Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Over 50 plastics industry leaders are in Washington, D.C. today, attending nearly 80 scheduled meetings with U.S. Senators, Representatives and key members of their staffs, and making Congress aware of the industry’s concerns about economic and business challenges facing America’s third-largest manufacturing sector.
The one-day Fly-In, as it’s called, is arranged and sponsored by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association and is open to all plastics industry companies. Both SPI member firms and non-members are participating today, matched up with members of Congress from their home states.
When I participated during the Fly-In held last October it was clear to me that the local touch went a long way. The Senator or Representative, and their staff members, were at a table with people running plastics businesses in their home territory. So not only are they talking to voters, but also the conversation is about the challenges facing businesses in their states and districts, businesses that employ hundreds, in some cases thousands, of their constituents.
There is plenty to talk about. Today’s topics include possible year-end expiration of various pro-business tax policies; proposed modernization of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act; the need for more Congressional oversight of agencies such as EPA, OSHA, and NLRB; and energy policies that encourage responsible development of new resources. In addition, there is the need to remind the members of Congress that America’s plastics sector is not only a large component of the nation’s economy and workforce itself, but also plays a critical role in the success of major economic sectors including automotive, healthcare, agriculture and more.
“As we head into the fall elections, jobs and
the economy continue to top the national agenda,” said 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 is 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 feel strongly this is an ideal time to be proactive in communicating the critical concerns of an industry that makes such a positive impact on the economy.”
In briefing the plastics industry leaders before they went to their meetings, Jon Kurrle, SPI Senior Vice President, Government and Industry Affairs, noted the high degree of government-related uncertainty that is making it difficult for industry leaders to make certain critical decisions about the future. “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,” he said. “That is the central message the plastics industry carries to Congress today.”
Following the scheduled afternoon meetings, the plastics industry leaders will be able to speak further with several members of Congress during an evening reception.
You can follow ongoing reports of this busy day via Twitter @SPI_4_Plastics, and see which members of Congress the plastics industry representatives and SPI staff have met with. The photo below was taken following one of today’s meetings in the Senate Office Building.