Caterpillar Pledges Support on Tax Reform

Tue July 18, 2017 - National Edition
Matt Buedel

President Trump and Vice President Pence examine Caterpillar's 966M wheel loader at the White House July 17. (Photo Credit: Alex Brandon/Associated Press)
President Trump and Vice President Pence examine Caterpillar's 966M wheel loader at the White House July 17. (Photo Credit: Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Caterpillar Inc. is “ready to pull out all the stops” on a grass-roots effort to support the Trump administration's push for tax reform, according to a company executive who met with the president Monday.

Kathryn Karol, Caterpillar's vice president of global government and corporate affairs, was part of a small contingent of Caterpillar representatives with a big yellow machine on the south lawn of the White House for the first Made in America Day — a showcase of goods made in each of the 50 states.

As President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence stopped by the Cat 966M wheel loader, the conversation turned to several aligned legislative and corporate policy priorities, including an overhaul of the nation's tax system and infrastructure spending. Trump said a grass-roots effort would be necessary to support tax reform that Caterpillar has long advocated, according to Karol.

“President Trump specifically asked for help on that,” Karol said, noting that Caterpillar has just shy of 50,000 employees in about 70 facilities in the United States to help mobilize such a campaign.

She added: “We are 100 percent behind the reform and would hope that the administration and Congress could move this forward — and quickly.”

In comments at a proclamation signing event Monday, Trump reiterated the need for tax reform and referenced stalled health care legislation that has delayed action on it.

″(F)or our nation to really prosper, we must lower the tax on business — one of the highest in the world...” Trump said, according to a press pool report.

The company was the sole representative for Illinois at the White House event on July 17 with a wheel loader currently manufactured in Aurora. That facility, however, will close by the end of 2018 under an agreement ratified by the United Auto Workers earlier this year. All production currently in Aurora will move to other Caterpillar facilities in the United States, including the Decatur plant.

In a prepared statement, Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby said the company would continue to work with the Trump administration on pro-growth policies.

“We appreciate the president's dedication to manufacturing industries and the men and women who build and deliver some of the finest products in the world. Caterpillar has a substantial presence across the country — operations in 19 states, approximately 70 facilities, a workforce of 48,500, the tremendous strength of the independent Cat dealer network supporting customers in all 50 states and a supplier base of more than 15,000 companies,” Umpleby said. “We welcome the opportunity to continue working with the Trump administration on policies that will increase economic growth.”

Source: Journal Star