U.S. Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) today applauded the U.S House of Representatives for acting to pass the bipartisan American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2011, and called for the Senate to follow suit. Kirk and Brown are the co-authors of the Senate version of the legislation, which is aimed at bolstering the competitiveness of the American manufacturing industry. By requiring the development of a national manufacturing strategy, the bill would boost traditional and high-tech manufacturing, spur American job growth, and strengthen the middle class. Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-IL-3) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-11) were the lead House cosponsors.
"Manufacturing is the backbone of the U.S. economy," said Senator Kirk. "From farm equipment to medical devices, the manufacturing sector in Illinois provides jobs to thousands of workers. This bill provides our nation with an essential path to establishing a national manufacturing roadmap, which will spur economic growth, create new jobs and keep us competitive in a global economy."
"The United States has been one of the only industrialized nations without a national manufacturing strategy, and we have paid the price. The manufacturing sector is critical to our economic recovery, our energy security, our national defense, and the strength of our nation's middle class," Brown said. "We have a rich manufacturing legacy and a talented workforce--but we're at risk of this slipping away unless we develop a coherent national manufacturing strategy. This passage of the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act by the House brings our country one step closer to addressing this critical issue, and the Senate should act to clear this important bill as soon as possible."
America has lost 5.5 million manufacturing jobs, or one-third of the total, over the last decade. More than 60,000 factories closed. Yet over the past two years, the United States have finally bucked this trend with more than 520,000 manufacturing jobs created--the first steady increase since the 1990s. The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2011 would capitalize on this growth and require the Commerce Secretary to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the nation's manufacturing sector and submit to Congress a National Manufacturing Strategy. The goals of the Strategy are to increase manufacturing jobs, identify emerging technologies to strengthen U.S. competitiveness, and strengthen the manufacturing sectors in which the U.S. is most competitive.