Vote For Change, Vote Coleen Rowley

Local activists blog for congressional candidate Coleen Rowley (D)

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Kline Record: National Association of Manufacturers gives him 100%

I first learned about the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) from a diary at Daily Kos last week.

The author was sufficiently incensed at his congressperson that I thought it might be interesting to look for a relationship between NAM and John Kline.

NAM likes Kline a lot. I'm not so sure that I like NAM.

NAM describes itself this way:

The NAM’s mission is to enhance the competitiveness of manufacturers by shaping a legislative and regulatory environment conducive to U.S. economic growth and to increase understanding among policymakers, the media and the general public about the vital role of manufacturing to America’s economic future and living standards.

The NAM is the nation’s largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 10 additional offices across the country.

Sourcewatch adds this: "The group has a long roster of lobbyists in Washington lobbying on dozens of issues. They also have a special lobby called National Association of Manufacturers - Asbestos Alliance, working on tort reform concerning asbestos exposure." [In other words, they want to get manufacturers of products which contained asbestos off the legal liability hook.]

NAM doesn't have a PAC that donates money in the usual way, directly to congressional campaigns or leadership PACs. Here's how it donates cash:

  • Total Contributions: $46,207
  • hard money contributions to Bush since 2000: $3,000
  • soft money contributions to RNC since 2000: $43,207
  • PAC contributions to Republicans since 2000: $0

Looks pretty clean, doesn't it?

But NAM has found a way to donate lots of money directly to candidates--and to keep itself entirely off the FEC radar. It offers its members a set of special tools that effectively coordinates the PACs of all of the NAM member organizations. If you go to the NAM website, and choose Take Action> Prosperity Project, you can see how they do this with BIPAC.

Online PAC Services

BIPAC doesn’t just provide grassroots tools for all your employees or members; we can also develop a PAC section for your Prosperity Project website that is password protected (either by traditional means or through Federated Identity Management – linked). Our members use their PAC websites in a variety of ways, but they are best used in tandem with a dynamic Prosperity Project site that provides information about issues that affect the organization, tools to write to elected officials, and voting information.

What can I do on the PAC portion of the website that I can’t do on my regular Prosperity Project website?

Communicate frequently and specifically about the PAC to set it context. The Prosperity Project tools provide flexibility in message delivery, from email messages to PAC newsletters and streaming video featuring an appeal by your CEO.

Tell managers, executives and shareholders who you support and why. Encourage personal contributions to candidates. Recruit volunteers.

Use secure online PAC contribution modules that protect all personally identifiable information and make online PAC solicitation easy.

In addition, the BIPAC Member Portal is your one stop shop for Political Analysis, PAC and Grassroots Resources, where you can access primers, research, candidate information, political analysis, PAC assessment, benchmark surveys and more with the click of a mouse.

NAM is pretty upfront about its agenda. A couple of clicks in from its main website, I found this: "The NAM’s 2006 Pro-Growth, Pro-Manufacturing Agenda"

Reduce Production Costs in the United States:

  • Immediately address the critical shortage of reliable domestic oil and natural gas supply to include legislation permitting deep water exploration.
  • Build a plentiful, flexible, diverse and affordable energy supply through a broad range of options to address our nation’s energy supply crisis, including policies that open the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for development of natural resources.
  • End lawsuit abuses including asbestos and medical litigation.
  • Reduce health care costs by focusing on chronic disease prevention and management, transforming health care from paper records to electronic medical records and encouraging the growth of consumer-oriented options such as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Health Reimbursement
    Arrangements (HRAs).
  • Reduce excessive regulatory costs by ensuring that scientific and economic analysis is applied to regulations.
  • Enact sensible, cost-effective multiple emissions policy, such as the President’s Clear Skies initiative, and avoid inefficient and anti-growth command and control mandates on emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

Level the International [corporate!] Playing Field:

  • Successfully conclude the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations by the end of 2006.
  • Secure open access to foreign markets by approving the recently-concluded free trade agreement (FTA) with Peru, concluding negotiations underway with others, and initiating negotiations with additional countries.
  • Approve legislation to address nuisance tariffs that burden U.S. manufacturing.
  • Ensure compliance with existing trade and economic agreements, including enforcement of all provisions in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), as well as WTO and International Monetary Fund (IMF) commitments. Also seek congressional support for eliminating technical barriers arising from conflicting U.S. and foreign standards and regulatory practices.
  • Make improvements in trade with China by addressing China’s undervalued currency, counterfeiting of products, subsidized production and exports, and extensive market access barriers.

