WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), recently described as ldquo;Congress’s leading proponent of American manufacturing,” today praised the Obama Administration’s announcement of a new framework for revitalizing U.S. manufacturing. Since 2001, Ohio has experienced two times the job loss in manufacturing as the rest of the country.
In June, Brown met with Pres. Obama for a one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office where he urged the creation of a national manufacturing policy and outlined the tenants of a plan that would expand manufacturing and rebuild our middle class.
In response to today’s announcement, Brown issued the following statement:
“Manufacturing is critical to the strength of our nation and the future of our middle class. After numerous conversations with President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Senior Counselor on Manufacturing Policy Ron Bloom, I am encouraged that the administration is invested in the future of American manufacturing.
“While the public and private sectors are creating a demand for new industries like wind, solar, high-speed rail, and medical IT, we need to do more to ensure that we make these products in America. The Obama Administration’s framework released today is a significant step for domestic manufacturing and a departure from years of neglect that previous administrations wrought on our nation’s manufacturing sector.
“The proposals outlined in the framework can help stem the loss of jobs and create new jobs for American workers by investing in 21st century technologies. But in order to provide manufacturers with the tools they need to create jobs, we need policies that do not just stimulate consumption – we need to stimulate production.
“Like so many others, I have been concerned about recent reports that a planned Texas wind farm receiving more than $425 million in Recovery Act funds is expected to create more than 2,000 manufacturing jobs in China. The Texas joint venture is only one of many projects directed toward clean energy vying for taxpayer money that could be used to create manufacturing jobs overseas.
“That is why I welcome the administration’s support for raising the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit cap to $5 billion. I have shared draft legislation with the administration and Senate leadership that would increase the cap and help ensure taxpayer dollars go toward domestic job creation. I will work with my colleagues to pass this authorization.
“The foundation of our economy cannot be on mouse-clicks alone. In the interest of our economic competiveness, our national security, and the strength of our middle class, we need to produce the technology of the 21st century. That means helping manufacturers and auto parts suppliers retool for the clean energy economy and investing in our nation’s workforce so we are prepared to not just invent, but produce the technology that the world demands.”
Brown, chair of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy, has been working with the Obama administration on the creation of a national manufacturing policy. Brown wrote Vice President Biden outlining the need for a robust national manufacturing policy. In his letter, Brown outlined five key area of focus to invest in 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.
Brown had also been calling for a high-level position to ensure that federal policy-making supports job creation in our nation’s manufacturing sector. Following the president’s appointment this fall of Ron Bloom as Senior Counselor on Manufacturing Policy, Brown praised the decision and continues to meet with Bloom.
In September, Brown joined President Obama in visiting the Lordstown General Motors plant to meet with Ohio workers. Brown has been working on behalf of Lordstown to ensure the plant’s future success and production of the fuel efficient Chevy Cruze. Brown also recently convened 15 Northeast Ohio manufacturers for an industry roundtable at AK Steel’s Mansfield plant to discuss challenges the industry currently faces.
Over the past year, Brown held a series of Subcommittee on Economic Policy hearings examining ways to rebuild U.S. manufacturing and strengthen our nation’s middle class. Past hearings have 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; (4) "Restoring Credit to Manufacturers," investigating the challenges U.S. manufacturers face in the current recession. Most recently, Brown’s hearing “Weathering the Storm: Creating Jobs in the Recession.” outlined priorities to stimulate job growth and expand manufacturing.
Brown is also fighting to ensure that our nation’s trade laws work for domestic manufacturing and American workers. This year, Brown has testified twice before the International Trade Commission (ITC) on behalf of Ohio workers affected by excessive imports. More information about Brown’s advocacy can be found HERE and HERE. The Senator is the author of the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act of 2009, legislation that would give the federal government more authority to address trade barriers. The legislation would require 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. In November, marking the ten-year anniversary of the World Trade Organization (WTO) demonstrations in Seattle and the Nov. 30-Dec 2 WTO ministerial in Geneva, Switzerland, Brown reintroduced the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment (TRADE) Act, which he first proposed last year. Brown’s bill would revamp U.S. trade policy by mandating trade pact reviews, establishing higher standards, protecting workers in developing nations, and restoring Congressional oversight of future trade agreements.
Since 2007, Sen. Brown has held more than 140 roundtables and met with Ohioans to develop strategies to improve the competitiveness of Ohio manufacturing. Brown is a leading proponent of expanding U.S. manufacturing through clean energy production. This summer, Brown introduced 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. Brown’s legislation 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.