Groups highlight priorities as Congress grapples with highway bill conference

There may be a ways to go yet, but it looks like we will soon have a federal highway funding bill and a re-authorization of the Ex-Im Bank. This is a summary from NAM’s Manufacturing Economy Daily. 

The Hill  reports that industry groups, including the NAM, are “fighting to make sure their priorities stay in the highway bill.”

According to The Hill, provisions renewing the Export-Import Bank and lowering the age for US truckers were included in versions approved by the House and Senate, while language allowing jail time for automakers who fail to report defects and eliminating a cap on fines for violations of reporting requirements was left out.

In a letter to lawmakers, the NAM stated, “Investment and updates to our nation’s transportation infrastructure are absolutely essential to manufacturers’ ability to compete and create jobs,” adding, “The Ex-Im Bank helps level the playing field for U.S. companies seeking new sales in fiercely competitive global markets, ensuring that our nation’s manufacturers can compete.”

Meanwhile, American Trucking Association President Bill Graves addressed efforts to allow teens to operate trucks, stating that “The ability to find enough qualified drivers is one of our industry’s biggest challenges.”

Landline Magazine (11/19, Jones) has a similar report that focuses on the provisions that impact trucking.

Lawmakers Promise End To Temporary Highway Fixes. The Hill (11/19, Laing) reports that lawmakers have promised that the “temporary highway funding patch that is set to be approved this week will be the last pitstop before a long-sought multiyear transportation bill is passed.”

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) said, “This is the last extension. Let me put an exclamation point on that.”

Meanwhile, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) said, “Congress is on the cusp of once again fulfilling its constitutional duty to fund our roads and bridges. Americans demand it, and our economy depends on it.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) “was pleased” the two Houses agreed on the language reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, saying, “This is five months overdue and will help ensure that Ohio’s exporters, manufacturers and workers are not facing a playing field tilted in favor of their foreign competitors.”

Associated Industries of Missouri is the sole official designated partner of the National Association of Manufacturers in Missouri.