Develop the 21st Century Workforce:

  • Continue to implement No Child Left Behind with its emphasis on standards and accountability.
  • Reform the current visa system to allow for greater global mobility of skilled employees, with special consideration for foreign-born graduate students who come to U.S. universities for study.
  • Insist on a national emphasis on math, science and engineering in secondary and post-secondary education.

Promote Innovation, Investment and Productivity:

  • Make permanent the tax relief enacted since 2001 including marginal rate cuts and reduced rates for dividends and capital gains, death tax repeal and depreciation reforms.
  • Enact a permanent and strengthened R&D tax credit and repeal the corporate alternative minimum tax.
  • Provide increased funding for federal science programs and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program.
  • Accelerate technology and innovation by encouraging more rapid domestic deployment of broadband by deregulatory policies.
  • Make the exercise of patent rights more effective worldwide with a better integrated international system and reverse the global rise in trade of illicit goods that has marked a decline in exercise of trademark rights.
  • Enact rational legislation that replaces the interest rate used to determine current funding liabilities for defined benefit plans. Build on and make permanent provisions that encourage participation in defined contribution plans.

[Emphasis mine.]

NAM has a long history.

The first president of NAM was Samuel Bush, father of Prescott and grandfather of George H. W. Bush [great grandfather of George W. Bush] (link). Robert Welch was on the NAM board of directors for seven years before founding the John Birch Society in 1958 (link).

From "NAM Historical Highlights":

NAM lobbying achievements in the 1990s included:

  • Passage of NAFTA and MFN for China.
  • Successful lawsuits reining in rulemaking abuses at OSHA and EPA.
  • A five-year extension of the essential R&D tax credit.
  • Defeat of President Clinton's job-crushing BTU tax and nationalized health care schemes.
  • Reform of the misnamed alternative minimum tax and reduction in capital gains and estate taxes.
  • Moratorium on Internet taxation.
  • Major improvements in food and drug laws, reducing approval times for life-enhancing pharmaceuticals.
  • Crackdown on meritless securities suits, which averaged $692,000 in legal fees and 1,055 hours of management time apiece and discouraged entrepreneurial activity.
  • Passed the Y2K liability law, allowing companies to focus on preventing Y2K problems.
  • National leadership in encouraging low interest rates and stronger growth.
  • Truck back-billing relief and an integral role in passing the bill to improve highways, 60 percent of which were in need of repair.
  • Greater access to highly skilled H-1B workers.
  • Preventing terrorist access to sensitive risk assessment data via the Internet.

[And later, under GW Bush:]

  • Repeal of Ergonomics Rule. The NAM was the first business group to file suit challenging OSHA's ergonomics rule and helped led the successful effort to overturn the rule through the Congressional Review Act.
Many people consider NAM to be a right wing organization with a history of anti-labor and anti-union activism. Some even link it to fascism.

Here is the NAM profile for John Kline:

Biography:

Born in Allentown, Pa., on September 6, 1947; BA., Rice University, Houston, Tex., 1969; M.P.A., Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Shippensburg, Pa., 1988; United States Marine Corps, 1969-1994; leadership consultant; unsuccessful candidate for the One Hundred Fifth Congress in 1998; unsuccessful candidate for the One Hundred Seventh Congress in 2000; elected as a Republican to the One Hundred Eighth Congress (January 3, 2003-present).

