Lipinski's National Manufacturing Strategy Act Moves Forward

Today, the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection held a hearing to discuss the need to pass Congressman Dan Lipinski’s National Manufacturing Strategy Act, H.R. 4692, to revitalize American manufacturing and create jobs. The hearing was the first step toward passage of the bill, which has 50 bipartisan cosponsors and has earned the support of numerous business and industry organizations. With a poll by the Alliance for American Manufacturing showing that Americans overwhelmingly favor passage of a National Manufacturing Strategy and believe more must be done to stem the loss of manufacturing jobs, the House could vote on the bill by the end of the month.

“Manufacturing is one of the pillars of the American economy and the middle class, providing good-paying jobs to 11.6 million Americans, producing nearly two-thirds of our exports, and ensuring we can provide for our defense without depending on foreign countries,” Congressman Lipinski (IL-03) said. “But an astounding one-third of U.S manufacturing jobs have disappeared in the last decade, and the level of support that Chinaand many other nations provide their manufacturers goes far beyond what we offer. To level the playing field and make sure American manufacturing can thrive in the global economy, we need to take action immediately. The National Manufacturing Strategy Act will bring the government and the private sector together to produce a focused, comprehensive, results-oriented plan for revitalizing manufacturing and creating jobs.”

The National Manufacturing Strategy Act requires the President to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the nation’s manufacturing sector that covers workforce requirements, innovation-enhancing research, trade barriers and agreements, access to capital, federal procurement rules, global competitiveness, emerging markets, problems facing small- and medium-sized manufacturers, and many other important issues. This analysis would form the basis for a National Manufacturing Strategy that reflects the input of a task force of federal officials and two state Governors from different parties; recommendations gathered at public hearings; and the advice of a 21-member panel of private-sector manufacturing leaders and stakeholders. The strategy must include specific goals and recommendations related to improving domestic production, investment, international competitiveness, and assuring an adequate defense industrial base, among other matters. 


At today’s hearing, industry representatives and experts testified that the National Manufacturing Strategy Act will help revitalize America’s hard-hit industrial sector.


“After 35 years in the industry, I can tell you America’s manufacturing strategy, insofar as we have one, isn’t getting the job done,” said William M. Hickey Jr., president of Chicago-based Lapham-Hickey Steel Corp., which is located in the Third District. “If we had had a National Manufacturing Strategy in place for the last 10 years, would we have lost or greatly diminished our manufacturing capacity in television, auto parts, bicycles, cell phones, furniture, toys, computers, textiles, and numerous other industries? Our economy has become totally imbalanced due to outsourcing and an overemphasis on financial services. Congressman Lipinski’s National Manufacturing Strategy Act will ensure Americahas a real debate about how to help Main Streetprovide jobs to our citizens and get away from taxpayer-funded bailouts for Wall Street.”

“We commend Congressman Lipinski for his authorship of H.R. 4692 and respectfully urge you to pass it into law,” said Scott N. Paul, executive director of the Alliancefor American Manufacturing. “There is no question that Americaneeds a manufacturing strategy to revitalize the sector that drives the rest of the economy. The case for a permanent capacity for strategic planning on our manufacturing base, evolving and innovating to make use of our workers’ skills and the latest technology as well as to respond to global trends, could not be stronger.”

“The question of whether a National Manufacturing Strategy is needed is crucial, but also simple to answer:  absolutely!” said Mark Gordon, Director of Defense Programs at the National Center For Advanced Technologies and a member of the Executive Committee of the Manufacturing Division at the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA). “There are many groups from government, industry, and academia which are chartered to further the domestic manufacturing agenda, but they are not strategic, senior, or sufficient enough to deliver the goal of H.R. 4692: a National Strategy for Manufacturing within the United States. NDIA and its members strongly endorse H.R. 4692, requiring the President to conduct a quadrennial National Manufacturing Strategy.”

The first Strategy would be due by February 2011, and subsequent Strategies would be submitted every four years by the end of February in the second year of each presidential term.  This four-year process is modeled on the Quadrennial Defense Review, and would allow policies to be updated and refined based on changing conditions and lessons learned. To aid policymakers, the Government Accountability Office would review the development and implementation of the Strategy, and the National Academies of Science would conduct periodic studies of manufacturing.

“One of the lessons of the financial crisis and the recession has been that you can’t build a healthy economy on borrowing, fabricated wealth, and services that do little to contribute to growth or to meeting essential needs,” Congressman Lipinski said. “This bill is a critical step toward rebuilding our economy on a firm foundation of real innovation and the production of essential goods. Americahas what it takes to remain the world leader in manufacturing. But at a time when other nations are focused on tilting the playing field in their favor – often unfairly – we need a plan to ensure we have the right programs and policies in place and that manufacturing receives the support it deserves.”


The following is Congressman Lipinski's opening statement during Wednesday's hearing.


The following is Congressman Lipinski's witness questioning during Wednesday's hearing.


(July 14, 2010