Kudos to Congress


This week Congress has taken up an initiative that is very important to manufacturers everywhere in the country: expanding the talent pool of mathematicians, scientists, engineers and technical workers so important to the future of innovation in the United States.

This afternoon the U.S. Senate takes up S. 761, the America COMPETES Act, which, among other things, establishes a math, science and engineering fund within the Department of Energy, strengthens math and science teaching in public schools and increases advanced research projects. For a summary of the bill, click here. The House of Representatives is considering an innovation agenda this week as well.

This is all good and well. Over a year ago, NAM and The Manufacturing Institute allied with several other associations to hold The National Summit on Competitiveness: Investing in US Innovation. On December 6, 2005, more than 55 corporate CEOs, university presidents, and scientists from across the country participated in a day-long summit during which they pressed cabinet secretaries and members of Congress on key issues to keep the U.S. economy globally competitive. Many of the summit’s recommendations are included in the legislation being considered by Congress this week. For the eight-page report (and who attended), click here.

The price of inaction would be steep for manufacturing. About the same time as the summit made its recommendations and the President announced his American Competitiveness Initiative in his 2006 State of the Union address, the Manufacturing Institute issued a new report on the costs of inaction. Authored by economists Joel Popkin and Kathryn Kobe, US Manufacturing Innovation At Risk is a clarion call to avert a loss of the US manufacturing base. Anyone with an interest in manufacturing innovation should read this report. Click here for a summary.

It is timely for Congress to turn to this bipartisan issue and we know that manufacturers are supporting a quick consideration of this innovation agenda and a clean bill on the President’s desk as soon as possible.