Southwest News Herald
Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd), joined by Sen. Mark Kirk and local manufacturing industry representatives, explained Monday that a bill requiring a national strategic plan for manufacturing he has been championing for years has become law.
Lipinski and Kirk, a Republican, made the announcement at the family-owned Atlas Tool &Die Co., 4633 S. Lawndale Ave. The congressman explained that the bipartisan legislation signed by President Obama last week is aimed at boosting domestic manufacturing and American jobs.
It requires that every four years the president work with public and private stakeholders to produce and publish a plan to promote manufacturing. At the same time, the president’s budget will have to contain an explanation of how the manufacturing strategy is being promoted.
“From my days growing up in Clearing, near Midway Airport, I have understood how important manufacturing is to good middle-class jobs, strong communities and America’s defense,” Lipinski said. “Since I have been in Congress, I have been relentlessly working to bring Washington around to understand that too, and producing policies that promote American manufacturing.”
He referred to a point made by former Cong. Don Manzullo, who said there are dozens of federal agencies and departments with little or no coordination between them.
Lipinski contended that this leads to duplication of services, as well as different areas of government working at cross-purposes and against each other, creating rules and regulations that hinder job creation.
“Failure to plan is a plan for failure,” said Lipinski. “We cannot allow our country to do this.”
The congressman noted that he began the research and drafting of the bill in 2009. Several times over the years, a version of the bill passed in the House, but died when it was not brought up in the Senate. He credited Cong. Adam Kinzinger (R-16th), the chief Republican sponsor of the legislation in the House, and Kirk for his leadership in the Senate, for ensuring that it survived this time around.
“This bipartisan bill shows that Washington is finally starting to get it, that manufacturing is good for America. Washington needs to promote policies that support manufacturing.”
“Manufacturing is the beating heart of our economy,” said Kirk. “The people of Illinois reflect the highest work ethic of the Midwest. It is these men and women who keep me optimistic about the future of Illinois and the country.
Kirk pointed out that components of military aircraft used in Afghanistan are manufactured at Atlas Tool &Die.
“This is an essential national defense component, keeping our personnel safe in Afghanistan, produced right here,”said the senator.
Lipinski explained that the first national strategic plan required by the new law will be done in 2018, in the second year of the new presidential term, and will follow the same schedule every four years.
He said there is no point in doing it any earlier as the Obama administration is ending, and it will give each new administration a year to prepare.
Zach Mottl, co-owner of Atlas and former chairman of the Technology &Machining Association of Illinois, noted that this legislation is the first of its kind since 1791, when Alexander Hamilton, as Treasury secretary, released his “Report on Manufactures.”
He said that TMA represents more than 1,000 companies and 30,000 employees in Illinois.
“This act creates a system and framework to plan, execute and review (national manufacturing goals).”
“We (at Atlas and the TMA) are so grateful for this bipartisan view. Together we have to talk about a long-term strategy and the success for the U.S. economy.”
Bill Hickey, president of Lapham-Hickey Steel in Bedford Park, also spoke at the press conference.
Both he and Mottl testified in favor of the bill on Capitol Hill.
“Manufacturing has been decreasing,”said Hickey. “There has been a 6 million loss (in jobs) over the past 15 years,”he said. “We didn’t have a strategy for manufacturing.
“What we’re going to do here is set an agenda and re-energize Main Street.”