Today at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, President Obama returned his focus to jobs and the economy, launching a series of speeches at the site he first laid out his economic vision as Illinois’ junior senator in 2005. His speech, while cautioning against the hyper-partisan atmosphere in Washington, D.C. these days, incidentally seemed to stoke those flames.

It’s an understatement to say that things aren’t going great right now. Despite President Obama’s comments that the economy is back, the numbers don’t quite share the same optimism. Growth is slower than it should be, manufacturers have seen job loss in four consecutive months, and it’s clear that the current policies aren’t working. The President’s call for sustainable economic growth is laudable, but as Dana Milbank of the Washington Post notes, his address seemed to lack any new ideas or proposals. The status quo just isn’t cutting it right now – and manufacturers have a suggestion.

Adopt the NAM’s Growth Agenda – a blueprint for economic growth. It’s a thoughtful, commonsense approach to reducing the burdens on our manufacturers in the U.S. that would provide the President with the tools he’s seeking to get our economy out of the mud. We agree that economic growth must be Washington’s highest priority – let’s make it so by putting pro-growth policies first. Growing our domestic energy production advantage, including approving the Keystone Pipeline, is one such policy – hopefully we won’t see it under attack yet again with the substitution of politics for policy.

Building up our nation’s infrastructure, improving STEM education and enacting comprehensive immigration reform are fundamentally necessary to ensuring manufacturers in the U.S. can compete and we share the President’s resolve to see those priorities become a reality.

President Obama’s determination to see a thriving manufacturing sector is admirable and we appreciate that manufacturing has been a verbal centerpiece of his plans – but manufacturers need action. We’ll be watching carefully to see if any comes out of this speech tour.

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