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Mr. BUTTERFIELD. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 5865, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2012.
The lead bipartisan cosponsors of this bill are two gentlemen from Illinois, Congressman Daniel Lipinski and my colleague on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Congressman Adam Kinzinger. I want to thank both of them for their work on this bill and, in particular, for working with me and Chairwoman Bono Mack to move this bill in a form that both sides can support.
H.R. 5865 aims to build upon the recent growth of the U.S. manufacturing sector with the end goal being the return of more and more individuals to stable and good-paying jobs.
Specifically, Mr. Speaker, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act requires the President to prepare and submit to Congress in 2014 and 2018 a national manufacturing strategy with assistance from the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Board established by the bill.
The board will be comprised of the Secretary of Commerce, State Governors, and officials from the executive branch, in addition to 10 individuals from the private sector appointed by the majority and minority leadership of the House and the Senate.
There is no more important issue to Americans than the ability to get and keep a job, provide for their families, and ensure that when their children grow up they too can succeed. This is the promise of the American Dream, and it's a promise that, despite the slow climb out of the deep recession caused by the reckless bets in Wall Street, that I and most Americans still believe in. Moreover, it's a promise that we here in Congress have been entrusted by our constituents to work towards by promoting initiatives and enacting policies that will lead to the creation of new jobs to replace and supplement those that have been lost.
This is something that the Obama administration has taken very seriously, and the administration has rightfully made growing the manufacturing sector a key element to getting Americans back to work. This has also been a priority of the House Democratic leadership through its Make It In America policy initiatives.
And we are seeing results, Mr. Speaker, we are seeing results. Over the past 2 years, the manufacturing sector has added more than 450,000 jobs.
That is worth repeating. Over the past 2 years, the manufacturing sector has added more than 450,000 jobs. Not since the Clinton administration has this sector seen such fast growth.
In my own State of North Carolina, we know all too well about the loss of manufacturing jobs, but those jobs have begun to return. And we are feeling it and we are seeing it. North Carolina is the fifth largest manufacturing State in the country and the largest in the Southeast. Our manufacturing sector provides about $80 billion to our GDP--roughly 20 percent of the total. The nearly 11,000 manufacturing companies in North Carolina employ almost 15 percent of the total workforce, and well over half a million of these jobs pay more than $65,000 annually.
American manufacturing is primed for a renaissance. The House Democrats' Make It in America agenda provides even greater opportunities for success. Several of these initiatives have already become law, including bills that cut taxes and create loans for small businesses, speed up the patent process, and lower the cost of raw materials and help to end tax loopholes so that companies are discouraged from shipping jobs overseas.
Mr. Speaker, in the 111th Congress, House Democrats led efforts to support American clean-energy firms, invest in job-training partnerships, and hold China accountable for unfair currency manipulation that cost us in America very precious jobs. When more products are made in America, more families can make it in America. The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act promises to build on and complement the Obama administration's efforts and our efforts to grow manufacturing in the United States of America.
Mr. Speaker, I support this bill. I thank my colleagues on the other side of the aisle for their cooperation with bringing this to the floor and getting it for a vote today. I thank not only the chair and the ranking member of the full committee, but the chair of our subcommittee, who works with us on so many of these important issues.
I reserve the balance of my time.
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