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Congress Passes Important Manufacturing Bills

December 16, 2014

The omnibus spending bill passed by the Senate on December 13 included two bipartisan manufacturing bills that would create a national manufacturing strategy and expand a national network of manufacturing innovation institutes. U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), a member of the Appropriations Committee and the leader of the Senate’s Manufacturing Jobs for America campaign, was a strong supporter and co-sponsor of both bills.
 
“American manufacturing has the ability to provide good jobs and drive strong growth far into the future,” said Senator Coons. “It’s time we catch up to our competitors around the globe and create the kind of national strategy and network of manufacturing innovation hubs that the most advanced economies have long boasted. The bipartisan manufacturing bills passed this weekend would take important steps to build a strong foundation for the 21st century manufacturing economy America’s workers and businesses deserve. As these bills’ passage shows, creating good manufacturing jobs continues to be something on which both Democrats and Republicans can strongly agree. I look forward to continuing to work hard with my colleagues in both parties to strengthen American manufacturing and our middle class.”
 
The bipartisan American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act was also sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL). The bill’s language was included in the omnibus package and will require the development of a national manufacturing strategy, boosting the traditional and high-tech manufacturers that employ nearly 12 million Americans. The bill was originally introduced in 2013 and would strengthen American manufacturing while not costing the federal government any money. When the President signs the omnibus into law, it will mark the eighth Manufacturing Jobs for America provision to become law.
 
The omnibus spending bill also included bipartisan manufacturing language fought for by Senator Coons and based on legislation sponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) to expand a national network of manufacturing innovation institutes. The hubs, modeled on the eight that the Administration has announced thus far, will bring together businesses, universities, and local public officials to conduct research, job training, and manufacturing all under the same roof, creating jobs and driving innovation.
 
The manufacturing industry contributes $2.1 trillion to the U.S. economy each year, and on its own would rank as the world’s tenth largest economy. Current federal programs and incentives support conditions for growth in the industry, yet there is no overarching national strategy. The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act sets goals for a U.S. manufacturing strategy and requires the Administration to analyze every four years factors that have an impact on manufacturing competitiveness.
 
Senator Coons is the leader of the Senate’s Manufacturing Jobs for America campaign, which has brought together 26 of his Democratic Senate colleagues to introduce 34 bills to strengthen American manufacturing. More than half of the bills have bipartisan support and eight initiatives will have been enacted into law once the President signs the omnibus. The campaign focuses on four broad areas:
•    Create a stronger 21st century workforce
•    Provide critical access to capital for growing manufacturers
•    Open up markets abroad
•    Create, for the first time, a national manufacturing strategy
 
With the passage of the omnibus spending bill, the goal of creating a national manufacturing strategy will become a reality.

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