Rep. Lipinski Stands with Middle Class; Supports Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (September 16, 2014)

In a bipartisan vote Monday night, the House of Representatives approved the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI), H.R. 2996. The bill, cosponsored by Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3), would boost American manufacturing by establishing a network of manufacturing innovation and enabling public-private partnerships through centers for manufacturing innovation. 

“Manufacturing is a linchpin of our nation's economy,” stated Rep. Lipinski.  “It provides the American middle class with a source of quality jobs making everything from the goods we rely on for everyday needs, to the equipment that we need for national security.  In the first decade of this century, the middle class took a hard hit, when almost one-third of manufacturing jobs disappeared.  I have seen the devastation in my district and across northeastern Illinois, and I get frustrated, just like you do, when I go to the store and I cannot find the words ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ on any product.”

The RAMI Actincludes the text of a bill Congressman Lipinski introduced, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, HR 2447.  This legislation would establish a public-private process for assessing the current competitive state of manufacturing in the United States, compare this against the policies and status of manufacturing in competing nations, and propose measures for the government and stakeholders to take in order to promote manufacturing in the U.S.  Based on the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon's policy planning process, the bill proposes that a group of manufacturing experts from the private and the public sectors would be convened every four years to reassess the progress of American manufacturing and make new recommendations.

“While I agree that manufacturing is by-and-large a private, market endeavor, few can disagree that manufacturing intersects with government policy in countless ways,” said Lipinski.  “From tax and trade, to regulation, to research, education, and workforce development, government policies have a significant effect on our manufacturers.  It is essential that the U.S. join many of its competing nations in assessing these policies in a comprehensive, coordinated approach.  That’s what this bill does.”

Rep. Lipinski believes that the deployment of centers of manufacturing innovation, as spelled out the RAMI Act, will help improve the competitiveness of manufacturing across the nation.  Using these high-tech facilities will help attract more students to manufacturing and STEM careers, enabling a greater range of research and development on manufacturing processes and products, and improving commercialization opportunities for firms small and large.  Earlier this year, Lipinskijoined in the announcement of the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute in Chicago.  This public-private initiative, hosted by the University of Illinois offshoot UI Labs, has leveraged a $70 million federal investment to achieve a commitment of $250 million from industry, academia, government and community partners that will harness expertise and facilities to improve manufacturing processes and innovation and design capabilities to a wide range of stakeholders.   

“Other competing nations are making their own serious investments in next-generation institutions and facilities in support of their domestic industries, and it makes competitive sense for the U.S. to leverage our capabilities, in concert with private and other public entities, to make similar investments,” Lipinski said.

The RAMI Act now moves to Senate for consideration.