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 by unanimous voice vote with the strong support and help of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). The committee's approval sets up an expected House vote on the bill.
The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, H.R. 5865, is a revised version of Rep. Lipinski's National Manufacturing Strategy Act, which passed the House with strong bipartisan support, 379-38, in the last Congress.
"Not much is getting done in Congress right now, and almost nothing is getting accomplished to help the middle class," Rep. Lipinski said. "That is why I am especially proud to have moved this bipartisan bill forward in order to commit our nation to boosting manufacturing and growing jobs. In my home state, manufacturing employment is up by 40,000 since 2010, marking the first time the industry has really added jobs in Illinois since 1998. Yet we have a very long way to go to get back the factory jobs we lost during the 2000s, as American companies and workers face foreign competitors who benefit from coordinated, strategic policymaking by their home governments. We need to recognize this reality and bring the public and private sectors together to develop a bipartisan national strategy to revitalize American manufacturing. Manufacturing is critical for national security, an essential source of good-paying jobs for the middle class, and drives high-tech innovation. I fully expect that the House will pass this bill soon, and that when the strategy is issued it will have the support and momentum needed to give American manufacturing a decisive boost. I thank Rep. Kinzinger for his help in shaping this legislation and moving it forward as a member of the Energy & Commerce Committee."
H.R. 5865 will bring the public and private sectors and both parties together to forge an actionable plan to promote the success of American manufacturing. The bill 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 manufacturers remain 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. On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Illinois manufacturers added 4,800 jobs in May.
"In Illinois alone, 574,883 people are employed by the manufacturing sector," said Congressman Kinzinger. "This is an industry that folks in my district rely on and is one of the most vital components of our economic and national security.?At a time when 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, Washington must reduce the partisan gridlock and put forward a long-term strategy constructed by manufacturing experts who know best to focus our attention on the challenges inhibiting our global competitiveness. I look forward to continue working with Congressman Lipinski to bring this bipartisan legislation to the House floor."?
"As a business owner, I know planning is critical," said Zach Mottl, Director of Development for Atlas Tool & Die Works of Lyons, which has been owned by his family since 1918. "Plan, execute, review: that is the core of any good business model. Unfortunately, when an organization doesn't operate with a plan, what occurs is a plan to fail. Right now the United States is operating without a manufacturing strategy in a world where other countries are intensely focused on helping their manufacturers to compete. The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act will bring all sides and stakeholders together to forge a strategy with broad support and the momentum needed to produce action. I applaud Rep. Lipinski for his leadership in introducing this bill and thank Rep. Kinzinger for his efforts as well."
"One of the best kept secrets in Washington is that the decline of manufacturing has been a major cause of America's economic predicament," said Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. "The countries poised to compete successfully in today's global economy have strategies for sustaining vibrant, dynamic manufacturing sectors. The United States lacks such a strategy at great peril. With its broad, bipartisan support, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act should pass Congress easily. We can no longer delay taking an honest look at what we've lost already from our inattention to manufacturing. We must get moving on a plan to revitalize our industrial base, and the Act creates a vital framework for doing so."
"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 a 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 6.2 million jobs here -- one-third of the total. 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."