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Hearing of the Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee - Legislative Hearing


Location: Washington, DC

I would like to thank Chairman Upton, Chairwoman Bono Mack, and the members of the committee for holding this hearing.

The National Manufacturing Strategy Act, now retailored as the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, H.R. 5865, will bring the public and private sectors together to forge an actionable, bipartisan plan to revitalize America's manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing is critical for our nation. It is essential for national security, so that we don't need to rely on other countries for our defense. Successful manufacturers provide huge numbers of jobs -- while Facebook employs about 3,000 people, Boeing employs 172,000. Wages and benefits paid in manufacturing are one-third higher than for other jobs. Plus manufacturing has greater secondary effects in the labor market with each job supporting five others. And as the source of two-thirds of private sector R&D, manufacturing drives high-tech innovation. When we lose manufacturing due to outsourcing, we lose the ability to create the breakthrough technologies of tomorrow.

American manufacturing still has great strengths and potential. It boasts the highest productivity in the world, employs 11 million people, and produces $1.7 trillion annually. Encouragingly, U.S. manufacturing employment has increased by almost half a million recently. But after the loss of one-third of all U.S. manufacturing jobs over the past decade, we have a very long way to go. This bill will help create the domestic environment that is most conducive to America's private sector taking full advantage of our strengths to grow American manufacturing.

Last Congress, a similar version of this bill passed the House with very strong bipartisan support, 379-38. In this Congress, it has again attracted bipartisan support and backing from a variety of industry, labor, and other groups. In addition, conversations with members of the Subcommittee as well as committee staff have resulted in numerous beneficial changes to the bill. I want to especially thank Representatives Kinzinger and Pompeo for their work with me on this version of the bill.

This legislation creates a Manufacturing Competitiveness Board with strong private sector and bipartisan representation. The President will appoint the Secretary of Commerce, two state Governors of different parties, and two other former or current executive branch officials. Ten private sector representatives will be appointed by House and Senate leaders -- three by the majority and two by the minority in each chamber.

The Board will conduct a comprehensive analysis of the U.S. manufacturing sector, covering everything from trade issues to taxation to new markets and technologies. Based on this analysis, it will develop specific goals and specific recommendations for achieving those goals. Consolidation of government programs, regulatory reform, improved coordination between the public and private sectors, as well as actions by all levels of government, universities, and stakeholders are all contemplated under this legislation. The President's budget must state how it is consistent with the goals and recommendations of the strategy. The first strategy is to be completed in 2014 and the second in 2018.
Let me be especially clear on one point; this legislation is not about the government dictating anything to the private sector. It is about bringing the public and private sectors together to forge a bipartisan, consensus plan for action that produces an environment for American manufacturing to flourish.

America lost 6.2 million manufacturing jobs between 1998 and 2010. We must adopt smart policies that encourage innovation, entrepreneurialism, efficiency, and investment in American manufacturing. Passing this bill would be a good start.

When I'm home, my constituents keep asking me, as I'm sure yours do also, "what is Washington doing to help spur job creation?" This bill can be an important answer to that question. 78% of Americans favor a National Manufacturing Strategy, including 74% of Republicans, and 78% of Independents. Now many Americans don't think Congress listens and don't think we can work together to get anything accomplished. I hope we can get this common sense, bipartisan bill passed, and help America's manufacturers create the jobs we need.

I look forward to answering any questions you may have.

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