WASHINGTON, D.C. – BCA member Altec Inc. Chairman and CEO Lee Styslinger III, and other members of the Business Roundtable, met with President Trump on Thursday and emerged confident in the direction the economy is headed after eight years of turmoil and disruption.
Styslinger appeared on Fox Business and said he is positive in what is happening with the administration for American business and, most importantly, the American people.
“He focused on jobs,” Styslinger said. “The enthusiasm and outreach is unprecedented. There’s more outreach in the first 30 days than the last eight years.”
The Roundtable preceded its meeting with a letter to the president that listed top regulations of concern and how to minimize their impact.
Business Roundtable CEOs have consistently identified overly complex and burdensome federal regulations as harmful to job creation, job retention and increased economic opportunity for American workers and their families, the CEOs said.
Styslinger said lower business taxes will help American competitiveness globally.
“Lower is better to free capital investment in America,” he said. “It’s about growing jobs.”
REP. ROBY HAS IMPORTANT COMMITTEE ROLE
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, has joined the House Judiciary Committee. “I am pleased to welcome Martha Roby to the House Judiciary Committee for the 115th Congress,” Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said. “As an attorney, Congressman Roby will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Committee.”
Rep. Roby told Business Council of Alabama board of directors’ members this week that it’s an honor to be chosen to serve. She said on her web page that she will use the position of influence to help ensure that the rule of law is followed.
“A top priority for our unified Republican government must be reestablishing Constitutional order and the rule of law in this country,” Rep. Roby said. “Serving on the Judiciary Committee gives me the opportunity to contribute to this important work and to be a stronger voice on behalf of my district and my state.”
Rep. Roby also serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee, Rep. Roby will be responsible for overseeing appropriations to military bases in Alabama and elsewhere.
THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS TODAY
Manufacturers and the 56 million Americans who work for them seek repeal of onerous regulations that hold back the U.S. manufacturing sector and a return to a time when rules help our communities thrive instead of making life harder for job creators, workers and their families.
The National Association of Manufacturers’ pro-growth agenda for 2017 advances priorities and policies that will allow our industry to thrive and create jobs: a corporate tax rate of 25 percent or less; a robust capital cost-recovery system; permanent lower rates for small businesses; a strong research and development (R&D) incentive; and, a modern territorial international tax system.
The NAM’s complete tax policy agenda can be read in full here.
Meanwhile, NAM’s “Rethink Red Tape” is a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals who believe the federal government’s regulatory process must be reformed so important goals like public health, environmental protection, and consumer safety are better balanced with the need to encourage more entrepreneurship and economic growth.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plans a tax overhaul by August and seeks to spur economic growth at 3 percent or more. Secretary Mnuchin said slower economic growth since 2009 has primarily been an anomaly and a result of Obama administration policies that can be reversed.
The U.S. faces slower economic growth in part because the labor force is expanding less briskly than in the past as baby boomers retire, the Journal said, but a strong reversal of weak productivity growth or an upturn in labor force growth could send output growth higher. The Trump administration is betting tax and regulatory reform could spark such changes. (The Business Council of Alabama is the exclusive representative of the NAM in Alabama.)
TRUMP AND EXPORT-IMPORT BANK
Since receiving long-term reauthorization in December 2015, the U.S. Export-Import Bank still lacks a quorum of its board of directors. That leaves the agency unable to review and approve transactions of more than $10 million. All five board seats are currently open and will need to be confirmed by the Senate, the National Association of Manufacturers said.
The NAM is encouraging President Trump to emphasize job growth in the United States by taking action to support proven job creators like the thousands of manufacturers of all sizes across the country that turn to the Ex-Im Bank for financing and insurance when the private sector cannot provide comparable tools.
“Manufacturers continue to advocate strongly for a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank, and we will also be urging members of the Senate Banking Committee to move quickly on consideration of nominees,” the NAM said in a statement. “If the Bank’s activities continue to be limited without a Board quorum to approve certain transactions, U.S. exporters will lose access to this crucial ‘lender of last resort’.”
The NAM urges action as soon as the President announces his Ex-Im Bank Board nominations in order to swiftly move them to a floor vote. For more information, please visit www.exportersforexim.org.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
New EPA Head Promises Reversals of Regulatory Overreach
Washington Post (Dennis, Mooney 2/21) “In his first full work day as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt made clear Monday that he intends to step back from what he sees as the agency’s regulatory overreach during the Obama administration. Pruitt, who spent years criticizing and suing the EPA before becoming its newest leader, reiterated an argument he often had made as Oklahoma attorney general.
“‘The only authority that any agency has in the executive branch is the authority given to it by Congress,” he said during a noon address to employees at the agency headquarters. “We need to respect that. We need to follow that. Because when we do that, guess what happens? We avoid litigation. We avoid the uncertainty of litigation and we reach better ends and outcomes at the end of the day’.
“Pruitt also said that there shouldn’t be a contradiction between environmental protection and energy production or job creation, a line also often emphasized by President George W. Bush’s administration. He has been a leading proponent of the notion that the EPA too often overstepped its legal authority, going beyond the language of the statutes passed by Congress to take aggressive regulatory action. In addition, Pruitt has argued that the agency often infringed on the rights of states to regulate within their own borders.”
(Editor’s Note: Pruitt told EPA employees that he’s ending the Obama administration’s practice of “sue and settle.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called “sue and settle” regulating behind closed doors. “Sue and settle” involves activist groups suing, primarily the EPA, and a compliant federal agency negotiating behind closed doors with little or no public input, and then settling. “Sue and settle” drives policy decisions instead of going through Congress. Since 2009, the Obama administration settled 137 new Clean Air Act regulations, many of them sweeping and economically devastating that profoundly affect states that are left to bear the brunt of EPA’s environmental mandates, the U.S. Chamber said.)
NAM Issues Statement Congratulating Pruitt to Head EPA
National Association of Manufacturers (Drogus 2/17) “President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement congratulating Scott Pruitt on his confirmation as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator: ‘After facing record high costs to comply with EPA regulations over the past decade, manufacturers welcomed today’s Senate confirmation of Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA. We are confident that under his leadership, Pruitt will restore balance to the way environmental regulations are developed. Manufacturers look forward to him getting to work right away’.
“‘Manufacturers know it’s possible to have responsible environmental stewardship and robust economic growth at the same time. We are leaders on sustainability and developing emissions-reducing innovations, and as we look to find solutions to the environmental challenges we face, manufacturers will continue to lead the way’.”
Guest Opinion: Washington Must Reduce Policy Uncertainty for Small Businesses
The Hill (Veuger 2/23) “The U.S. economy is still on its way back from the 2008 financial crisis. While conventional measures such as real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita have surpassed their pre-crisis peak, a number of weaknesses remains. Some of these are plausibly the result of the long and deep recession the country went through: think of the number of long-term unemployed workers, which is still significantly above its pre-crisis level.
“Reducing policy uncertainty is, if anything, of even more importance to small businesses. As a consequence, small-business owners are likely to be more vulnerable to the risk induced by uncertain business environments.
“A number of the initiatives of the new Congress will be helpful in creating more certainty about the business environment. The Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act requires more careful consideration before new rules and regulations and demands that their impact on small business be considered. The new administration, and Congress, should strive to avoid generating unnecessary uncertainty, and focus first on not doing harm.”
(Veuger, Ph.D., is an economist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He recently testified on the small business economy before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Small Business.)