Upcoming in the House: Democrats’ Manufacturing Agenda

Speaker of the House Steny Hoyer (D-MD) joined other Democrats Thursday at a news conference to promote next week’s legislative emphasis on manufacturing, the “Make it in America” agenda. Rep. Hoyer issued a statement on next week’s agenda, and majority leader’s website now lists the bills that constitute it. Excerpt from the statement:

“Make it in America” is a new legislative initiative from House Democrats to increase American manufacturing and create new American jobs.  The American public strongly supports a renewed focus on American manufacturing. This effort builds on House Democrats’ actions since the start of the Great Recession to create jobs and lay the foundation for a strong economy.

“Make it in America” bills that have passed the House:  

“Make it in America” bills that are scheduled to come to the House Floor the week of July 26th, 2010: 

We thought it might be helpful to provide more context on the bills as well as the NAM’s position where applicable. On the already enacted legislation, then:

  • The U.S. Manufacturing Enhancement Act is H.R. 4380, the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, was introduced last December and recently given the new, manufacturing-evoking title. The National Association of Manufacturers supported passage with a “Key Vote” letter and lauded House action with a statement.
  •  The SECTORS Act is H.R. 1855, introduced by Rep. Dave Loebsback (D-IA) in April 2009, was referrred to committee, never had a hearing, and then re-emerged earlier this month for the floor vote. The bill authorizes the Department of Labor to award competitive grants for worker training in high-demand and emerging industries. The National Association of Manufacturers supports skills training, generally, but House action on this bill came unexpectedly.

On next week’s bills:

  • The National Manufacturing Strategy Act is H.R. 4692, introduced in February by Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Rep. Don Mazillo (R-IL), which calls for a review and development of a manufacturing strategy document every four years. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee held a hearing on the bill on July 12; the NAM issued a statement thanking the sponsors for the hearing and urging enactment of the NAM’s “Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America.”
  • The Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act  is H.R. 5156, introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) on April 27. The bill would create a $15 million fund to support the development of a National Clean Energy Technology Export Strategy and provide export assistance to companies that make “clean energy technology.” The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed it out on Tuesday.
  • The End the Trade Deficit Act is H.R. 1875, introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) on April 2, 2009. It was referred to the House Ways & Means Committee, which has not held a hearing on it. The measure establishes “the Emergency Commission To End the Trade Deficit to develop a trade policy plan to eliminate the U.S. merchandise trade deficit and to develop a competitive trade policy… “The President could not submit another trade agreement before the commission completed its report. This bill is new to us — no hearing? — and the NAM has not taken a formal stand. But the last thing the U.S. economy needs is another obstacle to trade expansion that surrenders foreign markets to our competitors; the United States consistently runs a trade surplus in manufactured goods with countries it has FTAs with.

So that’s the agenda, for now. Speaker Hoyer says more bills may be acted on.

The National Association of Manufacturers published an open letter to Congress yesterday anticipating the House focus and calling for action on the NAM’s “Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and American Competitiveness. Excerpt:

A strategy requires substance. It must do more than play at the policy margins. Accordingly, the NAM’s “Manufacturing Strategy” lays out the fundamental, essential policies manufacturers believe are necessary to improve America’s competitive position. On taxes, trade, energy and the environment, there are clear policy choices Congress can make to strengthen the manufacturing economy in the U.S. and create good, high-paying manufacturing jobs. Making other choices can cause harm.

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