WASHINGTON D.C. – A bipartisan group of ten U.S. Senators sent a letter today to President Barack Obama urging the adoption of a national manufacturing policy.
"The loss of manufacturing plants and jobs has stifled economic opportunity for middle class families and compromised our ability to compete in the 21st-century economy," the Senators wrote. “We are convinced that the recovery and long-term health of our economy depend on a strong, competitive U.S. industrial manufacturing base," the Senators wrote.
The Senators also expressed support for the basic approach laid out in the Obama Administration's "A Framework for Revitalizing American Manufacturing."
"We need a multi-industry strategy to propel job and economic growth, one that deploys federal resources and private-public partnerships to promote emerging manufacturing opportunities," the Senators continued. Elements of an integrated policy strategy include "developing a highly skilled and productive workforce, investing in new and emerging technologies, ensuring stable capital markets, providing support for communities in transition, strengthening infrastructure, improving market access for U.S. exports and fostering entrepreneurial talent."
The letter was signed by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Jack Reed (D-RI), Carl Levin (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
"Manufacturing helped build the middle class and must play a critical role in our economic recovery," Brown said. "The manufacturing industry provides good-paying jobs and has a strong multiplier effect. We're one of the only industrialized countries without a national manufacturing policy, and we're paying the price for it. We need to help manufacturers access credit so they can expand operations and hire new workers. We need to ensure domestic manufacturers can compete globally. And we need to help manufacturers retool so they can produce the components we'll need to address 21st-century energy and national security challenges."
"Given that manufacturing supported approximately 18.6 million jobs in the United States last year, it is clear that, despite the prognostications of some, American manufacturing is not dead," Snowe said. "Yet because of the unique challenges the sector faces, it is more critical than ever that we invest in a comprehensive policy to revitalize the industry. I hope that the letter my colleagues and I are sending to the President today will spur his Administration's urgent action to put into place critical policies that encourage manufacturers to invest in new plant equipment, create well-paying jobs and help turnaround our struggling economy."
"The secret to any successful economy is to have a vibrant manufacturing industry that will create jobs," Stabenow said. "At the end of the day, we must build and grow things in America. We need a 21st-century manufacturing strategy that will support businesses that invest in advanced manufacturing, promote a level playing field on trade, and provide our workers with the resources they need to compete in a global marketplace."
"We need to make manufacturing and the solid middle-class jobs it creates a top priority. We can't bring back every manufacturing job that has been lost over the last half century, but I hope the Administration can do a better job going forward of encouraging job growth here at home," Reed said.
"I look forward to working with the President on this long-overdue framework for American manufacturing, which will be critical for Michigan and the nation," Levin said. "Our manufacturers aren't competing with companies abroad; they are competing with countries that aggressively support their manufacturers. We need to do the same."
"We've lost nearly 6 million U.S. manufacturing jobs in last decade. As a result, our nation's industrial base and technical expertise is eroding. We must act now to regain our competitive edge by developing a national strategy to strengthen our manufacturing base," Bingaman said. “Doing so will allow us to position the United States as a leader in the development of clean energy technologies, creating innovative jobs, while helping solve some our most challenging energy problems."