Bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) to require the development of a national strategy to revitalize American manufacturing and create good jobs was approved today by the Energy & Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade with the strong support and help of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).
The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, H.R. 5865, is the latest version of Rep. Lipinski's National Manufacturing Strategy Act, which passed the House with strong bipartisan support, 379-38, in the 111th Congress.
"American companies and their workers are operating at a severe disadvantage as they face foreign competitors who benefit from coordinated, strategic government policies that benefit manufacturing," Rep. Lipinski said. "We need to recognize this reality and bring the public and private sectors together to develop a national manufacturing strategy that specifies recommendations for the optimal tax, trade, research, regulatory, and innovation policies that will enable American manufacturing to thrive. Manufacturing is critical for national security, an essential source of good-paying jobs for the middle class, and drives high-tech innovation. This bill is a fully bipartisan document, and I believe that when the strategy is issued it could have as immediate an impact on U.S. manufacturing policy as the Rising Above the Gathering Storm report had on U.S. science policy when it led directly to passage of the America COMPETES Act. I want to thank Rep. Kinzinger, whose strong support, willingness to reach across the aisle, and help in shaping this legislation have been instrumental to moving it forward."
"There is no sector of our economy that is providing more highly paid and economically advantageous jobs than manufacturing," said Congressman Kinzinger. "Since coming to Congress, I've heard from manufacturers in my home state of Illinois about the importance of creating an environment that will allow American manufacturing to thrive in a global economy. We are on the brink of a new manufacturing renaissance in this country; the only barriers that pose a threat to this recovery would be government created. In an effort to eliminate these potential barriers, I'm proud to work with Congressman Lipinski to put forward bipartisan legislation that puts forward a long-term strategy to focus our attention on the challenges inhibiting our global competitiveness."
After a decade that saw the loss of 6.2 million American manufacturing jobs -- one third of the total -- we need a manufacturing strategy that leads to action, as called for by numerous organizations and individuals. That is why H.R. 5865 is designed to bring the public and private sectors and both parties together to forge an actionable plan to promote the success of American manufacturing. This legislation creates a bipartisan Manufacturing Competitiveness Board consisting of 15 members, five from the public sector appointed by the President -- including two governors from different parties -- and 10 from the private sector appointed by the House and Senate, with the majority appointing three and the minority two in each chamber. The Board will conduct a comprehensive analysis of the U.S. manufacturing sector, covering everything from trade issues to taxation, regulation, and new technologies. Based on this analysis, it will develop a strategy that includes specific goals and specific recommendations for achieving those goals. The first strategy is due in 2014 and the second in 2018.
Despite job losses and outsourcing, American manufacturing has many strengths and enormous potential. U.S. manufacturers are the world's most productive, employ 11 million people, and produce $1.7 trillion annually. With labor costs rising in China and cheap natural gas available here at home, many companies are considering moving factories back to the United States. Encouragingly, U.S. manufacturing employment has increased by almost 500,000 recently.
"Successful manufacturers provide huge numbers of jobs -- while Facebook employs about 3,000 people, Boeing employs 172,000," Rep. Lipinski said. "Plus manufacturing has greater spillover effects, with every job supporting numerous additional jobs. When we lose manufacturing due to outsourcing, we lose the ability to create the breakthrough technologies of tomorrow -- as occurred when consumer electronics manufacturing migrated to Asia and became the source of revolutionary battery technologies for hybrid and electric cars. Naysayers and pessimists might consider the case of Germany, where manufacturing labor costs are 25 percent higher than in the U.S., yet manufacturing employment basically held steady even as it plummeted by a third here. After a decade that saw Washington turn its back on manufacturing even as other countries sought to give their manufacturers every advantage, we need a national strategy that unleashes American manufacturing's potential."