The nation’s most influential manufacturing association said former President Donald Trump is responsible for strong performance in the industry after President Joe Biden repeatedly took credit for growth in the sector during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Biden noted in his speech that the United States has created nearly 800,000 manufacturing positions over the past two years, a claim that aligns with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and marks the fastest job growth in four decades for the sector. He referenced legislative packages such as the CHIPS and Science Act as factors responsible for the growth.
“Where is it written that America can’t lead the world in manufacturing again? For too many decades, we imported products and exported jobs,” Biden asserted. “Now, thanks to all we’ve done, we’re exporting American products and creating American jobs.”
National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons responded to the emphasis on the industry by supporting the Biden administration’s legislative agenda while docking him for not supporting the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed by Trump at the beginning of his administration. Timmons, whose trade association represents nearly 80% of Fortune 100 manufacturers, said the reforms established the foundation for the robust state of the sector.
“The President should be commended for the historic, bipartisan accomplishments of the past two years,” Timmons said in a statement. “However, the President misses the mark in not recognizing that the historic tax reforms of 2017 and the previous administration’s efforts to promote regulatory certainty helped lay the foundation for the recent success in creating jobs, increasing investment and raising wages.”
Timmons added that lawmakers “should immediately reinstate critical tax deductions for the costs of research, machinery purchases and key business investments.” Analysts recently noted the sunset of a provision in the federal tax code that allowed companies to immediately deduct research and development expenses, contending that the change would decrease innovation over time. Lawmakers failed to extend the provision for the new tax year.
“Restoring these tools is essential to keep up the pace of manufacturing job creation and to out-innovate and outcompete China,” Timmons said. “And to truly unleash manufacturing investment, fully realize the potential of the infrastructure law and achieve energy security in America, we need a smarter, balanced approach to regulations and significant permitting reform so that projects don’t languish for years in a bureaucratic mess.”
Timmons also cited the “broken immigration system” which has served to create a “border crisis,” and suggested embracing immigration reform that would aid manufacturers with filling empty positions. There are currently two open positions for every one unemployed individual, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; the phenomenon has contributed to inflationary pressures as companies raise wages and pass higher input prices to consumers.
As many as 5.5 million migrants have crossed into the United States under the Biden administration, according to data from the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The commander-in-chief exhorted lawmakers to approve legislation that would create a pathway to citizenship for some workers.