Manufacturers urge passage of tariff bill

Manufacturers on Wednesday urged lawmakers to pass a bill that they will save their businesses millions and make them more globally competitive.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is applying full-court pressure on lawmakers to pass a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), which expired nearly two years ago.

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"Congressional inaction on MTB legislation is hurting our ability to compete globally and create jobs,” said Linda Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs for NAM. 

Dempsey and other manufacturers told reporters that lawmakers need to "end the gridlock and act immediately" in the lame-duck session.

The bill would help eliminate or reduce import duties on hundreds of raw materials and products that are not available in the United States but are needed for production.

They argue that congressional inaction has cost manufacturers, a sector that has been battling back from the economic recession, $748 million in costs and more than $1.8 billion in economic losses.

But action during the lame-duck session appears unlikely at this point with no movement by the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees. 

Dempsey said that if a bill can’t be done during lame duck then the Republican-controlled Congress should try to get a bill done early next year.

"We think Congress should and can act now," she said.

Still, she acknowledged that bill needs to have bipartisan support in the House and the Senate.

Dempsey suggested that the lack of a bill makes it more attractive to manufacture overseas. 

“If members of Congress are serious about supporting manufacturing growth in this country, they will roll up their sleeves and work to find a solution to pass the MTB,” she said.

“Manufacturers cannot afford to wait any longer.”