Jay Timmons, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) president and CEO, seized the opportunity to call attention to the regulatory challenges facing U.S. manufacturers at an April 30 Joint Economic Committee hearing.

The scope and complexity of regulations have made it harder to do business and compete in an ever-changing global economy, as Timmons underscored in his testimony. While manufacturers believe regulations are important to protecting the environment and public health and safety, it is clear that our regulatory system is in need of considerable improvement and reform.

“New regulations are too often poorly designed and analyzed and ineffectively achieve their benefits,” Timmons said. “They are often unnecessarily complex and duplicative of other mandates. Their critical inputs – scientific and other technical data – are sometimes unreliable and fail to account for significant uncertainties. Regulations are allowed to accumulate with no real incentives to evaluate or clean up the past. In addition, regulations many times are one-size-fits-all without the needed sensitivity to their impact on small businesses. We can do better.”

How exactly can we do better? Timmons recommended a number of reforms that would improve the system through which modern rulemaking is conducted. Those reforms include the following:

•          Strengthening and codifying sound regulatory analysis

•          Improving congressional review and analysis of regulations

•          Improving public participation and transparency of data in the regulatory process

•          Streamlining regulations through sunsets and retrospective review

•          Supporting a centralized review of agencies’ regulatory activities

•          Holding independent regulatory agencies accountable

•          Increasing sensitivity to small businesses

•          Enhancing the abilities of institutions to improve the quality of regulations

“Manufacturing in America is making a comeback, but this comeback could be much stronger if federal policies did not impede growth,” Timmons said. “If we are to succeed in creating a more competitive economy, we must reform our regulatory system so that manufacturers can innovate and make better products instead of spending hours and resources complying with inefficient, duplicative and unnecessary regulations.”

Regulatory reform has long been a top manufacturing priority, and NAM is taking a multi-pronged approach on behalf of its members. NAM’s Manufacturing Competitiveness Initiative, chaired by former Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and George Allen (R-VA), continues to examine and highlight the regulatory and other competitive challenges facing manufacturers. In February, NAM joined forces with the National Federation of Independent Business and The Hill newspaper on a panel discussion titled “The State of U.S. Regulations.” This debate highlighted the need to reform the overly complex and inefficient federal regulatory process. NAM also key-voted two bills: the Achieving Less Excess in Regulation and Requiring Transparency (ALERRT), which contains four different regulatory reform bills that NAM supports, and the Responsibly and Professional Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act (H.R. 2641).

Regulatory reform is an important part of the continued manufacturing comeback. MTI is a member of the Council of Manufacturing Associations, which has more than 120,000 manufacturing companies that work with NAM to further a pro-manufacturing agenda in the U.S. and its trading partners.