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Mr. KINZINGER of Illinois. I would like to thank Chairman Bono Mack for the time and her work in getting this bill to the floor.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act. It's an honor to stand here with my colleague from Illinois (Mr. Lipinski) in support of this forward-thinking, bipartisan legislation, especially at a time when Americans feel like Republicans and Democrats are unable to work together.
Mr. Speaker, the world is becoming more competitive, as evidenced by the recent report from the World Economic Forum announcing that the U.S. has fallen from first to seventh in global competitiveness. And I tell you what actually really gets to me is the fact that I feel like many Americans are starting to accept the fact that we are just going to lose our competitive edge and we're going to lose our manufacturing power base to a country like China. And I don't think that's something that we have to accept.
We've heard from the manufacturing base in this country. They need a simpler Tax Code. They need an education system that prepares students in math and science, trade policies that are open and fair, and regulations that protect the health and welfare of our citizens with the lowest cost on business. The purpose of this legislation is to build on the consensus and ensure government policies promote a competitive environment for manufacturers in the decades to come.
Mr. Speaker, we are the biggest economy in the world because of our manufacturing resources. We produce 21 percent of global manufactured goods, with an estimated 18.6 million jobs. Manufacturing jobs are some of the highest paying in our economy, with the average job making upwards of $77,000 annually. With the right policies in place, we can usher in a manufacturing renaissance in this legislation, and this legislation will help ensure our global competitiveness for decades to come.
Mr. Speaker, in Illinois alone, over 600,000 people are employed in manufacturing. This is an industry that's vital to the health of our economy and our national security. This Nation is blessed to have some of the hardest working and most innovative people in the world. When I go home to Illinois and I speak directly to a small or large manufacturer, they're ready to compete on the global stage, and they're ready to compete with China. They only need government to ensure that they are playing on a level playing field. That means fair trade, a simple tax policy, educated students, and the least burdensome regulations possible.
This legislation will bring together private sector and government leaders to create a manufacturing strategy that both Congress and the President can implement. It's time to get politics out of supporting the middle class. The American people are tired of stalemates. They're ready for action. They're ready for both parties to focus their energy on the people who elected them. Now is the time to act before this window of opportunity for a manufacturing renaissance passes us by. I'm proud of this legislation. I think it's a strong first step in finding solutions to help our Nation's economy. And I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
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