1. LATEST POLICY
Passed by Congress -- Omnibus appropriations bill with manufacturing priorities
Congress passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that featured many manufacturing priorities, including:
- The bill increases funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), to $130 million. MEP is the only public-private partnership dedicated to providing technical support and services to small and medium-sized manufacturers.
- Additional funding for the NSF’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) – a federal-state partnership that awards competitive funding to states to increase energy-related research investments.
- The bill includes language recognizing the importance of U.S. bio-manufacturing and directing the NSF to increase support for bio-manufacturing in its advanced manufacturing portfolio by dedicating at least $15 million to new bio-manufacturing initiatives.
More: Coons release
Passed by Congress -- National Manufacturing Strategy
Congress passed bipartisan legislation authored by Sens. Coons (D-DE) and Kirk (R-IL) to create a national manufacturing strategy. The bill was originally introduced in 2013 and would strengthen American manufacturing while not costing the federal government any money. “It’s time we catch up to our competitors around the globe and build a coherent, focused manufacturing strategy that can strengthen the middle class and make America the destination for 21st century manufacturing,” said Senator Coons.
More: Coons release
Introduced -- Trade Adjustment Assistance Act of 2014
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced legislation to extend a critical lifeline for workers who lose their jobs due to foreign trade. Brown’s bill would reauthorize the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program and expand its training and reemployment services to 2009 levels. According to the Department of Labor, approximately two million workers nationwide have relied on TAA since 1975 to make ends meet and receive training necessary to find a new job.
More: Brown release
Executive Action -- President Obama announces manufacturing action
President Obama announced nearly $400 million to help improve the competitiveness of American businesses and workers by spurring new manufacturing innovations and giving American workers additional opportunities to improve and expand their skill sets for middle-class jobs. The President announced:
- More than $290 million in public-private investment for two new Manufacturing Innovation Hub Competitions. These hubs will help support new advancements in manufacturing, and fulfill the President’s 2014 State of the Union pledge to launch four new institutes this year, for a total of eight institutes launched so far, and puts the Administration past the halfway mark on the President’s original goal of creating 15 manufacturing innovation institutes supported through executive action. The hubs will include:
- A Department of Defense-led Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The institute will focus on hybrid electronics that combine flexible materials with thin silicon chips to produce the next generation of electronic products seamlessly integrated into the things around us. The hub will combine $75 million of federal investment with $75 million or more of private investment.
- A Department of Energy-led Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute. This institute will focus on smart manufacturing, including advanced sensors, control, platforms, and models for manufacturing. The new institute will receive a federal investment of $70 million that will be matched by at least $70 million in private investments.
- $100 million to expand apprenticeships for American workers. Apprenticeships are a proven training strategy for workers to learn the skills that employers need for American businesses to grow and thrive in a competitive global environment. The Department of Labor will launch a $100 million competition that will award 25 grants to business, non-profit, and local government partners. The grants will help launch apprenticeships in new, high-growth fields, align apprenticeships with pathways to further learning and career advancement, and develop apprenticeship models that scale.
More: White House fact sheet
2. OTHER NEWS
Floor Speech -- Sens. Ayotte and Coons speak on Manufacturing Skills Act
Senators Coons (D-DE) and Ayotte (R-NH) took to the Senate floor to highlight bipartisan legislation they introduced to help cities and states build 21st century manufacturing training programs. The Manufacturing Skills Act will create a $100 million competitive grant program to support initiatives that strengthen the manufacturing workforce and address regional skills challenges. Sen. Coons stated, “Manufacturing is one of the great areas of opportunity for meaningful bipartisan cooperation that will move our country, our economy and our working families forward. … The bill has one simple goal which we share -- to spur reforms in manufacturing skills training across our country. … I'm convinced the United States is poised to really compete in the manufacturing economy of this century, but we still face key challenges in the job market for manufacturing.”
More: Ayotte release | C-Span video
News -- Sen. Brown tours Byer Steel, unveils new legislation
Sen. Brown visited Byer Steel Group in Cincinnati to tour the facility and unveil new legislation that would help level the playing field for American manufacturers by strengthening the ability of the U.S. to crack down on unfair foreign competition resulting from violations of trade law. The Leveling the Playing Field Act would ensure American companies have the resources necessary to fight back against unfair foreign trade practices. “As American manufacturing continues its steady comeback, it is critical that we fully enforce our trade laws to ensure that American companies – like Byer Steel – can compete on a level playing field,” Brown said. “That’s why the Leveling the Playing Field Act is so important. We must fight back against foreign companies’ efforts to weaken our trade laws and exploit loopholes.”
More: Brown release
News -- Sen. Baldwin testifies before International Trade Commission on behalf of Wisconsin manufacturer
Sen. Baldwin (D-WI) testified at a hearing of the International Trade Commission (ITC) on behalf of a Wisconsin paper company, Appvion of Appleton. Appvion is a pulp and paper mill that manufactures and sells coated paper products world-wide and employs 1,644 employees in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Sen. Baldwin addressed a 2008 antidumping investigation into imports of lightweight thermal paper from China and Germany. As a result of the investigation, antidumping duties were imposed on imports from Germany and China and countervailing duties were imposed on imports from China. The antidumping duties are due to expire, and the ITC heard testimony about how the domestic marketplace is impacted by dumping.
More: Baldwin release
News -- Sen. Shaheen gives speech on importance of STEM
Sen. Shaheen (D-NH) met with leaders of the University of New Hampshire’s Manchester STEM Discovery Lab where she delivered remarks on the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. “Initiatives like UNH’s STEM Ambassadors program put us on the right track for economic success,” Shaheen said. “Jobs in STEM fields are predicted to be the fastest growing occupations in next decade, and with continued investments and commitments to STEM education, we can make sure we have a homegrown talent supply that can drive our economy in the future.”
More: Shaheen release
News -- Sen. Murphy launches “Murphy’s Monday Manufacturer”
Sen. Murphy (D-CT) launched a new weekly series called “Murphy’s Monday Manufacturer”, in which one of Connecticut’s manufacturers is recognized each week. Sen. Murphy has recognized:
- Severance Foods, the largest manufacturer and co-packer of tortilla chips in the Northeast, with 90 employees.
- Xamax Industries, a global supplier of engineered products such as fibers, papers, and films, with 36 employees.
- Polamer Precision, a contract aerospace manufacturer that produces engine and airframe components, with 83 employees.
- Moore Engineering, a family-run manufacturing business that performs high precision Jig Grinding using family-developed machines, utilizes Electric Discharge Machines to create products for particular geometries, specializes in custom fixtures for aerospace applications, and even designs prototypes, with 4 employees.
- Specialty Metal Fabrications, a veteran-owned manufacturer of precision metal products with 30 employees.
- Carla’s Pasta, which produces pastas and pestos, with 171 employees.
- Alinabal Holdings, a diversified manufacturer that manufactures products for the defense, aerospace, industrial, recreational, and medical industries, with 325 employees.
More: Murphy release
News -- International Trade Commission imposes rebar duties
The International Trade Commission (ITC) determined that steel producers from Mexico and Turkey have caused economic harm to U.S. steel reinforcing bar (“rebar”) manufacturers. Mexico’s producers were found to be dumping rebar into the U.S. market, while Turkey’s producers were found to be unfairly subsidizing their rebar exports. Following the ITC decision, the Department of Commerce (DOC) will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect estimated duties for imports of rebar from Mexico and Turkey.
More: ITC release | Senate letter