American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:  Mary Bono Mack
Date: Sept. 11, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. BONO MACK. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 5865, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act.

Throughout our Nation's long history, a growing and robust manufacturing sector has helped to make America great. It's been a driving force in our economy since the Industrial Revolution.

But as our Nation has moved from the atomic age to the space age, the information age, manufacturing has not kept up, losing nearly 6 million American jobs since the beginning of the 21st century. Aging, rusting, and abandoned factories litter the U.S. landscape.

Statistics show the manufacturing sector was the hardest hit in terms of job losses during the Great Recession. While manufacturing accounts for just one-tenth of our Nation's jobs, manufacturing has suffered a third of our Nation's job losses.

We have a chance now to reverse this trend, and I applaud the hard work of Mr. Lipinski and Mr. Kinzinger in developing a bipartisan plan for improving manufacturing in the U.S.

I would also like to thank Chairman Upton, Ranking Member Waxman, and subcommittee Ranking Member Butterfield for their hard work in bringing this important bill to the floor for a vote.

The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act calls for two Presidential reports to Congress outlining the strategy for promoting growth, sustainability, and competitiveness in the manufacturing sector. The reports are due in April of 2014 and again in 2018.

Now, why is this so important? Well, for one thing, manufacturing has the highest job multiplier of any industry in our economy, producing $1.35 for every $1 in direct spending. Just as importantly, manufacturing is responsible for two-thirds of all private R&D spending in the U.S., and it drives technology innovation. But on the flip side, for every manufacturing job lost in America, another 2.3 jobs are also lost throughout our economy.

Here's the bottom line: If America is going to continue to lead the world in innovation, we must foster a more conducive environment for manufacturing.

H.R. 5865 establishes a manufacturing competitiveness board made up of 15 members. Five public sector members are appointed by the President, and the remaining 10 private sector members are appointed by House and Senate leaders. That gives both the executive branch and the legislative branch a shared role as well as a shared stake in making sure that this process is ultimately successful.

Mr. Speaker, H.R. 5865 is a sound, bipartisan approach to improving manufacturing in America, and I strongly urge its passage.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mrs. BONO MACK. Mr. Speaker, I just want to begin by thanking Mr. Lipinski for crossing the center aisle and coming to our side to offer his legislation and to work with us early on in the year, to stress to us how important it was for him. And I thank him for his willingness to work with us to make sure we could move this bill.

In closing, I just want to make one very important point, that this is not a top-down, government-knows-best approach to the problems facing manufacturing today. Instead, we're creating a public-private partnership that will help to develop a comprehensive, modern strategy--identifying impediments to manufacturing and providing much needed recommendations on how to create an environment that will once again allow American manufacturers to thrive.

While our goal is to produce an important economic blueprint for the future of America, these recommendations are not binding on Congress. H.R. 5865 will expand upon previous studies and reports on manufacturing by requiring a comprehensive analysis of factors affecting manufacturing. Those would include: the identification of redundant or ineffective government programs related to manufacturing; trade policy; energy policy; taxation; and the impact of Federal regulations on manufacturing and job creation.

This legislation appropriately gives the Manufacturing Board the flexibility it needs to do its job efficiently and expeditiously. The Board is not required to reinvent the wheel and restudy every single subject already examined by other government agencies and nongovernmental bodies, but the Board is specifically directed to consult with other Federal entities to avoid duplication of efforts. In the end, the Board will develop and publish for public comment a draft manufacturing strategy based on its analysis and any other information the Board determines is appropriate. This strategy will include both short-term and long-term goals for improving competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing, as well as recommendations for action.

Mr. Speaker, considering the importance of manufacturing in the American economy and to the future of our Nation, I strongly urge the adoption of H.R. 5865, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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