In a small but significant victory for manufacturers, Congress passed a one-year extension (for 2014 only) of the R&D tax credit, expanded Sec. 179 expensing and 50 percent bonus depreciation in the last hours of the 113th Congress. The president signed the bill into law before Christmas.
 
AMT, along with a hundreds of manufacturing companies and organizations, lobbied hard to make these provisions permanent or to extend them for at least two years.  However, time constraints and party politics got in the way of good governing. The one-year extension was approved at the last minute to avoid a tax increase on individuals and businesses, provide consistency in 2014 tax filing, and give lawmakers the opportunity to address these and other “tax extenders” as part of comprehensive tax reform in the new Congress.

Prior to approving the tax extender legislation, Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown by passing the massive 1,600 page, $1.1 trillion FY2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund government operations at current funding levels through September 2015. It also includes two little- noticed provisions important to manufacturers.

National Manufacturing Strategy

One of the lesser known riders included in the spending bill requires the president to formulate a national strategy to strengthen manufacturing every four years – one of AMT’s top public policy priorities and the basis of the Manufacturing Mandate.  The measure is based on the Pentagon’s policy planning process. It specifically directs each president in the second year of his or her term to work with public and private stakeholders to develop a National Strategic Plan for Manufacturing.  In addition, the president’s annual budget blueprint must contain an explanation of how it promotes the most recent manufacturing strategy. The factors that impact manufacturing that will be addressed include technology transfer and commercialization; the viability of the defense industrial base; the capabilities of the domestic manufacturing workforce; export opportunities and trade policies; financing, investment, and taxation policies; emerging technologies and markets; manufacturing R&D by overseas competitors; and the strength of the manufacturing workforce of competing nations.

National Network for Manufacturing Innovation

Also included in the funding legislation is the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act. The RAMI Act, originally introduced as a separate bill with bipartisan support, authorizes the establishment of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The network will consist of multiple institutes, each focused on different technologies to accelerate, strengthen and grow advanced manufacturing and jobs in the United States.

This concept for boosting manufacturing innovation was originally initiated by the president in 2012, with the launch of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute “America Makes.” Since then, four additional institutes have been launched in Michigan, Illinois, North Carolina and most recently in Tennessee, with plans for three more in the competition stage.

Become a part of the #MFGNation, resolve to be a Manufacturing Advocate in 2015

You can help make manufacturing a top priority in the new 114th Congress by resolving to get involved in 2015. Your members of Congress want to hear from you. AMT’s Advocacy staff can help you connect with your Senators and Representatives. Visit the Advocacy page at AMTonline or email me at athomas@AMTonline.org for information on arranging a plant tour, visiting your members’ district or DC offices or writing a letter on an issue important to you.