MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY COMPETITIVENESS ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - September 21, 2005)
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Mr. PASCRELL. Madam Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Gordon), the ranking member, and the gentleman from New York (Chairman Boehlert). I rise to express my support for a comprehensive Federal manufacturing policy. I have been calling for this for at least 10 years. This is necessary. This is important.
This bill is doing more today to stimulate the economy than anyone realizes. We have been gimmicked on both sides of the aisle about how we are going to get people back to work. This is real. This is not reality TV. I want to associate myself with the words of my good friend, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Ehlers). He has hit the nail on the head. If we do not deal with this now, we will be so far behind we will never be able to catch up.
Members have to admit, not here on the floor, of course, that the manufacturing czar was a joke, was an absolute joke. I am not impressed with the fact that the National Association of Manufacturers supports this bill because they were at the throttle when New Jersey lost 40 percent of its manufacturing jobs since 1990. They were there as the guardians, and they did absolutely nothing, zero.
The Larson amendment, which will be offered later, would create a meaningful Under Secretary of manufacturing and technology. I plead with Members, I think this is a good move, not a bureaucratic move. I think it is important that we send a message to the entire Congress of the United States.
I am a native of Paterson, with one T, New Jersey. The gentleman has one in New York with two T's. I deeply understand the value of working with one's hands and the value that a manufacturing base can bring to individual communities. Paterson was founded by none other than Alexander Hamilton. It is interesting, as a Democrat I became a Hamiltonian.
Looking back, we find that things have not changed so much in the past 2 centuries. In his day, Hamilton urged Congress to promote manufacturing so the United States could be independent of other nations for military and other essential supplies. Once we have lost the manufacturing apparatus, our ability even to manufacture weapons, weapons, diminishes. God forbid if we ever get to that point, but we are talking about two gentlemen here. What you are talking about is critical, very critical to the economic base of this Nation. Unfortunately, a lot of the meeting is not listening because this is not a sexy enough subject. It is only about jobs.
Hamilton also rightly foresaw the importance of a diversified economy. Remember the battle with Jefferson? Jefferson wanted to continue this as an agrarian society for the rest of the 18th and 19th centuries. It was impossible. We need a diversified economy. We cannot rely solely on an agrarian economy, and we cannot rely on the service sector. That has not worked.
As I said, we have lost over 40 percent of our jobs. New Jersey, New England, the Midwest, the whole Nation needs a manufacturing administration to step up to the plate, to focus on the ways we can keep a thriving manufacturing sector from all angles. I think this is important to homeland security. We need to discuss that more often.
We must have an agency dedicated to addressing some of our failed trade policies and the outsourcing of American jobs. Some of that outsourcing is good. Some of it is horrible. Service jobs, such as part-timing the American working force, and even we are paying for the folks that work at Wal-Mart whether they are full-time or part-time. We are picking up their medical services. This is a cost to the taxpayers of this country never mentioned. The middle class is paying for health services for these people. The loss of manufacturing jobs is leading to an erosion of the middle class with more families seeing their salaries and quality of life decrease.
This bill does some very good things. I ask that we support the amendments that are going to be put forward and also the Larson amendment. Let us make the bill a little better, and I want to thank the chairman and the ranking member. They are ahead of their time, but we need to catch up with what has happened in the past 20 years.
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