109th Congress AF&PA Voting Record

  • Class Action Fairness Act. On S.5. RC 38. AF&PA supported. Passed: 279-149. Legislation aimed at curbing the explosion of frivolous class-action lawsuits, which would curb trial lawyer "forum shopping" by shifting most major class actions to federal courts, without altering plaintiffs' right to sue. 2/17/05 Y
  • Comprehensive Energy Bill. H.R. 6. RC 132. AF&PA supported. Passed: 249-183. Legislation aimed at creating a comprehensive, balanced, long-term energy policy that provides adequate energy supplies at affordable prices. Enacting this bill will also stimulate additional supplies of both conventional and alternative renewable fuels, while strengthening natural gas and electricity infrastructure to incentivize conservation. 4/21/05 Y
  • Postal Reform Legisltation. On H.R. 22. RC 430. AF&PA supported. Passed: 410-20. The purpose of this bill is to modernize the U.S. Postal Service to reduce internal costs, improve service, and make future postal rate increases more predictable and affordable. U.S. mail-related businesses comprise a $900 billion industry that employs more than nine million people and is inextricably linked to the paper industry. Paper industry products make up more than 70 percent of mail volume. 7/26/05 Y
  • U.S. Trade Rights Enforcement Act. On H.R. 3283. RC 437. AF&PA supported. Passed: 255-168. Provides U.S. companies with additional trade remedies to use against unfair Chinese trade practices and establishes monitoring of China’s recent trade commitment on intellectual property rights and providing greater market access for U.S. goods and services. In addition, the bill requires the Treasury Department to report to Congress every six months on China’s new exchange rate mechanism, which de-links the yuan and the dollar. 7/27/05. Y
  • U.S. Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) On H.R. 3045. RC 443. AF&PA supported. Passed 217-215. This bill liberalizes trade between the U.S. and Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. The trade pact immediately eliminates tariffs and duties on 80 percent of our exports to those countries, and phases out tariffs on the remaining 20 percent over the next ten years. The U.S. exported approximately $600 million worth of paper, paperboard and wood products to the CAFTA/DR nations in 2004 and the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that another $141 million could be added with the implementation of the agreement. 7/28/05. Y
  • Interior Appropriations. On H.R.2361. RC 450. AF&PA Supported. Passed 410-10. On Agreeing to the Conference Report. AF&PA has succeeded in getting increased spending for the timber sales program, hazardous fuels reduction and forest inventory assessment. 7/28/05. Y
  • Substitute Amdmt. on the Threatened and Endangered Species Reform Act by Rep. Miller (CA-07). On H.R.3824. RC 505. 206-216. An attempt to derail the effort to improve the Endangered Species Act. 9/29/05 N
  • Threatened and Endangered Species Reform Act. On H.R. 3824. RC 506. AF&PA supported. Passed: 229-193. Would amend the Endangered Species Act in a variety of ways. It would 1) incorporate the No Surprises rule into the statute, 2) eliminates all critical habitat provisions from the ESA and puts increased focus on the recovery process, and directs the Secretary of the Interior to establish criteria to identify the "best available scientific data" and requires that data be consistent with government-wide guidlines [sic], etc. 9/29/05 Y
  • Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act. H.R.4200. RC 151. AF&PA supported. Passed: 243-181. FERRA would provide federal forestland managers the tools and expedited processes to conduct a timely and thorough evaluation of forest conditions following a catastrophic event – such as wildfire, hurricane, ice storm insect infestation, or disease outbreak – and allow for prompt recovery of those lands where appropriate. 5/17/06 Y
  • Putnam-Capps Amdmt. on Interior Approps bill (H.R.5386) R.C. 170. AF&PA opposed. Passed: 217-203. This amendment would would reinstate the 25 year old restriction on DOI's ability to spend money on pre-leasing or leasing activities for energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf. 5/18/06 N

