Support the National Manufacturing Strategy Act05/04/11
While today our nation continues to confront many challenges, I persist in believing that the primary challenge we must address is job creation and economic growth. So rather than considering more bills to chip away at minor provisions of the Affordable Care Act, we should be debating bills that will stimulate our economy, improve our competitiveness, and help people get back to work. For that reason, I urge my colleagues to oppose the previous question, and allow the House of Representatives to debate the National Manufacturing Strategy Act, H.R. 1366, a bipartisan bill which I was proud to reintroduce earlier this year.
A national manufacturing strategy would help produce more private sector jobs and shore-up America's defense capabilities. My legislation would require the Administration to collaborate with the private sector to conduct a thorough analysis of the various factors that affect American manufacturing, consider the multitude of current government programs related to manufacturing, and identify goals and recommendations for federal, State, local and private sector entities to pursue in order to achieve the greatest economic opportunity for manufacturers in America. The strategy’s implementation would be assessed annually and the strategy as a whole would have to be revisited every four years, so that we can reassess the global market and technological development, and plot a revised framework.
Why is a national manufacturing strategy necessary? Because the federal government has significant and broad influence on the domestic environment for manufacturing and our national security, energy, and transportation systems all rely on our manufacturing base. Yet there is little to unify the various programs and policies that exist throughout the government that impact our domestic manufacturing base and its place in world markets. Unfortunately, for too long the government’s promotion of manufacturing has been ad hoc, stovepiped and too reactive to economic downturns. Instead, we need to be proactive, organized across the government, and encouraging of those who want to pursue emerging markets and competitive technologies.
Furthermore, it is a matter of international competitiveness for our nation. A number of our economic competitors — including Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Singapore, South Africa, Russia, and the United Kingdom, among others—have developed and implemented national manufacturing strategies. As a recent report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, entitled “The Case for a National Manufacturing Strategy”, stated: “But most U.S. manufacturers, small or large, cannot thrive solely on their own; they need to operate in an environment grounded in smart economic and innovation-supporting policies … Unfortunately, while many other nations – and indeed many U.S. states – are taking steps to boost the competitiveness of their manufacturing industries, the United States lacks a clear, coherent strategy to bolster the competitiveness of manufacturing firms of all sizes and all sectors, a shortcoming that must be rectified if the United States hopes to ‘win the future’ in manufacturing.”
This legislation enjoys widespread, bipartisan support from a range of industrial sectors, labor, and the public. This bill passed the House last year by an overwhelming vote of 379 – 38, demonstrating that we have had the commitment to focus on the jobs and economy – a mission that we should be working to restore. This year, my legislation has also garnered the support of a bipartisan group of 26 of our colleagues who have cosponsored the bill, as well as the endorsement by the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Association of Manufacturing Technology, the AFL-CIO, the Precision Metalforming Association and the National Tooling & Machining Association. Finally, a bipartisan poll conducted last year for the Alliance for American Manufacturing found that 78 percent favor “a national manufacturing strategy aimed at getting economic, tax, labor, and trade policies working together,” and 90 percent want some action to revitalize manufacturing.
I urge my colleagues in the House to join me in calling for action on jobs and the economy. While we have witnessed some positive economic progress, we still have a long way to go in getting Americans back to work. We cannot continue to sit idly as our manufacturing base and the quality, well-paying jobs depart for China, India or elsewhere. We must take action to provide a competitive and focused foundation for those who will continue to make it in America, and we can do so now by passing the National Manufacturing Strategy Act.
(May 4, 2011)