A made in Alabama bucket truck made by Business Council of Alabama member Altec was displayed at the White House this week and inspected by President Donald Trump. On Monday, Trump declared this week “Made in America” week as products from all 50 states were showcased as part of “Made in America” day at the White House.
The bucket truck assembled by Altec Industries, based in Birmingham, is an example of products for Altec customers that include utilities, telecommunications firms, and other businesses.
Altec CEO Lee Styslinger III is an advisor to President Trump on a commission on American manufacturing. In February, Styslinger participated in a White House session with manufacturing CEOs to discuss issues including job creation, tax reform, and the economic impact of immigration and trade policy.
Manufacturing is the No. 1 employment sector in Alabama, employing more than 260,000 men and women. The state’s 2015 manufacturing output equaled about $35.1 billion, or around 17 percent of Alabama’s Gross Domestic Product, Yellowhammer News reported.
AN OPEN LETTER TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue has written an open letter to Congress and to its candidates about support in the upcoming election cycle, noting that the chamber endorsed 240 candidates in the last cycle.
Donohue said the Chamber will soon launch a multi-faceted effort in support of comprehensive tax reform and in a year, the Chamber will evaluate candidates based on their support of the free enterprise system and their willingness to govern, as demonstrated by what role they played in helping enact the first major tax reform in 30 years.
“Members of Congress be warned: Failure is not an option,” he said.
“For nearly 40 years the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed candidates for Congress based on their commitment to the free enterprise system, which we were founded to defend a century ago,” Donohue wrote.
Donohue said with 25 percent of this congressional term in the books, “we are not yet where we need to be on key issues like health care, tax reform, and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. Promises were made; promises must be kept.”
Donohue said Congress must turn its attention to and accelerate efforts to enact tax reform, which will grow the economy and create jobs. “It has been 30 years since our tax code was updated and American businesses and workers are suffering as a result,” he said.
Donohue said any viable tax reform plan must spur economic growth? “If it does, we will be for it,” he said. He added that Congress isn’t able to come together, and that’s affecting major agenda items and routine business of governing.
He said Congress is gridlocked in health insurance repeal or reform and other issues. “The time has long since passed to get to “yes” on health care, tax reform, and infrastructure investment,” he said.
WILL SENATE NOW CONCENTRATE ON ACA REPEAL?
After seven years of political posturing against Obamacare and calling for its repeal, Republicans now in control of the Congress and White House haven’t been willing or able to follow through.
The U.S. Senate failed to muster votes to pass its version of the House-passed health insurance bill and now it appears the Senate is scrambling to do something next week with no clear leadership or direction.
The Congressional Budget Office analysis of the updated replacement bill says that 22 million more people would become uninsured over a decade. Reading deeper into the report, the CBO says its estimates are only that, estimates, and it doesn’t mention the fact that 18 million insured lost coverage when their policies were declared illegal by the Obamacare law.
The CBO report also says some of the reduction will happen because fewer people will enroll since the Obamacare penalty for not having insurance would be eliminated. The CBO report says the House bill, which is not much different than the original Senate bill, will reduce direct spending by $1.1 trillion and reduce revenues by $992 billion (i.e., save taxpayers), resulting in a net reduction of $119 billion in the deficit.
“The ways in which individuals, employers, states, insurers, doctors, hospitals, and other affected parties would respond to the changes made by this legislation are all difficult to predict, so the estimates reported here are uncertain,” the CBO said. “The array of market regulations that states could implement makes estimating the outcomes especially uncertain.”
Senators are hurtling towards an ObamaCare repeal vote early next week, even though they currently lack the votes for either option on the table. Leading options are a repeal-only bill or an updated version of the Senate’s repeal and replacement measure, The Hill reported.
GOP leaders are pressuring members to just vote to start debate through what is known as the “motion to proceed,” even if they don’t know what bill they are proceeding to. Leaders are trying to revive their replacement bill, days after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) acknowledged on Monday night that it lacked the votes to pass, The Hill reported.
U.S. CHAMBER CALLS FOR ARBITRATION RULE CHANGE
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its anti-business, anti-arbitration rule last week but a U.S. senator said Republicans in the House and Senate plan to overturn the new rule. The final CFPB rule, based upon a flawed 2015 study conducted by the agency, prohibits companies from utilizing mandatory arbitration clauses, forcing disputes to be subject to class-action lawsuits, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said.
“This path results in less relief for consumers and slower resolution,” the Chamber said, and, in effect, “the CFPB just gave a huge gift to the plaintiffs’ bar, while forcing consumers down a longer and less lucrative path.”
