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Associations were swift to react to President Obama's State of the Union speech this week, many with praise. American League of Lobbyists wants the president to pursue disclosure reform, a topic he didn’t address in his speech, while the U.S. Chamber has questions what Obama’s policy will grow: the economy or government.
National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons praised the president's remarks on immigration reform and STEM education, "which show a true commitment to developing the skilled workforce desperately needed." However, Timmons wanted to hear Obama address tax reform, as well. "A manufacturing resurgence won't come from limiting the global power of manufacturers. Tax reform is essential because it is our uncompetitive system that is hurting manufacturers both at home and in the global marketplace. We need a regulatory policy that lessens the burden on job creators and an 'all-of-the-above' energy policy and approval of the Keystone XL pipeline that will power manufacturers for years to come."
Kurt Nagle, CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities was pleased Obama mentioned "modern ports to move our goods."
"Local public ports and their private-sector investment partners plan to spend a combined $46 billion over the next five years. Concomitant federal investment in port-related infrastructure, including the land-and water-side connections with port facilities, is an essential, effective utilization of limited federal resources that create economic growth, sustainable jobs and significant tax revenues.”
American Wind Energy Association interim CEO Rob Gramlich also praised Obama's speech for mentioning wind power. on President Obama’s State of the Union: "President Obama sets a goal tonight ‘to once again double generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources by 2020.’ The President has called on Congress to make the renewable energy Production Tax Credit permanent and refundable, as part of comprehensive corporate tax reform, providing incentives and certainty for investments in new clean energy.”
American Road & Transportation Builders Association CEO Pete Ruane released the following statement regarding the State of the Union address: “His call for increased investment in roads, bridges and transit systems has been echoed repeatedly by scores of congressional leaders from both parties, the nation’s governors, and state and local transportation officials. Everyone is in agreement. So let’s use the opportunity at hand to start developing real solutions to address America’s infrastructure deficit.”
American League of Lobbyists president Monty Ward said, "While not covered in the speech, ALL also encourages the president to pursue additional reforms to lobbying disclosure laws. With the major challenges federal legislators will tackle, it will be more important than ever to increase transparency. ALL has called for several reforms that will increase transparency. The reforms include reducing the thresholds for requiring a professional advocate to register as a lobbyist; eliminating exemptions for paid advocates for government and religious institutions; apply conflict of interest rules to all those wishing to serve in the administration; and require mandatory ethics training for all registered lobbyists."
U.S. Chamber CEO Thomas J. Donohue, a past TRENDS Association Executive of the Year, had praise and concerns: “The president’s return to a focus on jobs and growth is overdue and we welcome his call for immigration reform and trade expansion. The question is whether the totality of his agenda is designed to grow our economy or simply to grow the government. More spending, higher taxes, and massive federal rule-making will not put Americans back to work or stop the slide of middle-class incomes. To revive our economy, restore confidence, and put millions of unemployed Americans back to work, jobs and growth cannot be an occasional priority, it must be the top priority at all times."
The National Rifle Association, which has been at odds with the president's push for more gun controls, scheduled its response for this afternoon.