10/29/2012Advisor Newsletters - AEM Advisor
In a few days, voters across the United States will elect a president for the next four years as well as elect congressional leaders. We are all aware of the increasing impact, both good and bad, and often times the intrusion of Washington on how we do business. For equipment manufacturing, it’s important to continue to raise our voice for pro-manufacturing policies and policies that also help our industry channel partners and customers remain strong.
AEM continues to step forward to “make noise” and we encourage all of you as our members to keep your level of action and engagement high in your communities, states and the nation’s capital. This includes helping employees know what topics and issues are important for your businesses.
AEM has assembled voting records online so you and your fellow employees can look up your legislators and their votes on issues important to manufacturing. We should all be informed, and we should all vote!
As we all prepare to cast our ballots, here is a summary of some key issue areas that we hope jobs-conscious voters weigh seriously as they prepare to enter the polling booth. They make a difference for manufacturing, and our ability to contribute positively to economic strength and thus quality of life.
Surface Transportation Legislation – Two Years Goes Fast
Yes, our industry achieved passage of a two-year surface transportation bill this year, and AEM action as an association and through coalitions was instrumental in the fight. The two years of market certainty was definitely needed, but we must look ahead to the next legislative battle for transportation funding.
This year’s MAP-21 expires in October 2014 just as we hit another round of congressional elections. AEM and its I Make America campaign are already gearing up to emphasize the need for updated, upgraded and renewed infrastructure. We will offer actionable ways to achieve a more effective infrastructure solution – the long-term strategic vision and a well-structured, sustainable funding mechanism that is needed to make a lasting difference for our industry and the country.
Farm Bill – Safety Net for Our Customers
AEM significantly stepped up its agriculture advocacy this year to raise awareness of the importance of production agriculture to our economy. We focused on the need to pass a Farm Bill with an adequate safety net. And this year’s drought revealed this net is more important than ever to keep U.S. farmers and ranchers in business. We released a study in connection with our advocacy efforts that showed voters the scope of agriculture – that some 250,000 U.S. jobs are generated across the country directly and indirectly by the agriculture sector.
Despite industry efforts, Congress wavered at the end and could not come together to pass a Farm Bill. We will expand our efforts through I Make America and coalitions such as Farm Bill Now to make passage of a balanced agreement with a robust safety net a reality. The Farm Bill safety net is something to think about when voting.
Energy – Focus on Keystone Pipeline, Biofuels
Energy is certainly an issue to consider as we head to our polling stations. AEM will continue its work towards approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would create thousands of construction jobs and provide more energy security, both helping to strengthen economic growth. This year, action included working through the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA). The coalition urged in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the prompt approval of the Presidential Permit necessary for proposed reroute of the Keystone XL oil pipeline through Nebraska. The letter noted swift approval would create more than 18,000 high-wage jobs in construction and manufacturing while providing a stable supply of North American energy to consumers in the U.S.
AEM filed comments with EPA in defense of an important driver of agricultural equipment demand, urging the agency to deny requests to waive mandates that require use of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In defense of the RFS, AEM noted the waiver requests would do little to lower prices of corn and animal feeds, while hampering growth of the biofuels industry. The association will continue to work with industry partners to push for the full utilization of biofuels.
GPS - Defending Technology Advances in Equipment Operation
Positions taken on technology by elected officials make a difference. In the past two years we were reminded that the industry must remain vigilant in defending important technological advances against ill-advised government intrusion. AEM was instrumental in the industry victory that prevented the FCC’s conditional waiver approval of a private company’s plan to operate a broadband spectrum immediately adjacent to the GPS-Global Positioning System. AEM through the Coalition to Save Our GPS demonstrated the significant adverse effects on efficiency and safety that the company’s plan would have for the agricultural and construction sectors.
NLRB Ambush Elections – Helping Ensure Fairness for Employers and Employees
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has become an increasingly bigger issue for manufacturers. AEM works through the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, and this year the coalition was successful in its court suit to block – for now – a NLRB so-called ambush-election rule. The NLRB has been trying to collapse to 14 days the time between when a union petition is filed and when the election is held; this is not a fair amount of time for employers, and employees, to respond to the possibility of unionization. AEM continues to be vigilant regarding NLRB action.
Exports Create U.S. Jobs – Action Includes Ex-Im Bank, Russian PNTR
Support for policies that help U.S. manufacturers expand global trade to stay in business is another election issue. AEM scored success with Export-Import Bank reauthorization this year, helping ensure small and medium-size businesses have access to funds to spur export trade.
Ex-Im Bank’s lending regulations stipulate that the vast majority of bank transactions must go to smaller businesses (and 87 percent have). Ex-Im Bank supports hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs by providing export credit and insurance to more than 3,000 mainly smaller American companies. Here too we will remain vigilant; Ex-Im Bank’s two-year charter will be reconsidered by Congress before the congressional elections in 2014.
The critical issue of an overly burdensome regulatory framework that could stifle the economy is also an election issue. Manufacturers are concerned about the serious effect of heavy-handed regulations on their ability to operate effectively, which would further hamper job creation and economic growth. AEM continues to work with regulatory agencies including OSHA, MSHA and EPA to help ensure manufacturers have input to the regulatory process and that their concerns are heard. Key areas include emissions, Conflict Minerals, and regulations that hinder or prevent energy development.
In summary, what happens at the polls in a few days will affect our companies, communities and country in the years ahead. We all need to get out and vote and make a difference.
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