The rule ignores the practical benefits of arbitration, as compared to the court system, for addressing the most common types of cases, the Chamber said.
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., at a Chamber forum, said that Republicans intend to overturn the CFPB arbitration rule before adjourning for the August recess.
“I think we can get this done,” Cotton said. “The clock is starting now.”
U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform President Lisa Rickard and Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness President and CEO David Hirschmann said the rule disregards the will of Congress, the White House, the courts, and the American people and effectively removes the affordable and manageable arbitration option.
“While arbitration is faster and cheaper for consumers, the Bureau chose to release this rule, which will eliminate the option of arbitration for most consumers,” Hirschmann and Rickard said in a statement. “Arbitration has been common practice for decades and provides consumers, employees, and other injured parties with accessible and fair procedures for obtaining redress for claims that cannot be vindicated in court.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Bernie Sanders and Labor Unions Descend on Mississippi – Will Alabama Be Next?
Yellowhammer News (Simmons, Huff 7/19) “The United Auto Workers have recently petitioned for an election to unionize the Nissan plant in neighboring Mississippi, and Alabama is likely next on their list. Alabama’s Governor, Kay Ivey, does not want that to happen. As she told Yellowhammer today, ‘Businesses and employees have a mutually-beneficial relationship. As a right-to-work state, we are putting all workers on an even playing field’.
“Alabama business leaders concur. ‘Alabama is among the least unionized states in the country, and that is a powerful economic development tool. Being a right to work state is a badge of honor. Alabama workers and employers value loyalty, and they take tremendous pride in the quality of their work and have a strong work ethic’, said William Canary, President & CEO of the Business Council of Alabama.
“Failed attempts at unionizing autoworkers include a botched campaign at Volkswagen AG in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This failure led the UAW to abandon its campaign at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama. Recently, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, actor Danny Glover, and the NAACP have thrown their support behind the UAW campaign in Mississippi.
“Another reason this Mississippi vote is so critical is that if unions do you gain a foothold, the automakers will be less likely to expand operations at their existing U.S. locations. Conversely, the absence of unions provides a strong incentive for the automakers to add new lines to existing plants, and build new plants in Alabama.
“Canary agrees, stating: ‘Over the last two decades, many businesses that were located in heavily unionized states have moved their operations here, choosing to locate their facilities in the right-to-work Alabama due to the ability to compete in the global market place’.”
Trump Administration Reveals First Regulatory Agenda
The Hill (Wheeler 7/20) “The Trump administration for the first time is mapping out its plans to cut down on the nation’s regulatory rulebook with the release of its first agenda. The semi-annual Unified Regulatory Agenda published by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Thursday is a policy blueprint of sorts for federal agencies.
“Federal agencies announced plans in the new agenda to withdraw 469 actions that were proposed in the fall of 2016 and to reconsider another 391 active actions. Of those 391 active actions, 282 are reclassified as long-term rulemaking priorities and another 109 actions are listed as in need of careful review.
“[T]he Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to redefine waters of the U.S. following the president’s executive order to review the 2015 rule and rescind or replace it as appropriate. The agency is also extending delays on new emission standards for municipal solid waste landfills and planning to propose a rule to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, which ordered a 32 percent cut in the power sector’s carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
“In a statement, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney [said], ‘In the first five months of this administration alone the net cost of our regulatory agenda has been less than zero dollars. Contrast that with the last five months of Fiscal Year 2016 when the Obama administration imposed almost $7 billion in costs on our economy through regulation’.”
OMB Director Reveals Anti-Business ‘Hit List’
Washington Times (Boyer 7/20) “White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney accused the Obama administration Thursday of keeping a ‘secret list’ of proposed regulations during Mr. Obama’s eight-year regulatory onslaught against businesses, and touted President Trump’s rollback of more than 800 Obama-era rules and proposals.
“Of the 860 rules or proposed rules that the Trump administration has killed, 179 came from what he called Mr. Obama’s ‘secret’ list. ‘They had a bunch of things that they wanted to regulate’, Mr. Mulvaney said of the Obama administration’s first term. ‘They just didn’t want to tell you about it. They thought it would be bad for their re-election prospects in 2012, so they created a secret list of regs that were not disclosed to you folks’.
“During Mr. Trump’s first six months in office, he has eliminated 16 major regulations that had cost businesses at least $100 million per year each. He has introduced only one major regulation, pertaining to mercury in wastewater. Regulatory analyst Clyde Wayne Crews at CEI said this week that regulatory compliance costs about $2 trillion annually and that some regulations he calls ‘regulatory dark matter’ are imposed without adequate public review.”