Congress Moves to Establish National Manufacturing Strategy

'Make it in America' legislation touches on advancing technology and reducing trade deficit.

Three pieces of legislation, each designed to advance American manufacturing, were passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 28. The agenda, entitled, "Make it in America," addresses industrial strategy, clean-energy technology and the trade deficit.

One of the bills, the National Manufacturing Strategy Act, would have President Obama create a four-year national manufacturing strategy to advance the U.S. presence in the global economy. Two other bills that are part of the agenda had previously passed the House, one containing hundreds of tariff suspensions and reductions in an attempt help domestic companies, while another offered investments in workforce training.

"'Make it in America' is not just about manufacturing in America," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). "It's about succeeding in America. Americans have always looked to the manufacturing sector as a source of economic vitality and as a source of pride."

Though the legislation moved swiftly through the House, it has little chance of advancing in the Senate anytime soon. According to several reports, the Senate has no plans to take up the measures before the August recess. Nor is there any indication as to whether it would go up for a vote when the chamber reconvenes in September.

The National Manufacturing Strategy Act was passed by a margin of 379 to 38, while the two other bills were passed unanimously by lawmakers.

Still, some critics suggested that the legislation would have minimal impact so long as trade treaties with Colombia and South Korea remain stalled.

"Creating another commission, another strategy, another report falls far short of a solution," said Rep. Peter Roskam (R.-Ill.). What American manufacturers need, he said, is lower taxes.

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