WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released the following statement tonight following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address:
“Tonight’s State of the Union address gave manufacturing the attention it deserves,” Brown said. “Manufacturing is the backbone of our economy, providing good-paying jobs and helping to lead our economic recovery. The auto rescue was not only critical to the Big Three, but to thousands of auto parts suppliers in Ohio. The next step is a national manufacturing strategy that enforces trade law, encourages clean energy innovation, and trains workers for emerging industries. Tonight’s speech helped lay the blueprint for a national manufacturing agenda that Democrats and Republicans can unite behind.”
Last year, Brown expressed dissatisfaction that the 2011 State of the Union Address didn’t focus enough on manufacturing. Brown called for a “real strategy” on manufacturing, and introduced The National Manufacturing Strategy Act of 2011. This bipartisan legislation, introduced with Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), would require the Commerce Secretary to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the nation’s manufacturing sector and submit to Congress a National Manufacturing Strategy. The goals of the Strategy are to increase manufacturing jobs, identify emerging technologies to strengthen U.S. competitiveness, and strengthen the manufacturing sectors in which the U.S. is most competitive. In 2010, Brown led a bipartisan group of ten U.S. Senators in a letter to President Barack Obama urging the adoption of a national manufacturing strategy.
Throughout 2011, Brown traveled around Ohio meeting with manufacturers, small business owners, and workers as part of his “Made in Ohio Tour.” Described as “Congress' leading proponent of American Manufacturing,” Brown has outlined six key imperatives for strengthening the manufacturing industry:
- Creating a business climate, through tax and health care policies, favorable to investment in manufacturing;
- Investing in the manufacturing capacity for national priorities such as clean energy and critical military equipment;
- Strengthening our component supply chains through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP);
- Matching dislocated workers with emerging industries through sector-based workforce training strategies;
- Making the research and development tax credit permanent to lend predictability to this crucial incentive for manufacturing innovation;
- Promoting exports and defending against unfair trade.
Tonight, the President outlined a “Blueprint for an America built to last,” supported by four pillars 1) American Manufacturing; 2) American Energy; 3) Skills for American Workers and 4) American Values.
Brown was joined at the President’s address this evening by Elizabeth Williams, a General Motors Lordstown autoworker and single mother of two. Earlier today on a news conference call, Brown discussed recent data compiled by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) showing positive projections for new employment in Ohio’s auto industry. Brown outlined how the auto assistance not only stabilized Chrysler and General Motors, but helped save and add manufacturing jobs throughout the State of Ohio.
Despite growth in the auto industry and overall manufacturing jobs growth for the past nine consecutive quarters, a recent National Science Board report showed a 28 percent loss of high-tech manufacturing jobs in the United States. American manufacturers, including the auto industry, face unfair foreign competition – particularly from China. Since the U.S. established permanent normal trade relations with China and China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, the United States’ deficit with China on auto parts trade has increased ten-fold, from $1.03 billion in 2001 to a projected $10.27 billion in 2011. Brown is urging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Currency Exchange and Oversight Reform Act, bipartisan legislation authored by Brown that represents the biggest bipartisan jobs bill—at no cost to U.S. taxpayers—passed by the Senate last year.