Manufacturers being crushed by weight of excessive regulation
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Unlike any president-elect in modern history, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE has staked his legacy on creating a manufacturing jobs surge in the United States.

Achieving the levels of job growth we would like to see will take time, of course, but he can get to work on day one in a big way — and we expect he will do exactly that. 

After President-elect Trump takes the oath of office, manufacturers hope he will move swiftly to provide relief from the onslaught of regulations we have endured these past eight years.

One after another, regulations from the Obama administration — on everything from healthcare and energy to workplace conversations — have made keeping our doors open harder and harder.

We all want cleaner air, safe workplaces and happy customers. In fact, it is manufacturers that have developed many of the tools and techniques that make these goals achievable.

For example, manufacturers have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent since 2005, while our contribution to the economy grew by 19 percent. 

Still, the federal government has saddled us with duplicative and costly new regulations.

A National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) analysis found that the Obama administration handed down 637 major new regulations through October 2016. That translates to one major regulation every 4.46 days.

That burden adds up quickly, especially for smaller manufacturing companies. A 2014 NAM study found that the regulatory cost to companies with fewer than 50 workers is $34,671 per employee per year.

It is little wonder why too many companies don’t have the cash to invest in growing their operations, hire new workers or increase paychecks. Unfortunately, that money is spent complying with rules concocted in Washington, D.C. 

Change is in order. It can start with the Senate moving swiftly on President-elect Trump’s nominees and getting government working again for Americans.

What can President-elect Trump do? First and foremost, he can bring a new mindset to government regulation.

Trump can take the lead in rethinking red tape, take politicized agendas out of the process and bring a more transparent, sensible, balanced approach to rulemaking.

That’s what manufacturers want — a balanced administration that will listen when we sound the alarm about devastating real-world consequences.

With and without Congress, Trump can also repeal and roll back some of the most onerous regulations.

In a positive sign of what’s to come, Vice President–elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceSenators discussing Trump censure resolution House formally sends impeachment to Senate, putting Trump on trial for Capitol riot Biden White House to resume COVID-19 briefings with health officials MORE, on behalf of the incoming administration, has already asked the NAM for our views on which burdensome regulations are at the top of the list for repeal or reform.

Streamlining and removing unnecessary burdens from the past administration can be accomplished by Congress or the executive branch. Both have several tools at their disposal. There is no excuse for inaction. 

The 2014 NAM study found that the total cost of federal regulations in 2012 was $2.028 trillion.

Smart regulatory reform that protects health, safety, the environment and our workers could inject billions of dollars back into the economy.

That’s not pocket change. That would be a real boost for manufacturers and their communities.

 The new year, new administration and new Congress bring an incredible opportunity for manufacturing in the United States.

After all, manufacturing issues motivated President-elect Trump’s campaign and manufacturing voters helped cement his victory.

If he delivers on his promise for regulatory reform, then a newly energized manufacturing industry will help take the American economy and everyone in our country to new heights.


Jay Timmons is President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.  David Farr is Chairman and CEO of Emerson and Chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers Board of Directors.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.