Rep. Lipinski Leads Effort that Halts Administration Proposal that Would Have Been Harmful to American Manufacturers


By Congressman Dan Lipinksi (IL-3)


Sometimes Washington does things that seem so crazy you wonder if people making these decisions are simply out of touch with reality or whether they are purposely trying to make life more difficult for most Americans.  The latest example comes from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), whose “core mission is to serve the President of the United States in implementing his vision across the Executive Branch.”  

Earlier this year, the OMB came out with a proposal to create a new classification for some American businesses.  These businesses were now going to be labeled as “factoryless goods producers.”  How does a company produce goods without a factory?  Simple, they contract out their production to factories outside of the country.  Apple, for example, contracts with FoxConn to manufacture the iPhone in massive plants in China.  If this nonsensical idea from the OMB was implemented, it would mean that Apple was counted a “factoryless goods producer,” and all these iPhones would likely have been counted as American made.  This wouldhave had a great impact on government data, distorting the number of American manufacturing jobs, and could have put real American manufacturers — the ones with American factories employing American workers — at a further disadvantage in competing with foreigners.  

But for once, commonsense won out.  I fought against the OMB on this issue and so many Americans spoke up that the Obama Administration has announced that they are withdrawing the proposal.   

Instead of creating new classification terms and moving numbers around, we need to boldly move forward with a real strategy for success in American manufacturing.  My American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, H.R. 2477, would act as powerful tool for producing concrete action to help American manufacturers create jobs.  It requires the President to bring together private-sector leaders and government officials to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the manufacturing sector and develop a strategy that includes specific recommendations for promoting its success.  To make sure we stay the course, this strategy would be updated every four years and its implementation would be reviewed annually.

It is also critical that we close loopholes to ensure that the $530 billion the federal government spends annually on goods and services buys products made by American workers.  I introduced the Buy American Improvement Act, H.R. 3346, to make current laws tougher and more difficult to evade.  Under this bill, products would have to be 75 percent made in America to be considered American-made, rather than only 50 percent.  In addition, before waiving Buy American requirements, federal agencies would be required to consider the impact on domestic employment and to undertake a more thorough search to make sure that no U.S.-made product is viable.