’s Energy Security Is Threatened

Washington, D.C. – Following the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions standards for certain power plants, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“Manufacturers appreciate the EPA removing existing gas plants from its new regulation, following manufacturers’ warnings about the initial proposal. However, the rest of the rule causes serious concern because Congress and the president have not enacted permitting reform—making it impossible to achieve the EPA’s highly aspirational mandates. We call on Congress to get serious by enacting significant and meaningful permitting reform this year. That is essential to ramping up the use of renewables, carbon capture, hydrogen and nuclear, for example, to meet future demand.

“The final rule threatens grid reliability because of the unrealistic timeline for power plants to adopt technologies within the next 10 years that have yet to even be proven at scale. Our nation should be doing everything possible to make sure our families, businesses and manufacturers have a modern, strong and reliable electrical grid, especially at a time when global turmoil threatens our energy security. This new rule does the opposite, creating a threat to our national and economic security that literally could leave Americans in the dark and factories offline. In short, the EPA is rolling the dice with Americans’ electricity and therefore with President Biden’s manufacturing legacy.

“Our industry has made transformational investments in these technologies and clean energy solutions, and we are leading the way in their deployment. The EPA should be partnering with us—not undermining this progress. We will continue to press the administration to achieve a more balanced regulatory framework to help reach our climate goals.”

-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 nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.89 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% 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

Noncompete Ban Would Disrupt Manufacturing in the U.S.

The Federal Trade Commission’s vote this week to prohibit noncompete agreements between employers and their employees threatens manufacturing in the U.S., the NAM said Tuesday.

What’s going on: In a 3–2 vote Tuesday, commissioners finalized a rule that, like a draft version circulated last year, “would deem practically any noncompete clauses for paid staff, independent contractors and unpaid workers to be an unfair method of competition rendered unenforceable, and [would require] employers to tell current and former employees they’ve stopped enforcing them” (Law360, subscription).

  • The final rule is set to go into effect 120 days after it is published in the Federal Register, but lawsuits have been filed against it already, and additional legal action is expected.

What’s changed: One change made to the final rule following the receipt of more than 26,000 comments on it allows existing noncompete agreements with senior-level executives to remain in effect.

  • Another difference between the rule’s prior iteration and the final is to the ban’s sole exception. The draft “permitted noncompetes for individuals selling their business or a substantial stake of at least 25%.” That threshold is not in the final version.

Why it’s problematic: The rule “is unprecedented and threatens manufacturers’ ability to attract and retain talent,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Policy Chris Netram.

  • “In addition, [it] puts at risk the security of intellectual property and trade secrets—anathema to an industry that accounts for 53% of all private-sector R&D.”
  • A noncompete ban would disrupt the majority of U.S. manufacturing operations, a 2023 NAM survey found.

What’s next: The NAM is considering all options in response to the final rule and is in active discussion with congressional leadership and the relevant committees of jurisdiction.

Policy and Legal

Proposed “Right-to-Repair” Exemptions Would Hurt Manufacturers, Consumers

The NAM testified before the U.S. Copyright Office last week, explaining how two proposed exemptions from copyright protections would weaken manufacturers’ intellectual property rights, do significant harm to their businesses and potentially endanger consumers.

What’s going on: The Copyright Office is considering whether to recommend two exemptions from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that would allow users to circumvent measures protecting copyrighted content.

  • One proposal was designed to allow the so-called “right-to-repair” by enabling access to operational data (including diagnostic and telematics data) from automobiles, agricultural vehicles, marine vessels and more. The other is focused on industrial equipment.

NAM speaks out: “The basis of the so-called ‘right-to-repair’ movement hinges on the false notion that owners do not have the ability to repair their own equipment,” NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain said at the recent hearing. “The truth, however, is that the majority of [original equipment manufacturers] already provide a wide range of resources and tools that allow users—and third-party repair businesses—to maintain, diagnose and repair products.”

  • The NAM previously submitted comments urging the Copyright Office not to adopt the proposed exemptions.

Why it’s important: “These exemptions would undermine manufacturers’ IP rights in service of right-to-repair—and the record does not support their adoption,” Crain continued.

  • The exemptions are too broad and inadequately defined, and their proponents have “failed to show that users will be adversely affected absent the ability to circumvent [copyright law].”
  • What’s more, the exemptions “would expose proprietary information to public consumption and use, likely endangering consumers and allowing for unlawful modifications of government-mandated safety and emissions limits.”

The last word: “In short, right-to-repair is a solution in search of a problem,” Crain said.

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