U.S. Manufacturing and Public Policy Leaders Address Priorities: “What the Next President Should Do About U.S. Manufacturing: An Agenda for the First 100 Days”

Washington, D.C. – Top industry executives, political leaders, small business and trade union leaders, researchers and policymakers are offering a blueprint for maintaining the competitiveness of the nation’s manufacturing sector. A nonpartisan gathering, which took place at The National Press Club, was convened to produce immediate, concrete policy steps for the next U.S. president. The conclusions will be delivered in position papers to the Democratic and Republican presidential campaign teams this fall.

Conference participants concentrated on international trade, China, and the TPP; manufacturing’s role in national security; the impact that education, regulatory reform, and tax policy have on manufacturing; and innovation, entrepreneurship and energy.

Among the provocative ideas under discussion: putting all U.S. trade talks on hold for one year to examine their impact on U.S. manufacturing.

“This is a unique opportunity to make progress in revitalizing U.S. manufacturing. Both presidential campaigns are talking about manufacturing and we are coming up with a menu of the best solutions,” said Gil Kaplan, co-founder of the Initiative on U.S. Manufacturing and Public Policy and a partner at the law firm of King & Spalding.

The U.S. Manufacturing and Public Policy Initiative is an interdisciplinary program launched by Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) in 2015, and the impetus for this conference.

“Our goal at this conference and through the Initiative is to pinpoint best practices and solutions that will strengthen manufacturing,” said John D. Graham, SPEA’s dean. “The conference participants make up an impressive roster of leaders and their ideas and analysis can help turn all the talk about manufacturing into action.”

The group offered and debated specific proposals for the next U.S. administration. Among the ideas discussed were:

International Trade – Pause Trade Talks for One Year during which a bipartisan high-level commission would review all aspects of U.S. trade policy and their impact on U.S. manufacturing.

National Security – Remove Incentives for Off-shoring that have led to offshore defense manufacturing. Promote “Made in America” purchases by the Department of Defense.

Education – Boost Vocational Education spending so that federal funding puts equal emphasis on vocational education and training, including work-based learning.

Regulatory Reform – Strengthen the Interagency Regulatory Review Process to ensure that regulations do more good than harm, and streamline the permitting process.

Tax Policy – Cut Business Taxes to align the federal tax rate on corporate and non-corporate taxpayers with an internationally competitive level.

Innovation and Energy – Increase Funding for Innovation to enhance research related to manufacturing and put the U.S. in line with competitor nations.

Mike Petters, president and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), the nation’s largest military shipbuilding company with 35,000 employees, offered his long-term vision as the conference keynote speaker.

Distinguished presenters and panelists at the conference included:

  • Brigadier General John Adams, U.S. Army, Retired
  • Norman Augustine, former CEO, Lockheed Martin
  • Elana Broitman, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing
  • U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Surrogate for Hillary Clinton
  • Dan DiMicco, former CEO Nucor Corporation, Senior Trump advisor
  • Leo Gerard, President, United Steel Workers
  • Ralph Gomory, former SVP for Science and Technology, IBM
  • Jason Miller, Deputy Assistant to the President, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, and White House Coordinator for Manufacturing
  • U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Senior Trump advisor
  • Gene Sperling, Outside Economic Advisor to Hillary Clinton and former Director of the National Economic Council
  • Sue Smith, Vice President for Technology and Applied Sciences Division, Ivy Tech Community College

This conference was convened by the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs Initiative on U.S. Manufacturing and Public Policy. Sponsors for the event: Alliance for American Manufacturing, Committee to Support U.S. Trade Laws, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, King & Spalding, Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.

This event was intended to serve as a voter education event. All candidates received invitations to participate in this event. The opinions expressed by any speaker, including candidates or their representatives do not represent the views of Indiana University. Indiana University does not endorse or provide resources to support or oppose particular candidates for political office or political parties.