Sen. Brown Proposes Loan Program for Manufacturers

Crain's Business Cleveland

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown wants the government to make $30 billion in loans available to manufacturers to help them finance retooling and other improvements needed to make products related to clean and renewable energy.

Dubbed the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology Act of 2009, or IMPACT, the bill would set up a two-year revolving loan fund that manufacturers could access. The bill is aimed at companies now tied to auto manufacturing, many of which have seen their sales plummet by 50% or more as auto sales in the U.S. plunged from 17 million units in 2005 to a forecast of fewer than 10 million units sold this year.

In a conference call Wednesday with reporters explaining the legislation, Sen. Brown, a Democrat, said the program would be funded by the U.S. Treasury with $15 billion per year for two years. Those funds would be doled out to individual states on the basis of whether they have a plan for targeting high unemployment areas, supporting clean energy supply chains, and promoting and developing a skilled manufacturing work force.

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