If anyone thinks U.S. manufacturing isn’t relevant to our lives today, they should consider this report from the Alliance for American Manufacturers pointing to the battle against raging wildfires in the western states:
The Associated Press is reporting that the sole U.S. manufacturer of a device to spray airborne fire retardant is no longer in business. This means that while Air National Guard units currently possess Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFS), new MAFFS systems are no longer being made. This has led to concerns that future efforts to fight wildfires in the western U.S. may be hampered.
Meanwhile, says House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.):
Our overseas competitors are doubling down on investments in their workforces, in innovation and in providing the tools that nurture manufacturing growth. Not only are other countries surging ahead in the number of engineers and scientists they graduate, but they are pouring money into basic research and technology development.
Hoyer spoke today at the Center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington, D.C., to outline several “Make It in America” bills now before Congress that would provide incentives for corporations to stop outsourcing and bring the nation closer to creating a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation outlined by President Obama in March. (Check out the video of the full event here.)
Manufacturing “has been a bright star of our recovery,” Hoyer said, pointing to the half a million jobs manufacturing added to our economy since January 2010 and the fact it is driving the rise in U.S. exports.
As we’ve noted, the Bring Jobs Home Act provides a new tax credit for companies that bring jobs back to the United States. Congress is expected to take it up in the next week or so. Other bills Hoyer discussed include the Workforce Investment Act of 2012, which reauthorizes and modernizes the act to help close the gap between the talent manufacturers needs and the skill level of the U.S. workforce, and the Patriot Corporations of America Act that rewards companies that voluntarily meet patriotic standards, such as producing at least 90 percent of their goods and services in the United States.
Another bill worth noting is the ENFORCE Act, sponsored by Reps. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Bill Long (R-Mo.), which will help better prevent illegal imports and establish new procedures for investigating claims against foreign manufacturers for evading anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders.
Ultimately, the nation needs a comprehensive, long-term manufacturing plan. Congress is getting set to introduce a bill to implement Obama’s proposed Manufacturing Innovation Network because, as Hoyer quoted Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris:
We will not succeed without a comprehensive, national economic strategy.
No corporation can carry on successfully without a long-term national strategy—so why should the United States? Especially when other countries like China are mapping out their national manufacturing and innovation strategies for the long haul.
After all, as Hoyer said:
Greece does not have the resources to solve its fiscal problems. America does.