AKRON, OH – Following a regional meeting of the White House Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) renewed his call for Congress to pass two pieces of legislation he introduced that would establish a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and punish countries that hurt American manufacturers by manipulating their currency. Today’s meeting in Akron featured University of Akron President, Luis Proenza; and United Steelworkers (USW) International President, Leo Gerard.

“Manufacturing is the backbone of Ohio’s economy,” Brown said. “For our state to continue creating jobs, we must build on the momentum of our local manufacturing hubs and create a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation. This would ensure the United States is at the forefront of advanced manufacturing, with Ohio leading the way. But as our trade deficit continues to widen, we also need to focus on leveling the playing field for American manufacturers and workers. We can create millions of jobs—without adding a dime to the deficit—by addressing currency manipulation.”

In September 2013, the Administration launched the AMP “2.0,” part of its continued efforts to ensure that the United States remains a global manufacturing leader through the partnership of industry, academia, and government. Brown was represented at its regional gathering by Sarah Lowry, his office’s Northeast Ohio Regional Representative. The meeting focused on promoting regional economic growth in the manufacturing sector by addressing job creation and workforce training; efforts to strengthen supply chains; and ways to solidify Ohio as a manufacturing leader.

In order to achieve each, Brown, along with U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), is the author of the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI). Their bipartisan legislation would establish a NNMI and create thousands of high paying, high-tech jobs. It would accomplish this by bringing together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies and all levels of government, to accelerate manufacturing innovation in technologies with commercial applications. Further, it would establish public-private institutes to leverage resources to bridge the gap between basic research and product development.

Brown’s call to create a NNMI recently gained momentum with the announcement of two new advanced manufacturing innovation institutes. The American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) will establish a unique public-private partnership jointly led by The Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and the Columbus-based Edison Welding Institute (EWI). The project is projected to create more than 10,000 jobs in the next five years. The institute is based on Youngstown’s “America Makes,” formerly the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII).

Brown also is the author of bipartisan legislation, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, which would use U.S. trade law to counter the economic harm to American manufacturers caused when countries unfairly undervalue their currency to give their exports an unfair price advantage. The bill would provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment—all without adding a dime to the federal budget.

In February 2014, Brown unveiled a new Ohio specific report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) which showed that cracking down on currency manipulation could:

  • Create more than 250,000 Ohio jobs;
  • Reduce Ohio’s unemployment rate by up to 2.7 percentage points;
  • Create up to 75,900 Ohio manufacturing jobs;
  • Increase Ohio’s Gross Domestic Policy (GDP) output by up to $17.4 billion; and
  • Raise up to $3.7 billion for Ohio and its local communities as output growth leads to increased tax revenues and spending reductions.

At the time of the bill’s introduction, Gerard said: “The bill would put the proper tools in the hands of the Administration and the American people to eliminate this most distorting of unfair trade practices, which in reality taxes products the U.S. wants to sell to other countries, while subsidizing a flood of exports to our shores from China and other countries.”

Brown continues to champion the cause of domestic manufacturing and its workers. Described as “Congress’ leading proponent of American Manufacturing,” Brown is a member of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, currently Vice-Chair of the Senate Auto Caucus, and was recently named incoming Chair of the Senate Steel Caucus.

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