Acting as the precision metalworking industry’s One Voice in Washington, DC, NTMA’s lobbying and strategic communications firms have been working tirelessly to ensure your voice is heard on Capitol Hill and projected by the media.
Q4’s Top 3 Legislative Concerns for Manufacturers
NTMA and our One Voice partners have identified the most pressing issues facing machine shop organizations in 2023. Together, we are particularly focused on:
- Repealing the R&D amortization requirement
- Tracking the progress of OSHA’s in-development heat stress rule
- Advocating for vocational training
1. The R&D amortization requirement
What is it? An amortization requirement took effect in January 2022, preventing businesses
from fully deducting their research and development (R&D) expenses in a single year. Instead, companies must spread their domestic R&D deductions across five years; foreign R&D deductions must be amortized across 15 years.
How are NTMA members impacted? This requirement significantly inhibits economic growth in R&D-heavy industries, with manufacturing accounting for 58% of private sector R&D. NTMA members face an average impact of $250,000 per year unless legislators implement a fix before the end of the calendar year.
What’s the current status? NTMA’s lobbyists are fighting for the reinstatement of total R&D deductibility before the end of 2023. Senators Hassan (D-NH) and Young (R-IN) have introduced legislation to repeal amortization in the Senate. Congressmen Estes (R-KS) and Larson (D-CT) have introduced comparable legislation in the House. Both bills have strong bipartisan co-sponsorship and support, but legislators must act to implement the necessary changes.
What else should NTMA members know? The R&D amortization policy impacts the 2022 and 2023 tax years specifically, and the chance for tremendous impact on CNC businesses looms large. If legislators take action to repeal the policy, manufacturers and countless other small businesses nationwide will immediately and retroactively receive meaningful tax relief.
2. OSHA’s in-development heat stress rule
What is it? OSHA is moving closer to establishing a federal heat stress rule, citing serious heat-related injuries and deaths among workers. While California, Minnesota, and Washington have already adopted OSHA-approved workplace temperature policies, no federal rule currently exists. Following OSHA’s 2022 National Emphasis Program targeting outdoor and indoor heat-related hazards, the organization aims to introduce specific requirements for protecting workers.
How could NTMA members be impacted? Reputable machine shop organizations already follow OSHA’s guidelines for keeping their workplaces “free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.” The rule currently under development would more specifically target high-heat conditions, potentially setting nationwide requirements for:
- Employer-written heat-stress prevention programs
- Emergency response plans
- Air conditioning
- Insulation of heat sources
- Shade access
- Paid rest time
- Cool water access
What’s the current status? OSHA is only about halfway through its lengthy rulemaking process. One of the biggest challenges for regulators is determining which temperatures should trigger the new heat stress requirements. In states with heat rules in place, 80 degrees Fahrenheit is the common trigger temperature, with additional steps triggered as heat increases. OSHA has not yet announced trigger temperatures for the upcoming rule.
What else should NTMA members know? Among the high-risk industries that the forthcoming rule will impact, some have expressed concerns, including:
- Will acclimatization policies prevent CNC businesses from hiring temporary workers?
- How can employers identify workers at higher risk of heat-related illnesses without violating individuals’ medical privacy?
- How much time will employers be granted to implement expensive cooling solutions?
- Will the new regulations increase disability and age discrimination as employers avoid hiring workers with higher perceived heat-stress risk?
3. NTMA’s vocational education advocacy
What is it? NTMA is currently advocating for the business community’s inclusion in curriculum planning at a younger age with the goal of attracting students to employment pathways with proven value. With high-skill, six-figure-salaried jobs going unfilled throughout countless economy-boosting industries, NTMA is advocating for the Department of Education to acknowledge vocational training as a low-cost, high-value alternative to traditional four-year college programs. This work aligns with the Department of Education’s proposed updates to the Gainful Employment rule.
How could NTMA members be impacted? Policymakers’ understanding of the economic value of vocational training could lead to expanded Federal Student Aid access and increase the number of students who choose vocational training for careers in high-demand industries such as manufacturing.
What’s the current status? Manufacturing companies continue to face a shortage of qualified personnel. As an apprenticeship provider certified by the Department of Labor, NTMA is currently advocating for the business community’s inclusion in curriculum planning for even younger students, with the goal of attracting students to employment pathways with proven value. Following a 2022 White House event focused on apprenticeships, NTMA continues to pressure policymakers to tackle this critical issue.
What else should NTMA members know? NTMA’s advocacy is beginning to show effects. There is a greater emphasis on including the CNC business community in educational planning and a move toward mandating this involvement at the federal level.
NTMA’s Ongoing Work in Washington, DC
We’re proud to say that NTMA and its lobbyists, The Franklin Partnership, have become trusted sources on Capitol Hill for manufacturing-related issues. In May 2023, 15 NTMA members met face-to-face with legislators to discuss issues affecting manufacturing as a whole and share how specific proposed legislation would impact their machine shop organizations.
Our advocacy efforts are only possible with financial support from our NTMA members. As NTMA’s membership grows, the larger and louder our voice becomes!
Be part of the One Voice initiative and join NTMA!