The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Assn. (MEMA) called on the Obama Administration and lawmakers alike to act to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and promote a competitive domestic motor vehicle parts supplier sector, just as President Obama prepared to deliver his second State of the Union address to Congress last night.
“Motor vehicle parts manufacturers directly employ nearly 686,000 people across the country. This direct employment, in turn, contributes to 3.29 million jobs from coast to coast,” said Bob McKenna, MEMA president & CEO. “Because of this industry’s size and scope, the nation will not see a healthy vehicle manufacturing sector nor a full national economic recovery until motor vehicle parts suppliers see consistent access to credit restored and pathways to technology development opened.”
Specifically, MEMA called on Congress and the administration to:
- Help assure sufficient capital for restructuring, consolidating and diversification,
- Create technology funding programs that support long-term product and manufacturing technology innovation, and
- Pass legislation to expand the lending capacity of the SBA 7(a) program to $5 million.
“Manufacturing jobs are truly the foundation of this economy,” McKenna stated. “Parts manufacturers provide valuable jobs that support workers and communities across the country. Our message to the Administration and Congress is clear: Work with us to create a manufacturing strategy and assure that there is a competitive domestic parts supply base that will help produce safer, more fuel efficient vehicles and contribute to a strong national economy.
“Motor vehicle parts manufacturers directly employ nearly 686,000 people across the country. This direct employment, in turn, contributes to 3.29 million jobs from coast to coast,” continued McKenna. “Because of this industry’s size and scope, the nation will not see a healthy vehicle manufacturing sector nor a full national economic recovery until motor vehicle parts suppliers see consistent access to credit restored and pathways to technology development opened.”
Before the lobby had cleared after the State of the Union address last night, other interest groups were posting their reactions to the messages that the President delivered.
Machinists Union International president, Tom Buffenbarger, for example, issued the following statement:
"It is hard to reconcile the images of a year ago - millions of Americans watching as one as President Barack Obama took the oath of office - and the faces of 31 million Americans who have been idled in this grave recession. Even the pomp and ceremony of this State of the Union address could not dispel the sense that something has gone terribly awry. The clarion calls of hope and change have faded like the last notes of Taps. The enveloping darkness, a darkness of deepening disillusionment and even deeper cynicism, is settling across the land. When one-fifth of America's workforce is idled to some degree, the full force of government, business, labor and academia must be marshaled to get them back to work,” Buffenbarger added, “but no such comprehensive strategy was outlined tonight.”
Todd McCracken, National Small Business Assoc. president & CEO, was also quick to weigh in: “During his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama outlined several key initiatives designed to bolster small business. Acknowledging the critical role small business plays in creating the majority of new jobs, Obama's address placed a heightened level of importance on America's small-business community….We were pleased to see small business in the limelight tonight. It remains to be seen, however, whether the administration actually will push Congress to enact legislation that is helpful to small businesses…
“The idea to make hiring easier for small businesses is a good one,” McCracken added. “Unfortunately, when polling our members, few believe that a hiring tax credit -- which would likely be temporary -- would be incentive enough to take on new employees, particularly given costly benefits. In many cases people who take advantage of this tax credit would have hired the new employee regardless.”
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) president, William Millar, voiced the organization’s support of investment in public transportation: “I am especially pleased that President Obama recognizes that investment in transportation infrastructure is one of the key ways that Americans can get back to work. Our nation has a backlog of transportation projects that need to be addressed, and passing a jobs bill to employ Americans in infrastructure rebuilding is a solid policy. In regard to public transportation investment, research shows that for every $1 billion invested in public transportation capital and operations, 36,000 jobs are supported and created.”