WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) led a bipartisan group of ten U.S. Senators in sending a letter to President Obama today urging the adoption of a national manufacturing policy.
"The loss of manufacturing plants and jobs has stifled economic opportunity for middle class families and compromised our ability to compete in the 21st century economy," the Senators wrote. "We are convinced that the recovery and long-term health of our economy depend on a strong, competitive U.S. industrial manufacturing base," the Senators wrote.
"Manufacturing helped build the middle class and must play a critical role in our economic recovery," Brown said. "The manufacturing industry provides good-paying jobs and has a strong multiplier effect. We're one of the only industrialized countries without a national manufacturing policy, and we're paying the price for it. We need to help manufacturers access credit so they can expand operations and hire new workers. We need to ensure domestic manufacturers can compete globally. And we need to help manufacturers retool so they can produce the components we'll need to address 21st century energy and national security challenges."
The Senators expressed support for the basic approach laid out in the Obama Administration's "A Framework for Revitalizing American Manufacturing."
"We need a multi-industry strategy to propel job and economic growth, one that deploys federal resources and private-public partnerships to promote emerging manufacturing opportunities," the Senators continued. Elements of an integrated policy strategy include "developing a highly skilled and productive workforce, investing in new and emerging technologies, ensuring stable capital markets, providing support for communities in transition, strengthening infrastructure, improving market access for U.S. exports, and fostering entrepreneurial talent."
The letter was signed by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Jack Reed (D-RI), Carl Levin (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
The full text of the letter can be found below.
"Now more than ever, a national manufacturing plan is needed to ensure the security and the stability of not only millions of American jobs, but of our entire economy," Dodd said. "A strong American economy depends on a strong American manufacturing base. I look forward to working with the President and his administration, as well as with Senators on both sides of the aisle, to implement a strong and comprehensive manufacturing policy."
"Given that manufacturing supported approximately 18.6 million jobs in the United States last year, it is clear that, despite the prognostications of some, American manufacturing is not dead," Snowe said. "Yet because of the unique challenges the sector faces, it is more critical than ever that we invest in a comprehensive policy to revitalize the industry. I hope that the letter my colleagues and I are sending to the President today will spur his Administration's urgent action to put into place critical policies that encourage manufacturers to invest in new plant equipment, create well-paying jobs, and help turnaround our struggling economy."
"The secret to any successful economy is to have a vibrant manufacturing industry that will create jobs," Stabenow said. "At the end of the day, we must build and grow things in America. We need a 21st century manufacturing strategy that will support businesses that invest in advanced manufacturing, promote a level playing field on trade, and provide our workers with the resources they need to compete in a global marketplace."
"We need to make manufacturing and the solid middle-class jobs it creates a top priority. We can't bring back every manufacturing job that has been lost over the last half century, but I hope the Administration can do a better job going forward of encouraging job growth here at home," Reed said.
"I look forward to working with the President on this long-overdue framework for American Manufacturing, which will be critical for Michigan and the nation," Levin said. "Our manufacturers aren't competing with companies abroad; they are competing with countries that aggressively support their manufacturers. We need to do the same."
"We've lost nearly 6 million U.S. manufacturing jobs in last decade. As a result, our nation's industrial base and technical expertise is eroding. We must act now to regain our competitive edge by developing a national strategy to strengthen our manufacturing base," Bingaman said. "Doing so will allow us to position the United States as a leader in the development of clean energy technologies, creating innovative jobs, while helping solve some our most challenging energy problems."
March 1, 2010
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
The global economic crisis poses new challenges to American manufacturing. The U.S. manufacturing sector is the world's largest, but it will not remain so unless our nation acts, and acts now, to reverse its decline. The loss of manufacturing plants and jobs has stifled economic opportunity for middle class families and compromised our ability to compete in the 21st century economy. Indeed, for the last several decades, administrations have passed up critical opportunities to formulate a rational and comprehensive manufacturing policy. Continued apathy will undermine our country's ability to achieve energy independence and place our military readiness at risk.
We are convinced that the recovery and long-term health of our economy depend on a strong, competitive U.S. industrial manufacturing base. Therefore we appreciate your release late last year of "A Framework for Revitalizing American Manufacturing." The framework represents a thoughtful approach to recognizing manufacturing's importance to the middle class, our energy security, and our national defense.
In particular, we agree with many of the basic strategies for reinvigorating U.S. manufacturing as outlined in Section III of the framework. Developing a highly skilled and productive workforce, investing in new and emerging technologies, ensuring stable capital markets, providing support for communities in transition, strengthening infrastructure, improving market access for U.S. exports, and fostering entrepreneurial talent are all significant elements of an integrated policy strategy.
Without an adequate commitment of resources and coordination among every executive branch department, we are afraid that the tenets of this framework may not be appropriately fulfilled. We would therefore respectfully request additional information about how the Administration is putting these strategies to work, including specific goals, detailed initiatives supporting those goals, and performance measures to help ensure continuous progress.
We recognize that moving forward promptly to support manufacturing companies and workers can speed America's recovery. Historically, the manufacturing sector has led the American economy out of recession. For instance, the auto industry contributed significantly to the economic recovery following the recession of the early 1980s. Today we need a multi-industry strategy to propel job and economic growth, one that deploys federal resources and private-public partnerships to promote emerging manufacturing opportunities.
Today, nothing is more imperative than putting Americans back to work. We believe it will take a coordinated effort to assist America's entrepreneurs, innovators, and workers by advancing policies that enhance U.S. manufacturing, increase U.S. competitiveness and export opportunities, and protect the quality of life for all Americans.
We look forward to working with you to promote U.S. manufacturing on behalf of working families and the manufacturers who employ them, and in support of our nation's continued global leadership.
Sherrod Brown Lindsey Graham
Christopher J. Dodd Olympia J. Snowe
Debbie Stabenow Thad Cochran
Jack Reed Carl Levin
Robert P. Casey Jeff Bingaman
Recently described as "Congress' leading proponent of American manufacturing," Brown has been working to establish a national manufacturing policy. As Chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy, Brown held a series of hearings examining ways to rebuild U.S. manufacturing and strengthen our nation's middle class. Among these hearings were (1) "Manufacturing and the Credit Crisis," which evaluated challenges manufacturers face in the current recession; (2) "The U.S. as Global Competitor: What Are the Elements of a National Manufacturing Strategy," which examined how best to establish a national manufacturing policy; (3) "Restoring Credit to Manufacturers," which investigated the challenges U.S. manufacturers face in the current recession; and (4) "Weathering the Storm: Creating Jobs in the Recession," which outlined priorities to stimulate job growth and expand manufacturing.