Following President Obama’s State of the Union address Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) delivered the Republican address. Senator Rubio talked about the importance of the free enterprise economy to our nation’s prosperity and to the middle class. His remarks also addressed the concern that growing the size of government will increase taxes on many small businesses that will cost jobs and hurt economic growth.
Senator Rubio raised the concerns shared by many manufacturers of the need for reforms to our nation’s entitlement programs. The deal to avert the fiscal cliff in January failed to address these costly programs. If we are going to get our fiscal house in order these programs must be addressed.
Our nation’s growing energy sector represents a tremendous opportunity for manufacturers. According to Senator Rubio’s remarks, “One of the best ways to encourage growth is through our energy industry. Of course solar and wind energy should be a part of our energy portfolio. But God also blessed America with abundant coal, oil and natural gas.” Manufacturers use one-third of our nation’s energy supply and access to low cost sources of energy is critically important to our nation’s competitiveness. The continued development of shale gas can create one million manufacturing jobs by 2025.
Manufacturers throughout the country continue to struggle to find qualified and skilled workers. Senator Rubio addressed the need for a 21st century workforce. We must also tackle comprehensive immigration reform. Manufacturers must have access to the best workers at all skill levels in order to compete.
Finally, Senator Rubio called on Republicans and Democrats to come together to for the health of the nation and our economy. Manufacturers agree that we need bipartisan solutions. In fact, earlier today we released A Growth Agenda: Four Goals of a Manufacturing Resurgence in America which outlines the right policies that will transform our economy and help manufacturers create jobs. Manufacturing makes America strong, and we are committed to reducing the 20 percent cost differential to manufacture in the U.S. We hope to see concrete action from the Administration and Congress, the futures of the 12 million men and women in manufacturing are depending on it.