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Public Statements

American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Ranking Member Butterfield, for yielding and for your support on this bill.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 5865, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, a bipartisan bill that I introduced to boost American manufacturing.

This bill represents what the American people want us to be doing, working together in a bipartisan manner to advance policies that promote the creation of good-paying jobs for middle class Americans.

I want to thank Representative Kinzinger for being willing to work with me across the aisle to bring this bill to the floor. I also want to thank Chairwoman Bono Mack as well as Representative Pompeo for their work on this bill. Mr. Manzullo was just on the floor. I want to thank him for the work he's done to advance manufacturing, the work we've done together in the 8 years that I've been in the Congress with him.

In addition, I want to thank Democratic Whip Hoyer for his steadfast advocacy of Make It in America policies.

Manufacturing is a linchpin of our Nation's economy. It provides the American middle class with a source of quality jobs making everything from the goods we rely on for everyday needs, to the equipment that we need for national security.

But in the first decade of the century, American manufacturing took a hard hit. Almost one-third of American manufacturing jobs disappeared. After 110 years as the world's top manufacturing Nation, America got knocked off its perch by China.

I have seen the devastation in my district and across northeastern Illinois. And I get frustrated, just like countless other Americans do, when I go to the store and I cannot find the words ``made in the U.S.A.'' on any product.

Some say this is inevitable but it does not have to be. While we have been seeing signs of a resurgent American manufacturing sector, with jobs increasing by nearly half a million in the past few years, we still have a long way to go.

America relies on the entrepreneurial spirit of private enterprise. There is no doubt there would be no American manufacturing base without the innovators and the risk takers. The great growth in American manufacturing in the 20th century would have been impossible without the hard work of the middle class.

But it is also clear that the government interacts with and affects manufacturing in countless ways. From tax and trade, to regulation, to research, education, and workforce development, government policies have a significant effect on our manufacturers.

That is why we need a comprehensive, coordinated strategy promoting American manufacturing. While many other countries--China, India, Germany, to name a few--have developed manufacturing strategies, the United States manufacturing policy is uncoordinated and largely ad hoc. If we want American manufacturing to compete and succeed in a global economy, it is vital that we develop a strategy to coordinate our policies that impact manufacturers. And that is exactly what this bill does.

Based on the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon's policy planning process, this bill proposes that every 4 years we convene a group of manufacturing experts from the private and the public sectors. This group, assembled from appointments made by congressional leaders and the President, will analyze domestic and global economics and propose recommendations to Congress, the President, States, and industry, to pursue to make all the types of American manufacturing more competitive.

At the end of the day, this bill is about setting aside politics and implementing policies that will create an environment conducive to the flourishing of American manufacturing, which is vital for middle class American jobs and is vital for our national security.

If we continue to muddle through without a coordinated plan, government will still be impacting manufacturing, but in an uncoordinated, often inefficient, and sometimes wasteful manner.

After a couple of tough decades, I still have a number of small and medium-size manufacturers in my district in northeastern Illinois. One of these is Atlas Tool & Die of Lyons, Illinois, a 94-year-old family-owned business. The director of development for the company, Zach Mottl, said this about H.R. 5865:

As a business owner, I know planning is critical. 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.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to come together today and help start forging this strategy by passing H.R. 5865, and we can all look forward to proudly seeing the ``Made in the USA'' label on more shelves and in more showrooms.


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