Two items released this week indicate that top-level US government officials are focused on manufacturing.
First, an op-ed by Congressman Steny Hoyer, the House Democratic Whip, was published in the US News and World Report this week. The piece likens support for manufacturing to the sport of baseball saying both are important national traditions in US. “Congress,” Hoyer says, “needs to step up to the plate to make sure jobs remain at the forefront of its agenda by taking concrete steps to help our manufacturing sector expand and create opportunities for the middle class.”
Hoyer notes that Congress has passed a number of Made It In America bills and expresses enthusiasm about recent gains in the manufacturing sector. Still, he suggests that much more could be done by setting aside bitter partisanship and and taking action on four key steps: 1) adopt and pursue a national manufacturing strategy, 2) promote the export of U.S. goods, 3) encourage businesses to bring jobs and innovation back to our shores and train, and 4) secure a skilled workforce for the twenty-first century. To learn more about these initiatives, read Hoyer’s full op-ed here.
Also this week, President Obama released the first budget of his second term. According to the New York Times, the president’s plan for the country’s economic future is centered, at least in part, on manufacturing. In his budget, Obama sets aside $1 billion to create manufacturing “hubs” where businesses would partner with universities, federal agencies, and others to propel manufacturing forward. In addition, the president’s budget lays out a new tax credit to support communities with a manufacturing base and increases federal R&D spending. You can read more about the proposed budget on the White House blog. It is important to note, however, that Republicans are not altogether pleased with the proposal and experts say that much of the budget is unlikely to become law.