1. LATEST POLICY
Sens. Warner, Blunt Lead Coalition in Introducing Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation
U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) led a bipartisan coalition of eleven Senators in introducing legislation to establish a new infrastructure financing authority to help states and localities better leverage private funds to build and maintain the nation’s outdated infrastructure. The Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment (BRIDGE) Act helps to address the nation’s alarming investment shortfall in maintaining and improving our transportation network, water and wastewater systems and energy infrastructure. The legislation would provide an additional financing tool for states and localities to create new jobs here at home while also increasing our nation’s economic competitiveness.
More: Warner Release
Senate Passes Murphy ‘Buy American’ Amendment to Boost American Manufacturing
The U.S. Senate passed US Senator Chris Murphy’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that will increase Congressional oversight of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) by requiring more transparency about DoD’s overuse of Buy American Act waivers through the “overseas use” loophole in the law. This Buy American Act loophole currently allows federal agencies to use American taxpayer dollars to purchase goods or services from foreign companies—more than $5 billion worth last year—to the detriment of American businesses.
More: Murphy Release
Peters, Stabenow, Alexander Introduce Vehicle Innovation Act
U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), along with Lamar Alexander (R-TN), introduced the bipartisan Vehicle Innovation Act (VIA) to promote investments in research and development of clean vehicle technologies that will create more fuel efficient vehicles, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and support American auto manufacturers. The Vehicle Innovation Act reauthorizes the Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Program, which works with light duty automobile and medium and heavy duty commercial truck manufacturers and suppliers to conduct research and development to improve fuel efficiency in vehicles.
More: Peters Release
Schakowsky, Durbin and Brown: Tax Credits should go to Companies that Invest in American Workers, Not Ship Jobs Overseas
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Sen. Dick Durbin (IL) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH) introduced the Patriot Employer Tax Credit Act, a bill that would provide a tax credit to companies that provide fair wages and good benefits to workers while closing a tax loophole that incentivizes corporations to send jobs overseas. The loophole costs the U.S. Treasury approximately $50 billion each year at a time when outsourced jobs and stagnant wages force more American families to turn to safety net programs to make ends meet. The bill is cosponsored by Representatives Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Bobby Rush (IL-01) and Senators Jack Reed (RI), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Bernie Sanders (VT) and Tammy Baldwin (WI).
More: Schakowsky Release
Sen. Markey & Rep. Neal Partner to Create Jobs Rebuilding Crumbling Infrastructure, Boost Investment in Local Projects
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) today introduced the Bolstering Our Nation’s Deficient Structures (BONDS) Act, legislation that would create jobs helping to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure. The BONDS Act provides financing tools to state and local governments to help build bridges, roads, schools and other local critical infrastructure projects. Patterned after the successful Build America Bonds program created in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the BONDS Act would allow a state or local government to issue a bond to make a public investment while the federal government provides a subsidy to that state or local government to help pay the interest on the bond. The BONDS Act will revive the Build America Bonds program and make it permanent.
More: Markey Release
Hirono Authors Clean Energy Legislation
Senator Mazie K. Hirono introduced a package of energy bills this week that highlight her commitment to spurring innovation and investment in clean energy in Hawaii and across the country. Included in this package is the Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act (S. 1263)that will help small and medium sized clean technology businesses find new markets in the United States and around the world by creating a Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Fund administered by the International Trade Administration.
More: Hirono Release
Kaine Reintroduces Middle STEP Act to Create CTE Pilot Program in Middle Schools
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, along with U.S. Senators Mark Warner, Barbara Boxer, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Bob Casey, introduced the Middle School Technical Education Program (Middle STEP) Act that would expose middle school students to CTE programs focused on career exploration.
More: Kaine Release
Merkley, Cartwright Introduce Bill to Create Green Jobs, Boost Manufacturing
Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA) announced the introduction of the Job Creation through Energy Efficient Manufacturing Act in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would create jobs and save money for manufacturers by putting people to work retrofitting manufacturing facilities to be more energy efficient.
More: Merkley Release
2. OTHER NEWS
Competitiveness Caucus Launches: Bringing Congress Together to Make America More Competitive in the 21st Century
The hallmark of our nation’s economy has long been the ability of anyone with creativity, ambition and a good work ethic to realize their dreams and move America forward. From the light bulb to the iPhone, the legacy of American invention has shone brightly throughout the world. Yet while our culture of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit remain strong, the policy framework that empowers that spirit to flourish is losing its competitive edge. We now find ourselves at a competitive inflection point. We can either do more to nurture and take advantage of our strengths — only some of which we’ve mentioned — or we can fall behind in the 21st century. In order to support our competitive strengths, we’re launching the bipartisan Senate Competitiveness Caucus, a forum to bring together Democrats and Republicans to address the most pressing issues facing our economy.
More: Roll Call
Export-Import Bank's Cloudy Future Raises Worries of Job Losses
To kill the Export-Import Bank, all that House Republican leaders opposing it have to do is let the bank's charter expire Tuesday — and they are leaving Friday for the Fourth of July recess without even holding a vote to reauthorize it.The 81-year-old federal agency that helps companies sell their products abroad has been a prime target of conservatives, who want to reduce the size of government and eliminate what they call crony capitalism. Shutting the bank's tap, though, also would eliminate tens of thousands of jobs, say business executives, trade groups and the Obama administration.
More: LA Times
How Best to Measure an American-Made Auto?
This week, Cars.com released its annual American-Made Index, which rates – you guessed it – just how Made in America many popular car models are. What ranked at the top? The Toyota Camry, which is assembled in Kentucky and Indiana. That stands in contrast to another list, produced by American University’s Kogod School of Business, that attempts to answer the same question. The 2015 Made in America Auto Index determined that the most American-made car out there was a six-way tie between a number of GM models – the Buick Enclave, Cadillac CTS, and Chevrolet Corvette among them. So why the discrepancy? The difference is in the details.
More: Alliance for American Manufacturing Post
Five Contentious Issues In Upcoming UAW Talks
Contract talks between the Detroit automakers and the United Auto Workers union get underway next week. Here are five contentious issues to watch as the talks head toward a Sept. 14 contract expiration date.
Don’t Blame the Robots for Lost Manufacturing Jobs
In a recent blog we described new research by George Graetz and Guy Michaels that shows the impact of automation technology in productivity statistics. So now there is good evidence that robots are a driver of economic growth. However, this new evidence poses a question: Has productivity growth from robots come at the cost of manufacturing jobs?
More: Brookings Institute
The Skills Gap? More Like the Grand Canyon
These days, getting accepted into Harvard University is slightly easier than finding an industrial maintenance technologist to troubleshoot a complex machine communication problem. In 2013, according to U.S. News and World Report, Harvard had an acceptance rate of 5.7 %. But if you put to work all recent industrial technology maintenance grads, you’d only fill 5.5 % of the available jobs in five of the leading manufacturing states, says James Wall, executive director of the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS).
More: Industry Week