WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. plastics industry descended upon Capitol Hill this fternoon to bring its collective concerns to Congress on the economic issues and business challenges that threaten the nation’s third largest manufacturing sector. Sponsored by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, the one-day legislative fly-in to Washington, D.C. was an opportunity for plastics industry manufacturers from across the country to provide lawmakers with background and real-world scenarios that illustrate how pressing issues impact the health and viability of their businesses.
“As we head into the fall elections, jobs and the economy continue to top the national agenda,” stated SPI President and CEO William R. Carteaux. “The plastics industry is the creator of nearly 900,000 jobs and has added 33,700 jobs since the end of 2009. Our industry has a presence in every state, contributes $341 billion in annual shipments to the U.S. economy, and enjoys a trade surplus of $17 billion. So today it was critical that we convey the business barriers and economic hardships the industry faces directly to the people who can actually do something about them—members of Congress. When just one stroke of a pen could put companies out of business and employees out of jobs, we felt strongly this was an ideal time to be proactive in communicating the critical concerns of an industry that makes such a positive impact on the economy.”
Attended by more than 50 plastics industry leaders – from both SPI member companies and non-member companies -- the fly-in included more than 80 scheduled meetings with Senators, Representatives and key staff in their Capitol Hill offices. Discussion topics included the December 31, 2012 expiration of a variety of pro-business tax policies; prudent modernization of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act; the need for more Congressional oversight of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Labor Relations Board; and energy policies that encourage responsible development of new resources.
“While manufacturing has led the slight uptick the U.S. economy has seen since 2009, our members tell us that there is still too much uncertainly for them to make certain critical decisions about the future,” said Jon Kurrle, SPI Senior Vice President, Government and Industry Affairs “To foster lasting expansion, overall U.S. economic policy must provide the business community with the certainty needed to stimulate confidence, investment, growth and accompanying job creation. That is the central message the plastics industry carried to Congress today.”
Prior to heading out en masse to the Hill, fly-in attendees attended a morning briefing and lunch that featured keynote speaker Stuart Rothenberg, editor of The Rothenberg Report. Rothenberg provided an enlightening analysis of the upcoming elections. After the day of formal Congressional visits, attendees had the chance to mingle with several members of Congress at an evening reception.