Manufacturers have mobilized to respond to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic in ways unseen in modern history. The industry has been on the front lines as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, supplying health care workers with vital equipment, working toward vaccines and therapeutics and producing food and other essentials for American families.
As a result, manufacturers possess a unique perspective on the current situation. Our companies and employees have valuable insights on how to operate safely, how to navigate this crisis and how we emerge stronger than ever before.
It will not be easy. But manufacturers have a plan. The National Association of Manufacturers has released our “American Renewal Action Plan.” It is our policy plan for our nation’s response, recovery and renewal—focused on the responsibilities, contributions and needs of manufacturers.
Consistent with federal guidelines, governors and local officials will make the call on exactly when and how we “reopen” our economy. But it is clear that America will need significant amounts of personal protective equipment across all sectors of the economy—not just in health care facilities—to make that safe reopening possible.
During the response phase, manufacturers must be able to ramp up production of PPE so the country is ready and well supplied. We also need expanded testing and clearer guidance on issues like the use of face masks and temperature checks.
For the recovery phase, policymakers must focus on the tools that will allow us to reopen and restart our economy. This includes strong liability protections so that manufacturers who have selflessly donated supplies or retooled their factories to meet an urgent need do not become targets of baseless and costly litigation.
For renewal, we must set the stage for long-term growth, which requires increased liquidity, historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure—consistent with the NAM’s “Building to Win” proposal—robust workforce training, expanded trade and regulatory improvements and much more.
We have provided these recommendations to Congress, to the administration and to my fellow members on the White House’s Great American Economic Revival Task Force. America needs to see sustained, bold action from Congress and the administration if our $22 trillion economy is to rebound.
As with other consequential moments in our history, it will be manufacturers who lead us forward—to secure the future health, safety and prosperity of all Americans.