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Manufacturing Association Wants Progress In Obama's Trade Agenda


A leader of the U.S. manufacturing sector is calling on Congress and the president to put aside their differences. Jay Timmons, who is head of the National Association of Manufacturers, would like to see some progress on the president's trade agenda.

Chuck Quirmbach of Wisconsin Public Radio reports.

CHUCK QUIRMACH, BYLINE: Timmons was in Milwaukee to deliver his association's annual State of Manufacturing address. He says he chose Wisconsin partly because it has one of the highest percentages of workers in the manufacturing field. Nationally, Timmons says the 12 million men and women employed in manufacturing need help from both parties in Congress.

JAY TIMMONS: And they can start that by passing trade promotion authority, something every president since FDR has had to successfully negotiate free trade agreements for our country.

QUIRMACH: Critics of bringing back that power for the president say they worry about Congress losing its ability to add language about labor, the environment and other issues to trade proposals.

Jay Timmons's wish list for manufacturing also includes some criticism of President Obama.

TIMMONS: He claims credit for the boom in energy production, and its benefit to the economy, but he also says that he wants to move us away from fossil fuels.

QUIRMACH: Timmons says if manufacturers are allowed full access to energy from oil, natural gas and coal, production costs will stay down. But environmental groups say that would only happen at the expense of clean air and water.

For NPR News, I'm Chuck Quirmbach in Milwaukee. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.