WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) today announced the introduction of the bipartisan National Manufacturing Strategy Act of 2011, legislation aimed at bolstering the competitiveness of the American manufacturing industry. The U.S. House introduced similar legislation. By requiring the development of a national manufacturing strategy, the bill would boost traditional and high-tech manufacturing, spur American job growth, and strengthen the middle class.
“Manufacturing helped build our middle class and must lead our nation’s economic recovery,” Sen. Brown said. “If we’re going to out-compete and out-innovate other countries, it will require a national manufacturing strategy. The United States has been without one, and our economy has paid the price. We are seeing manufacturing help lead us out of the recession, but we need a sustained strategy to ensure long-term growth and job creation.”
“Manufacturing is the backbone of the U.S. economy,” Senator Kirk said. “Today, American manufacturing has fallen behind China as the world’s leading producer. This bill will establish a national roadmap to spur economic growth, create new jobs and keep us competitive in the global economy,” Senator Kirk said.
America has lost 5.5 million manufacturing jobs, or one-third of the total, over the last decade. With a per capita GDP of $47,400, the United States remains the world’s greatest economic power.
However, unless we increase our exports – in 2010, the U.S. trade deficit was $630 billion – then we will encounter new threats to a complete economic recovery. The U.S. ranked 4th in exports with about $1.27 trillion in exports last year, yet, we ranked first in imports.
In addition to the consequences for the middle class, the loss of manufacturing capacity harms national security by threatening America’s ability to independently equip its military. 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.
The National Manufacturing Strategy Act of 2011 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.
To ensure widespread support from both business and government, this bill would require the president to establish a Manufacturing Strategy Board of federal officials, two state governors from different parties, and private-sector manufacturing leaders. Every four years, the board would conduct a comprehensive analysis of the manufacturing sector – covering matters ranging from financing to trade to the defense industrial base. Based on this analysis and ample public input, the board would develop a strategy that includes specific recommendations to the President, Congress, and industry for bolstering American manufacturing. The board will also assess the implementation of its recommendations annually, and the nonpartisan Government Accountability Organization will conduct a separate review.