You’ve heard it before, but I’m urging you again: Make it a point to talk to Congress during the August recess.
It may be called “recess” on Capitol Hill, but federal lawmakers are ready to work and willing to listen. And they are coming to a town hall near you. This is your opportunity to speak up!
The message is simple: Get to work on creating jobs and generating economic growth by implementing policy which strengthens American manufacturing.
There isn’t much time left in this legislative session, but there are a few concrete steps that Congress can take to give manufacturers a shot in the arm and set the stage for more aggressive action next year.
- Pass retroactive extensions of 50% bonus depreciation, Sec. 179 “small business” expensing and the R&D tax credit – We can argue later about whether these tax provisions, which expired last year, should be made permanent or temporarily extended. Right now, we need the increased competitiveness and innovation that these tax provisions buy. It comes with investment in new equipment, modernized facilities and expanded R&D. That shouldn’t have to wait until after the elections.
- Reauthorize the Export-Import Bank – Most of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and our overseas competitors have a multitude of government resources at their disposal to help them find and enter new markets. Here in the U.S., businesses have few tools that help level the playing field for them to compete in the international marketplace. Ex-Im Bank is one of them and doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime. In fact, the Ex-Im Bank sent more than $1 billion to the U.S. Treasury last year. That’s a win for industry and taxpayers.
- Approve appropriations for Commerce Department programs important to manufacturers – To date, none of the 12 appropriations bills have been approved by Congress, but a number of important federal manufacturing programs are funded under just one of them: the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriation. Insist that your legislators not punt the ball on this one. While it is imperative that ineffective and inefficient programs be streamlined, better coordinated and, at times, eliminated; increased investment in proven programs is also a necessity if we are to outpace the rest of the world.
- Pass the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act – The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation is a concept that has captured the interest and enthusiasm of industry, academia and government stakeholders. This bill sets up a framework for additional institutes and requires the implementation of an advanced manufacturing strategy. A key committee approved the House bill, and a vote is expected on the floor after recess. Press for that vote.
These proposals have strong bipartisan support. They also have vocal detractors. Your voice needs to be just as loud but clearer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your elected officials and demand answers.
I am encouraging you one more time. Talk to your members of Congress during the month of August. It will be one of the best things you did this summer vacation!
Find where to contact your members of Congress at www.amtonline.org/advocacy. Follow me on Twitter at @athomas62. Read my latest ONgovernment column in AMT News : “Demand More, Don’t Settle for Less this August Recess.”