WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress works to develop a comprehensive jobs package, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy, held a hearing today outlining key priorities for growing new jobs and strengthening our nation’s manufacturing base. The hearing, entitled “Weathering the Storm: Creating Jobs in the Recession,” follows the president’s major speech yesterday underscoring the critical need to stimulate jobs in our economic recovery.

Brown convened a panel of expert witnesses including business leaders, venture capitalists, and economists to hear testimony on how to improve the hiring climate and create new jobs. Brown highlighted the necessity in responding now to the needs of middle class families, workers, and small businesses in the recession while also partnering with the private sector to invest in long-term economic growth and job creation.

“We cannot have an economic recovery without jobs,” Brown said. “We need to help Ohio small businesses gain access to credit so they can expand operations. We need to create new jobs in the manufacturing industry, which drives economic growth throughout our state. Through the right policies in Washington, we can help businesses put people back to work and create new jobs.”

Since 2007, Sen. Brown has held more than 140 roundtables, meeting with Ohioans to develop strategies to turn around the state’s economy.

Brown’s job creation plan focuses on small business, clean energy manufacturing, and trade enforcement.

In November, Brown introduced the Small Business Emergency Loan Relief Act, which would temporarily raise maximum amounts for loans administered by the SBA. Brown’s bill, aimed at unfreezing the credit market for small businesses, would increase the caps of loans administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Yesterday, in a major address on jobs, President Obama announced his desire to use remaining TARP funds to achieve the goals of Brown’s legislation.

Brown has also been leading the fight in Congress for federal investment in U.S. manufacturing to ensure future competitiveness and save or create good paying jobs. Brown is the author of the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act, which would establish a $30 billion Manufacturing Revolving Loan Fund to help small and mid-sized manufacturers transition to the clean energy economy through retooling. The bill would also expand the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) in order to help manufacturers access new export markets. The bill is estimated to have the potential to generate more than $100 billion in revenue for clean energy businesses and create 680,000 direct manufacturing jobs and nearly two million indirect jobs over five years.

Today’s hearing is the fifth in a series of Subcommittee hearings Brown has held to explore new ways rebuild the economy by investing in U.S. manufacturing and strengthening our nation’s middle class. Over the past year, Brown’s Subcommittee featured: (1) "Lessons from the New Deal", exploring how to apply New Deal era strategy to today’s economy, (2) “Manufacturing and the Credit Crisis,” evaluating challenges manufacturers face in the current recession; (3) “The U.S. as Global Competitor: What Are the Elements of a National Manufacturing Strategy", examining how best to establish a national manufacturing policy; and (4) "Restoring Credit to Manufacturers," investigating the challenges U.S. manufacturers face in the current recession.

The hearings have helped shape the Senator’s advocacy in Congress for the development of a national manufacturing policy and for a new direction in U.S. trade. Brown is a leading proponent to ensure that our nation’s trade laws are enforced to prevent job loss and incentivize domestic job creation. He is the author of the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act of 2009, legislation that would give the federal government more authority to address trade barriers that undermine American workers and domestic manufacturing. The bill would requires the U.S. Trade Representative to analyze trade barriers that have the most adverse effect on U.S. exports and employment and crack down on these unfair practices.

Testimony at today’s hearing featured Ray Leach, CEO, Jumpstart, Inc.(Cleveland, Ohio); Mr. Rick L. Weddle, President and CEO, The Research Triangle Park (Research Triangle Park, NC); Mr. Bruce Katz, Vice President, Brookings Institution and Founding Director, Metropolitan Policy Program; Heather Boushey, Senior Economist, Center for American Progress.