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Manufacturing Booming Under Biden, Continued Regulatory Review Crucial 


Matt Shorraw
April 5, 2024

For too long, the United States has been a country that exports jobs and imports products. Under President Biden, we are starting to reverse this trend and make more things in America.

Since taking office in 2021, the president has championed a series of policies that have sparked a manufacturing boom. In Pennsylvania, this boom will soon blast off and take workers with it. 

Across the Commonwealth, manufacturers are building new plants and expanding existing facilities that will produce everything from prescription drugs to clean hydrogen to batteries. Once open, these facilities will create good-paying jobs for Pennsylvania workers. 

President Biden’s manufacturing record was hard won. It required ushering a number of bills through Congress, including the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the CHIPS and Science Act.  

Now, to ensure these legislative victories endure for workers, the White House must review regulations pending throughout the federal government to make sure new rules do not undermine the president’s achievements.  

Today, manufacturers and workers are tracking over 100 proposed federal regulations that will impact everything from the price of electricity to the availability of permits to what kind of factories can built and where. Manufacturers have reported that the tidal wave of rules and their combined costs present a challenge to growth. How rules are crafted and coordinated may determine if our country can lead the world in manufacturing, a goal President Biden has embraced. 

As a former mayor, I know the importance of federal regulations. Rules that protect worker safety, pay and benefits, as well as regulations that keep our air, water and environment clean, are critical to the American economy and our health. The White House should not put the brakes on regulation, but it should ensure federal rules do not unnecessarily add to the red-tape manufacturers already face.  

Thankfully, there are signs the White House is paying attention to the need to align proposals under consideration at federal agencies with the president’s manufacturing plan.  

First, in late March, the administration listened to the concerns of auto manufacturers and workers and adopted a technology-neutral regulation for car and truck emissions. Unions like the UAW were skeptical of the original draft of the rule but cheered the more flexible final product. 

Second, and even more relevant to Pennsylvania, is action the White House recently took on steel manufacturing. 

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rules that would set emissions requirements for the steel industry that manufacturers and workers both suggested were technically and economically infeasible. Workers said the rules would have undermined domestic manufacturing and shifted steel production overseas. Such a move would have cost America jobs and increased pollution, as other countries lack America’s environmental protections. 

In a December letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey, Jr., and others asked EPA to produce a more achievable rule. In April, EPA and the White House showed they understood by producing a more balanced proposal that will ensure “that U.S. steelmaking is the cleanest and most competitive in the world.”

White House intervention in the auto and steel manufacturing regulations is a welcome sign. Now, the West Wing should critically examine other regulations pending across federal agencies to ensure they are consistent with the president’s goals for manufacturing and manufacturing jobs. 

Thanks to President Biden, America is on the verge of a manufacturing revival. Factories will soon open across the Commonwealth and other states. To make this revival real for workers, the White House must continue to ensure federal regulations support manufacturing as much as the president who occupies the Oval Office.

Matt Shorraw is the former Mayor of Monessen, PA.