‘Defense Production Act can be used as an incentive rather than a weapon’: CEO of NAM


Jay Timmons, president and CEO of The National Association of Manufacturers, joined Yahoo’s Finance to discuss manufacturing approaches under President Biden.

Video transcript

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Sana Smith: President Biden planned for the use of the Defense Production Act to combat the epidemic. This will help check the ramp with a supply of masks, helping with the vaccine effort. So for more on this, we want to bring in Jay Timmons. He is the President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.

And Jay, it’s great to talk with you again. I want to read a piece from your most recent statement that you sent out. And you said, a smart targeted approach between the administration and manufacturers can shape the use of the Defense Production Act. I think, talk with me about what the partnership will look like and how you think your union can better assist the Biden administration at this point.

Glory Time: Sure, and that’s a great question. See, the Defense Production Act is designed to help our country get through the most difficult times usually during a war. And, apparently, it is a new type of war. It is a war on America’s health and economy, epidemic. Hence the Defense Production Act has been used many times during the last few months in the previous administration.

What we want to see and I think what President Biden and his administration are looking to do is to partner with manufacturers that are incentive-based, basically looking at manufacturers who are looking to expand their operations and PPE Ready to change your lines to make. Medical supplies. The supply chain for the vaccine, all those kinds of things can be empowered through the use of the Defense Production Act.

Adam Shapiro: What is your opinion on such discussions with the new administration? Because I think you will be like the organization that actually does something.

Glory Time: Okay, you know, yes, again, it has been an interesting 10 or 11 months that we have been collaborating with a lot of our member companies to produce that PPE and medical supplies and now the vaccine. As you can guess, this is a frenzied practice, as we have tried to accommodate the large demand for those products. We have had several interactions with the administration.

We couldn’t be more thrilled that Jeff Zaders is heading towards an epidemic response. I cannot think of a better leader for our time for that purpose. We have had many conversations since President Biden was declared the winner of the presidential contest. And what we have offered, we have offered our perspective on what has worked and what has not been done in the last 10 months.

We have actually talked about what you mentioned, the Defense Production Act, how it can be used as an incentive rather than a weapon for manufacturers, and we partner to develop these essential goods and supplies How can we work to achieve what is necessary to hump us, to bring us to the goal line to really solve the problem of the epidemic and end it once and for all.

Sana Smith: Jai, from the conversation you are having, I think, which areas are you in the best shape at this point which need the most help right now?

Glory Time: Are you talking about the epidemic?

Sana Smith: Yes, in relation to epidemics and simply in terms of supplies, what they need in terms of masks, with ventilators, anything with which manufacturers can help. Do I think some areas of America need the most help at this point?

Glory Time: Yes, you know, it’s a great question because it’s eBay and it depends on where you are in the country. So look, I’m from a small rural community in southern Ohio from the Midwest. It was not originally affected during the first several months of the epidemic. But then, as more activity began to take place in my home area, as people were less focused on the leadership of the federal government in terms of urging people to wear masks and increase social distance and stay away from the crowd, you started seeing the virus. Did catch up in small communities.

For example, the initial response the producers had to deal with was to deal with big cities like New York and Detroit. Then we saw Chicago, the others. Today, we still have a problem in large urban areas. Los Angeles is a clear example of this. But you are starting to see it spreading everywhere. It doesn’t really matter. It does not matter whether it is red state or blue state. It does not matter whether it is rural or urban or suburban. You are seeing it everywhere.

My own father knelt before COVID. And he was very, very careful, always wearing a mask, always away. He used to go to the grocery store only once a week. This thing is very dangerous. And the producers understand this, which is why we have been working since day one to bring it under control, preventing proliferation. And now our job, we believe, is for everyone in America to roll up their sleeves and take shots.

Adam Shapiro: J, when you talk about incentives for manufacturers, when the government uses DPA, does it help a manufacturer who can be paid for the transition that is the product that is to be produced then is?

Glory Time: Okay, this is definitely one of the benefits of using it correctly. Absolutely. I mean, if you think of a creator who’s okay with whatever they’re making, and there– and they hold their hand, which many of them did during the last several months, and Say, look, we’re ready to be able to close our line for this product and make it, let’s say, masks. There must be a financial – or a financial cost to do so. And most of them just cannot absorb themselves. This is why DPA was created.

It was also made so that the federal government could repurchase some contracts. We do not like to see it. We would rather accelerate production and not interfere with contracts that many manufacturers have made for many of these goods, many of these medical supplies. And we want that we should be able to increase more and more US production of PPE and more of these medical supplies at home.

Sana Smith: Jai, before we let you go, I want to get your quick thoughts as you have released some statements. You were vocal on Twitter about the riots that we saw on Capitol Hill a few weeks ago, and also about the early delays and power changes from the Trump administration. You tweeted back on January 7, just to say in a nutshell that this is not the vision of America that the creators believe in and work so hard to defend.

I am curious what you are expecting to hear from President Biden during your first 100 days, just in terms of helping to unite the country and bring the two sides together so that we can overcome some of those events Which happened at that time for the last several weeks.

Glory Time: Well, see, I think you have seen it in the last two days. I felt that the opening ceremony and today’s activity were absolutely beautiful. And he represented America at its best. He represented an America that wanted to come together, recover and move forward. And when we are talking about healing, we are not only talking about physical healing and our health treatment due to epidemics, we are the soul of this country, the healing of our very divided times for us I am talking And I think most people are just tired.

I can say for the manufacturers, we want to be part of the solution. We want to move forward, we want to ensure that America can prosper, continue to grow, and become a shining example of what constitution is of democracy and our government. And we want it to be a great example for the whole world. So, I think that is what we want.

We do not agree with everything in this administration. We did not agree with the last administration or everything before that. But there are many things we can agree on – immigration reform, infrastructure investment, trade agreements, workforce development. There are many things that have already been put on the table that give us a path forward to work together to make our country stronger.

Sana Smith: Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, always very good to you. Thanks for joining us.

Glory Time: Thanks for having me.

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