This official's percentage on this voting record: 100%

108th Congress AF&PA Voting Record

  • Comprehensive Energy Bill. H.R. 6. RC 145. AF&PA supported. Passed: 247-175. Legislation aimed at creating a comprehensive, balanced, long-term energy policy that provides adequate energy supplies at affordable prices. Enacting this bill will also stimulate additional supplies of both conventional and alternative renewable fuels, while strengthening natural gas and electricity infrastructure to incentivize conservation. 4/11/04 Y
  • Healthy Forests Restoration Act. H.R. 1904. RC 200. AF&PA supported. Passed: 256-170. To improve the capacity of the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to plan and conduct hazardous fuels reduction projects on National Forest System lands and Bureau of Land Management lands aimed at protecting communities, watersheds, and certain other at-risk lands from catastrophic wildfire, to enhance efforts to protect watersheds and address threats to forest and rangeland health, including catastrophic wildfire, across the landscape, and for other purposes. 5/20/03 Y
  • Jobs & Growth Reconcilitation Act. H.R. 2. RC 225. AF&PA supported. Passed: 231-200. Approved 51-50 on May 23, 2003. AF&PA supported the pro-growth package, which reduces taxes on dividends and capital gains, expands expensing and increased bonus depreciation for businesses and reduces taxes for individuals and many small businesses. 5/23/03 Y
  • Class Action Reform. H.R. 1115. RC 272. AF&PA supported. Passed: 253-170. Legislation aimed at curbing the explosion of frivolous class-action lawsuits. AF&PA supported the bill, which would curb trial lawyer "forum shopping" by shifting most major class actions to federal courts, without altering plaintiffs' right to sue. 6/12/03 Y
  • Udall (NM-03) Amendment on Interior Approps. H.R. 2691. RC 384. AF&PA opposed. Failed: 198-222. Attempt to derail practical forest planning rules, preventing much needed on the ground work from being accomplished. 7/17/03 N
  • Inslee (WA-01) Amendment on Interior Approps. H.R. 2691. RC 386. AF&PA opposed. Failed: 185-234. Misguided attempt to codify the misguided Clinton rule. 7/17/03 N US-Chile Free Trade Agreement. H.R. 2738. RC 436. AF&PA supported. Passed: 270-146. Eliminates nearly all tariffs on U.S. manufactured exports upon implementation and provides the framework for a successful FTAA accord. 7/24/03 Y
  • Pension Funding Equity Act of 2003. H.R.3108. RC 535. AF&PA supported. Passed: 397-2. 30-year Treasury Bonds. Failure to enact a workable alternative to the 30-yr Treasury Bond Rate would force forest products companies with defined benefit plans to contribute unnecessarily large amounts to those plans, diverting capital from other productive uses, risking the continuation of the voluntary plans these companies currently have. 10/08/03 Y
  • Chabot Amendment on Interior Appropriations.(Tongass) H.R. 4568. RC 253. AF&PA opposed. Passed: 222-205 Eliminates funds for forest management road building in the Tongass National Forest. 6/16/04 N
  • Udall Amendment on Interior Appropriations. H.R. 4568. RC 254. AF&PA opposed. Failed: 195-230. De-funds the application of the newly revised forest planning regulations on National Forests. 6/16/04 N
  • Australia Free Trade Agreement. H.R.4759. RC 375. AF&PA supported. Passed: 314-109. To eliminate tariffs on U.S. exports to Australia, making U.S. suppliers more competitive against domestic producers. 7/14/04 Y
  • JOBS Bill. H.R.4520. RC 509. On Agreeging to [sic] the Conference Report. AF&PA Supported. Passed: 280-141. The bill repeals the WTO-illegal FSC/ETI export tax incentive regime and replaces it with, among other things, an effective 3 percentage point corporate rate reduction for manufacturing income, including timber. Repeal of FSC/ETI must occur before the EU will remove tariffs on US products including $200 million worth of wood/paper products. 10/7/04. Y

This official's percentage on this voting record: 100%

Cosponsorship of Key Legislation

  • 109 H.R.3883 AF&PA supports the Timber Tax Act of 2005 to improve competitiveness of U.S. corporate timber and forest products industry. Related Senate bill: S. 1791 Support
  • 109 H.R.4318 H.R. 4318: To terminate the effect of all provisions of Federal law that prohibit the expenditure of appropriated funds to conduct natural gas leasing and preleasing activities for any area of the Outer Continental Shelf, to terminate all withdrawals of Federal submerged lands of the Outer Continental Shelf from leasing for exploration for, and development and production of, natural gas, and for other purposes. Introduced 11/15/05. This legislator cosponsored this legislation on 12/16/2005 Support
  • 108 H.R.1310 H.R. 1310 "Reforestation Tax Act": AF&PA-supported. The Reforestation Tax Act provides an incentive for landowners of all sizes to continue to hold and manage their forests in a manner that will maintain a long-term sustainable supply of fiber for future economic needs. Related Senate bill: S. 1381. Support
  • 108 H.R.3716 H.R. 3716, Provisions related to Countervailing Duties applied to nonmarket economy countries. AF&PA Supports. The Chinese government currently uses subsidies and other economic incentives to give their forest products producers an unfair trade advantage over American-made products in the industry. AF&PA supports legislation both chambers that would amend U.S. anti-subsidy law to apply the same countervailing duty measures to imports from non-market economies, such as China, that are applied to products from all other trading nations. Please contact your Representative to have them cosponsor H.R. 3716. (related Senate bill: S.2212) Support