Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), made the following statement following statement following the results of the 2014 midterm elections:
Yesterday evening, voters across America made it clear that they think Washington is broken, and they expect our elected leaders to come together to fix it.
Americans have grown tired of the gridlock and partisan bickering that has plagued Capitol Hill in recent years. With tonight’s election, they have sent a clear signal that they want action on the problems facing this nation. It is far past time for our lawmakers to put aside partisan differences and work together toward crafting constructive solutions. The new leadership in the U.S. Senate must now demonstrate they can move America forward.
That means no more threats of government shutdowns or risking defaulting on our national debt, and an end to pointless show votes that serve no purpose but to energize each party’s ideological core at the expense of productive legislating.
Equipment manufacturers and the broader business community share voters’ frustration. The good news is that there is ample opportunity for President Obama and Congress to work together on commonsense solutions. Those efforts should begin without delay; there’s no excuse for Congress to waste the next two months by failing to deal with issues that demand their attention now.
An immediate order of business for Congress should be responsibly fixing the Highway Trust Fund by restoring the gas tax to its 1993 buying power while oil prices are at recent record lows. Congress can continue to boost access to affordable energy by approving construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
They can rally around commonsense legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank for the long term and give American manufacturers the tools they need to compete in the global marketplace and support jobs in the United States. Lawmakers should give President Obama improved authority to negotiate trade deals and move toward swiftly approving pending trade deals with our European and Asian partners.
And there is both ample room and great need for Congress to find a bipartisan solution to fixing a tax system that has become so complex and burdensome that it is now a barrier to job creation.
The 114th Congress faces a choice: They can repair their broken bond with voters, or they can continue down their current path and risk turning their relationship with voters into something more toxic.
On behalf of the equipment manufacturing industry, I sincerely hope that President Obama, Speaker Boehner and our Senate leaders opt for progress over provocation.