WASHINGTON, D.C.—Seeking to strengthen the competitiveness of Iowa and American manufacturing, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and U.S. Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) today introduced the Rebuild American Manufacturing Act. Central to the legislation is the creation of a National Manufacturing Strategy aimed at spurring job growth, making American manufacturing more competitive, and rebuilding the manufacturing sector—all of which are critical to continuing our nation’s economic recovery. The United States is one of the only developed nations without a National Manufacturing Strategy.
“We cannot rebuild our economy without rebuilding manufacturing. A National Manufacturing Strategy puts the United States on par with our international competitors and would refocus our government’s attention on bolstering this vital sector,” Harkin said. “As a nation, we have gone too long without a strategy to ensure growth and competitiveness in manufacturing.”
“America’s economic strength was founded on making things, and when American manufacturing was at its peak, the middle class was growing and thriving,” Braley said. “Making sure the United States has a national manufacturing strategy that reflects the realities of today’s global economy will ensure that American manufacturers are able to stay competitive. When our manufacturing sector is strong, we can grow the economy and continue to strengthen the middle class.”
The number of direct manufacturing workers has fallen from nearly 20 million Americans in the late 1970s to less than 12 million today—Iowa alone lost approximately 48,000 manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010—and foreign countries like China are ramping up efforts to challenge American manufacturing. Manufacturing comprises almost 18 percent of Iowa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and manufacturing accounts for more than 200,000 Iowa jobs.
Harkin and Braley’s Rebuild American Manufacturing Act would require the President to establish a National Manufacturing Strategy every two years and submit that strategy to Congress. To do so, the Act requires the President to:
– Identify sectors and emerging technologies in which U.S. manufacturing can grow and be most competitive internationally
– Survey the policies currently in place across the federal government that impact U.S. manufacturing and compare those policies other countries have in place to support their manufacturing sectors
– Recommend policies and actions to support American manufacturing to Congress, including ways of improving policies and coordination of those policies at the federal level and learning from strategies that have been effective internationally