A series of incentives aimed at helping manufacturing companies bring jobs back to America are included in an appropriations bill approved today in the House, according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA).
The annual spending bill that funds the departments of Commerce and Justice, as well as many of the nation's science programs, also includes a number of trade enforcement remedies that will help level the playing field for American companies competing against Chinese state-owned companies that are manipulating the market, Wolf said.
Wolf, chairman of the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations subcommittee that produced the bill, has long argued that restoring America's manufacturing sector is the key to creating net new jobs in the U.S. That is why he included $128 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program and $21 million for an Advanced Manufacturing competitive research program in the measure.
The bill also continues initiatives started last year to offer repatriation grants and loans to companies that bring jobs back to America and to companies that develop innovative technologies in the U.S. Similar language from last year's bill requiring the Commerce Department to develop repatriation task forces with members from the private and public sector also is in the fiscal year 2013 bill.
The bill includes a number of new trade enforcement remedies to help American companies engaged in a losing battle with Chinese state-owned companies that are manipulating the market and urges U.S. trade enforcement agencies to more aggressively monitor and take action, under the standards authorized by the World Trade Organization, against state-owned companies in China.
"Leveling the playing field will give American companies better opportunities to grow and hire new employees," Wolf said. "Chinese state-owned companies that are manipulating the market are one of the largest hindrances to job creation in the U.S."
In addition to the trade enforcement remedies and manufacturing incentives, the measure extends a "Buy USA" provision requiring departments and agencies receiving funding though the bill to purchase promotional material like T-shirts and hats from U.S. companies when practical.
The measure also requires the departments and agencies to report to Congress on all manufactured products they purchase or are purchased on their behalf that are not made in the United States. An interim review is due within 180 days of the spending bill becoming law; the final report is due no later than 365 days. The report will be shared with the president's Manufacturing Council and the administrator of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Wolf said.
"The "Buy USA' provision is just one small way we can help American manufacturers," said Wolf. "Anything the federal government can do to help restore the manufacturing sector in the U.S. should be done."
The $51.1 billion spending measure is 3 percent below the fiscal year 2012 spending level and 1.4 percent below the president's request, Wolf said. The bill recommends terminating 37 programs, at a savings of more than $300 million.
Differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill are expected to be hammered out this summer.
"The bill passed today reflects a delicate balancing of needs and requirements," Wolf said. "We have focused limited resources on the most critical areas: fighting crime and terrorism -- including a new focus of preventing and investigating cyberattacks -- and boosting U.S. competitiveness and job creation by investing in science, exports and manufacturing.
More information on the job creation initiatives included in the CJS bill can be found on Wolf's Web site at wolf.house.gov/jobs.
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