Legislation introduced by Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) to require the development of a national strategy to revitalize American manufacturing and create good-paying middle class jobs was approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives with the strong support and help of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, H.R. 5865, passed with an overwhelming vote, 339-77. The House's approval sets up the opportunity for Senate consideration prior to the year's end.
"At a time when the political environment is highly polarized and Congress is not doing much besides bickering, I am especially proud to have moved this bipartisan bill forward in order to commit our nation to boosting manufacturing and growing jobs for the middle class," Rep. Lipinski stated. "Manufacturing is a linchpin of our nation's economy. It has provided the American middle class with a source of quality jobs, making everything from the goods we rely on for our everyday needs, to the equipment our national security depends upon. But in the first decade of this 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, when I cannot find the words "Made in U.S.A." on any products when I go shopping. Some say this is inevitable, but it does not have to be. I am very pleased that the House has passed this bill with a very large, bipartisan majority. I thank Rep. Kinzinger for working across the aisle and helping move this bill forward as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee."
H.R. 5865 will bring the public and private sectors together, along with members of both parties, to forge an actionable plan to promote the success of American manufacturing. The bill creates a bipartisan Manufacturing Competitiveness Board consisting of 15 members, five appointed by the president -- including two governors from different parties -- and 10 from the private sector appointed by the House and Senate, with the majority appointing three and the minority two in each chamber. The Board will conduct a comprehensive analysis of the U.S. and global manufacturing sectors, covering everything from trade issues to taxation, regulation, research, education, and new technologies. Based on this analysis, it will develop a strategy that includes goals and specific recommendations for achieving these goals. The first strategy is due in 2014 and the second in 2018. This quadrennial strategic approach is modeled on the Defense Department's policy planning effort, the Quadrennial Defense Review.
Despite job losses and outsourcing, American manufacturers remain the world's most productive, employing 11 million people and producing $1.7 trillion annually. With labor costs rising in China and cheap natural gas available here at home, many companies are considering locating factories in the United States. A coordinated manufacturing policy will help create the best possible environment for the private sector to take advantage of these opportunities and grow domestic manufacturing.
"According to the World Economic Forum, the United States has fallen from 1st to 7th in global competitiveness, reflecting an inability to do the things we need to do to support our manufacturing sector. Today's passage of the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Acts changes that. We sit on the brink of a manufacturing renaissance," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, lead Republican cosponsor of H.R. 5865. "We have the most productive workers in the world, the highest quality of products, and, now, an opportunity to support our manufacturing base for years to come by developing a long-term strategy. I am proud to have worked with Congressman Lipinski on this bipartisan legislation to increase our competitiveness and create high paying jobs that will rebuild the middle class," Kinzinger stated.
"As a business owner, I know planning is critical," said Zach Mottl, Director of Development for Atlas Tool & Die Works of Lyons, which has been owned by his family since 1918. "Plan, execute, review: that is the core of any good business model. Unfortunately, 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. I applaud Rep. Lipinski for his leadership in introducing this bill and thank Rep. Kinzinger for his efforts as well."
"One of the best kept secrets in Washington is that the decline of manufacturing has been a major cause of America's economic predicament," said Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. "The countries poised to compete successfully in today's global economy have strategies for sustaining vibrant, dynamic manufacturing sectors. The United States lacks such a strategy at great peril. With its broad, bipartisan support, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act should pass Congress easily. We can no longer delay taking an honest look at what we've lost already from our inattention to manufacturing. We must get moving on a plan to revitalize our industrial base, and the Act creates a vital framework for doing so."
"Having grown up in a neighborhood surrounded by manufacturing plants, I understand how important this industry is for middle class families and for communities," Rep. Lipinski said. "Not only do manufacturing companies provide huge numbers of jobs -- while Facebook employs about 3,000 people, Boeing employs 172,000 -- manufacturing has greater spillover effects, with every job supporting numerous additional jobs. When we lose manufacturing due to outsourcing, we lose the ability to create the breakthrough technologies of tomorrow -- as occurred when consumer electronics manufacturing migrated to Asia and became a source of revolutionary battery technologies. Naysayers should consider the case of Germany, where manufacturing labor costs are 25 percent higher than in the U.S., yet manufacturing employment basically held steady there at a time that we lost 6.2 million jobs here. After a decade that saw Washington turn its back on manufacturing even as other countries sought to give their manufacturers every advantage, we need a national strategy that unleashes this vital sector of the American economy."