When it comes to rebuilding America’s manufacturing sector, there’s no shortage of ideas. What’s lacking, however, is the gumption to make those ideas a reality, assert supporters of the recently introduced “Manufacturing Jobs for America” legislation.
The package of 40 bills, coming from more than a dozen U.S. senators, focuses on skills training, credit access, fair trade and other measures that aim to grow the nation’s embattled manufacturing sector.
Supporters of the legislation include the National Association of Manufacturers, the AFL-CIO, the American Small Manufacturers Coalition, Ford Motor Co. and the United Autoworkers.
“Congress should be focused on creating jobs for our middle-class families, not fighting about shutting down the government,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. “That’s why I’m calling on Congress to pass the ‘Manufacturing Jobs for America’ package and help Oregon’s working families. Washington can and should do a lot to expand manufacturing, because if we don’t build things in America, we won’t have a middle class in America.”
The package includes:
- The “American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act,” a bipartisan bill that would require the development of a national manufacturing strategy.
- “Manufacturing Universities,” which calls for the designation of 20 “manufacturing universities” that would receive $25 million in grants to revamp their engineering programs to focus on manufacturing engineering and curricula related to target industries.
- The “FAIR Enforcement Against Duty Evasion Act,” which would create “know-your-customer” rules for customs brokers and implement other measures to crack down on foreign companies that smuggle products into the United States to avoid paying penalties for unfair trade practices.
- The “Bring Jobs Home Act,” which would grant a 20 percent tax credit to businesses for the costs of bringing offshore operations back to the United States.
On average, manufacturing workers earn 22 percent more in annual pay and benefits than workers in other industries, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. For every dollar in manufacturing sales, another $1.34 is added to the economy, according to the association.