Wall Street Journal
July 28, 2010
By Shayndi Rice
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--The U.S. House of Representatives passed a series of bills Wednesday that aims to bolster the country's manufacturing sector.
The legislation is part of House Democrats' "Make it in America" agenda, a plan to increase American jobs through manufacturing.
"'Make it in America' is not just about manufacturing in America. It's about succeeding in America," said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.), during debate on the House floor. "Americans have always looked to the manufacturing sector as a source of economic vitality and as a source of pride."
One of the bills would require the president to create a four-year national manufacturing strategy to advance the country's interests in the global economy. Another would address the trade deficit and a third attempts to boost the clean-technology industry in domestic and international markets.
"After 110 years as the world's top manufacturing country, the United States is about to lose that perch to China," said Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D., Ill.), sponsor of the National Manufacturing Strategy Act. "But American manufacturing job loss is not inevitable and I do not accept the notion that there's nothing we can do."
A senior Senate Democratic leadership aide said the Senate has no plans to take up the measures before the August recess. No decisions have been made as to whether or not the legislation would be considered once the Senate reconvenes in September, he added.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) has agreed to introduce companion legislation to the National Manufacturing Strategy Act, although she hasn't yet indicated when she will do so in the Senate.
Lipinski's bill passed 379 to 38. The other two bills were passed unanimously by lawmakers.
There are two other bills that are part of the "Make it in America" agenda which previously passed the House, a bill containing hundreds of tariff suspensions and reductions in an attempt help domestic companies and a bill that invests in workforce training.
In 2009, the manufacturing sector employed 11.5 million people, down from 17.3 million people 10 years earlier, according to lawmakers.
"There is no question that America needs a manufacturing strategy to revitalize the sector that drives the rest of the economy," said Scott N. Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, an industry group.
The bills had strong bipartisan support, although some Republicans said they don't go far enough.
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R., Ky.) urged the administration during the House debate to do more to help create American jobs, including ratifying treaties with Colombia and South Korea.