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Throughout this election cycle, candidates have offered many promises to boost the U.S. and global economy, as well as address other national priorities. As we inch closer to the finish line, it’s worth examining how the presidential and several congressional races could shape the future of policies affecting the manufacturing industry.
As of this writing, the conventional wisdom is that Hillary Clinton is likely to beat Donald Trump for the presidency based on her lead in the Electoral College and most of the battleground states. All 435 House seats and 34 of the 100 Senate seats are up for election this year, and according to one of the most respected experts on politics in America, Dr. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, the Democrats are likely to make gains in both the House and Senate.
Hillary Clinton has set her sights on strengthening American trade enforcement and vows to reject trade deals like TPP that she says do not meet her standard of raising wages, creating jobs and enhancing our national security.
Clinton says she wants to strengthen the manufacturing industry through a $10 billion investment in “Make it in America” partnerships. This initiative would aim to bring together businesses, universities, community colleges, and local, state and federal government to create a stronger manufacturing industry nationwide. Her plan also discusses revitalizing the hardest-hit manufacturing communities by creating tax incentives to encourage investment.
Donald Trump has released a 7-point plan to rebuild the American economy, which includes withdrawing from TPP. Trump argues that America has “lost nearly one-third of its manufacturing jobs” since the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted and “50,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization.” To remedy this, Trump plans to renegotiate the terms of NAFTA or withdraw from the deal completely.
Trump has been consistent in saying he will enact across-the-board tax cuts. His tax plan aims to set a competitive business tax rate to create and keep jobs in America.
While much of the focus has been on the presidential race, there are several congressional incumbents running for re-election who are champions of our industry and known for their leadership on manufacturing policy issues. IPC supports these candidates and looks forward to continuing to work with them in the next Congress
- Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH): Congressman Johnson has long been a consistent supporter and ally of our industry. He was key champion on congressional efforts to mitigate burdensome reporting requirements on byproducts sent for recycling—a serious issue for the industry—that ultimately led to language in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform legislation to address it. In his re-election race, he is currently expected to win easily.
- Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL): Congressman Shimkus is on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is the Chairman of the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee, which led the effort on the TSCA reform. He was also supportive of IPC's effort to address reporting requirements on byproducts sent for recycling in the TSCA reform legislation. In the past, Rep. Shimkus has had easy re-election campaigns, and during this general election he has no challenger.
- Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY): Congressman Reed was the lead Republican sponsor of the Revitalizing American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act that authorized the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). Furthermore, he is on the House Ways and Means Committee and was a strong supporter of making the research and development tax credit permanent, which Congress recently passed. The New York 23rd Congressional District leans Republican, but the race between Rep. Reed and Democrat challenger John Plumb is expected to be one of many heated House races in the state of New York.
- Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA): Congressman Honda's Silicon Valley district is home to some of the world's leading technology companies. He has been a strong advocate for increased federal R&D investment, the first federal nanotechnology bill, and strengthening the federal focus on STEM education. He helped champion RAMI Act He was not only among those members who urged its passage; he was virtually alone on the House Appropriations Committee fighting for its funding. Rep. Honda has a tough race this election cycle against Democratic challenger Ro Khanna, which is a rematch from the last election cycle.
- Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR): Congressman Schrader is a moderate Democrat and is on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He has been supportive of the industry: most recently, he was particularly helpful on the TSCA reform legislation and also introduced legislation to alleviate some of the burdens of the Department of Labor new overtime rule that takes effect on December 1, 2016. Rep. Schrader faces Republican challenger Colm Willis, and although Oregon's 5th Congressional District is almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, it appears likely that Schrader will retain his seat.
With so many policy decisions in the works that could affect our industry, the stakes couldn’t be higher. IPC encourages all of its U.S. members and friends to get out and vote on November 8.
- Sabato’s Crystal Ball, University of Virginia, 2016.
- HillaryClinton.com, 2016.
- Donaldjtrump.com, 2016.
Kenneth Schramko is the government relations director for IPC.