NuScale Chairman and CEO John Hopkins began his term as U.S. Chamber of Commerce chairman this month, succeeding FedEx Freight Corp. CEO and President Michael L. Ducker. (Above photo: Michael L. Ducker, right, passes the chairman’s gavel to John Hopkins on Wednesday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
NuScale is an Oregon-based company that has emerged as the world leader in small nuclear reactor technology. Since Hopkins took over at NuScale four years ago, the company has grown from about 30 scientists and engineers to a team of 650.
Hopkins becomes chairman of the Chamber at a critical time in Washington. Business and the free enterprise system are under assault in the nation’s capital and on the campaign trail. Washington’s regulatory engine is in overdrive and it threatens the American economy that continues to sputter.
Hopkins is no stranger to Washington D.C. About a decade ago, Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue invited him to attend a White House meeting for a roundtable conversation with President Bush and Vice President Cheney at the White House.
Among the issues Hopkins wants to prioritize in the next 12 months is passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation deal that would vastly expand American businesses’ access to Asian markets and help reduce the cost of goods for U.S. consumers, according to his U.S. Chamber profile.
Hopkins also wants to push for more support for U.S. energy producers, including those advancing nuclear technology. He says that investing in and reducing legal and regulatory barriers for America’s energy sector will lead to more reliable and affordable energy for American businesses and consumers while decreasing dependence on foreign sources.
Hopkins aspires to be a vocal advocate for the entire U.S. business community, reminding those inside the Beltway and across the country that innovators, entrepreneurs, and private companies can and must be a big part of the solution to the many daunting challenges we face.
Hopkins earned a business degree at the University of Texas and after college he took a NATO assignment before returning to work for Conoco in Houston. His career then took him to startup businesses.
NuScale was created after scientists at Oregon State University and the Idaho National Laboratory redesigned a smaller, safer, and more effective nuclear reactors – called small modular reactors. In 2007, they started NuScale and by 2011 NuScale became an acquisition target.
Hopkins’ relationship with the U.S. Chamber dates back to his time with Fluor when he led the company’s government relations efforts and worked with business advocacy groups and trade associations.
He joined the Chamber’s board a little more than a decade ago. Shortly after, he was invited to the White House meeting. It was then that the Chamber’s unparalleled resources and access started to come into focus, he says.
“At that time, I thought of the Chamber as just another business organization,” Hopkins says. “Frankly, it took me a while to really understand the Chamber’s enormous importance and the scope, size, and breadth of its work, particularly internationally. Over the years it has become clear that the depth of resources and the quality of the people are just amazing.”
MANUFACTURERS TELL CONGRESS TO ADVANCE A PRO-GROWTH AGENDA
National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons and NAM’s Chairman, Gregg Sherrill, led members to Capitol Hill for two days this week to urge members of Congress and the Obama Administration not to pursue an anticompetitive and antitrade agenda that will endanger the nation’s manufacturing sector.
Timmons and Sherrill, who is CEO of Tenneco Inc., along with NAM members, are talking directly with members of Congress to remind them that while U.S. manufacturing is the envy of the world, other nations threaten to topple that position.
“To maintain our mantle of economic leadership, Congress must support an agenda that promotes manufacturing rather than giving into the heated rhetoric on the campaign trail that would take manufacturing in the United States in the wrong direction,” they wrote in Real Clear Markets.
About 500 company leaders from family owned small businesses to world-recognized brands are in Washington, D.C., as part of the NAM’s 2016 Manufacturing Summit. “We are making one request of policymakers: Unleash our power to compete and win globally, with a focus on three key legislative issues: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a fully functioning Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank Board and comprehensive business tax reform,” they wrote.
“Congressional leaders are capable of working together to promote U.S. interests abroad; the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank last session demonstrated that fact. However, its fate today shows the ongoing peril of ‘politics as usual’. The Ex-Im Board is unable to function because infighting has prevented the confirmation of a needed appointee. As a result, the bank lacks the quorum needed to approve many transactions, and our manufacturing companies are forced to sit on the sidelines. The Senate should put aside its differences and move forward the confirmation without further delay.”
The tax burden holds back American manufacturing: The United States has the highest corporate tax rate among developed nations, and numerous small manufacturers are paying taxes at even higher individual rates.
Taxes divert funds that could be used for investment and wages and leads to companies departing the United States. “America must remain open for business, even during a divisive election cycle. The unacceptable alternative is to keep more American families struggling,” the pair wrote.
Manufacturers employ more than 12 million men and women. They need Congress to fight for the core values on which our country rests: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
(Jay Timmons is President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Gregg Sherrill is Chairman of Tenneco Inc., and Chair of the NAM Board of Directors. The BCA is NAM’s exclusive representative in Alabama.)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Senate Dems Ramping up Pressure for Vote on Ex-Im Bank Nominee
The Hill (Needham 6/9) “A group of Senate Democrats on Thursday blasted Republicans who are opposed to considering a nominee to the Export-Import Bank board. Five Democrats took to the Senate floor and called on Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) to vote on the nomination of Mark McWatters, which could provide the agency’s board with the quorum needed to make larger loans.
“But Shelby, who is opposed to the Ex-Im Bank and has shown no interest in considering the nomination, objected to their unanimous consent request to hold a Senate vote on McWatters, who was nominated in January by President Obama. The Ex-Im Bank needs McWatters to be confirmed to reach a three-person quorum on its five-member board. Until then, the agency can’t approve loans for more than $10 million, making it difficult for many U.S. firms – large and small – to get the financing guarantees they need. Ex-Im has more than 30 pending transactions in the pipeline valued at more than $10 billion. All require the board’s approval because each exceeds the $10 million threshold, the agency told The Hill.
“Earlier this week, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) sent more than 300 of its members up to Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers to take a vote on McWatters among discussing other top trade priorities. ‘Manufacturers of all sizes rely on a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank to help them compete on a level global playing field, which is why having a quorum on the bank’s board of directors remains a critical priority for the NAM’, said Linda Dempsey, NAM’s vice president of international economic affairs.”
GOP Chairman: EPA Could ‘Restructure Every Industrial Sector’
The Hill (Cama 6/9) ” A high-ranking Republican senator said Thursday that he fears that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) climate rule could give it power to regulate the entire industrial sector. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said that the arguments the EPA makes for why its Clean Power Plan is legal are so far-reaching that they could give the agency unprecedented power if upheld by the courts.
“‘If EPA can convince the courts to uphold their approach to regulating the utility industry through the means Congress never authorized, then they will take these same arguments and use them to restructure every industrial sector in this country in a manner that appeases the political obligations of the president’, Inhofe said at a hearing of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which he chairs. ‘Neither the Clean Air Act nor the regulatory system was meant to operate this way and the president knows that’.
“The Supreme Court put the rule on hold in February while it works its way through the court system. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is currently considering the regulation’s legality, but it is nearly certain that its decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Inhofe, an outspoken skeptic of climate change, organized the hearing to criticize the EPA’s rule and to denounce what he sees as efforts to go around the Supreme Court’s stay. The GOP argues that by helping states plan to comply with the rule, and moving forward with an incentive program for early compliance, the EPA is hurting states that have chosen to stop their planning during the litigation, violating the spirit of the stay.”