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Letter to Barbara Mikulski, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee

U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.), sent a letter Friday to the chairwoman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies in support of continued funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program. The MEP is a nationwide network of resources that enables manufacturers to compete globally, and provides access to information, training, and technologies. Funding for the MEP supports local programs like the Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership (DEMEP), which has proven to be an invaluable tool for helping companies weather tough economic times.

"Adequate funding for the MEP in Fiscal Year 2013 will allow the existing MEP Center network to continue to create jobs and respond to future challenges and opportunities in the manufacturing sector," the senators wrote. "Demand for MEP services is greater than ever, but state governments are facing budget shortfalls and cutting back the amount they provide to existing MEP centers, which are in need of these scarce funds to provide critical resources, serve new and existing clients, and create job growth."

Senators Carper and Coons were joined by 32 of their colleagues on the letter, including Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y), Susan Collins (R-Maine), David Vitter (R-La.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Scott Brown (R-Mass), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ben Cardin(D-Md.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

The text of the letter follows:

March 22, 2012

The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski, Chairman
The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Mikulski and Ranking Member Hutchison:

Thank you for your support of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program in the past. While we are not requesting a particular figure for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we are writing to express our strong support for the program, particularly its ability to help create jobs in these difficult economic times, and we request that you provide the MEP with adequate funding for FY 2013.

The MEP is the only public-private program dedicated to providing technical support and services to small and medium-sized manufacturers. The MEP is a nationwide network of proven resources that enables manufacturers to compete globally, supports greater supply chain integration, and provides access to information, training, and technologies that improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

Adequate funding for the MEP in Fiscal Year 2013 will allow the existing MEP Center network to continue to create jobs and respond to future challenges and opportunities in the manufacturing sector. Demand for MEP services is greater than ever, but state governments are facing budget shortfalls and cutting back the amount they provide to existing MEP centers, which are in need of these scarce funds to provide critical resources, serve new and existing clients, and create job growth.

The MEP program's well-documented impact is substantial. In Fiscal Year 2010 alone, MEP projects with small and medium-sized manufacturers created or retained over 60,000 jobs, generated more than $8.4 billion in sales, and provided cost savings of more than $1.3 billion.

At a time when economic recovery is our national priority, the MEP continues to be a wise investment. We urge you to provide adequate funding to the MEP center network for Fiscal Year 2013, and thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Tom Carper
U.S. Senator Chris Coons


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