U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware

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  • Manufacturing Update for December 2014

    Manufacturing Jobs for America monthly manufacturing update



    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



    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

  • Manufacturing Update for September 2014

    Manufacturing Jobs for America monthly manufacturing update


    Introduced -- Creating Quality Technical Educators Act
    Senators Baldwin (D-WI), Kaine (D-VA), and Portman (R-OH) introduced the Creating Quality Technical Educators Act.  The Act creates a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher-training grant partnership to recruit and train high-quality CTE teachers.  The Creating Quality Technical Educators Act grant would foster partnerships between high-needs secondary schools and post-secondary institutions to create one-year teacher residencies for CTE teachers.  Through grants in the Higher Education and Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), many teacher residency partnerships already exist between post-secondary institutions and local schools to train prospective educators, but none are CTE focused.

    CTE teacher residencies created through the Creating Quality Technical Educators Act would target mid-career professionals in related technical fields, as well as recent college graduates, veterans or currently licensed teachers with a desire to transition to a CTE focus.
    More: Baldwin release

    Introduced -- Manufacturing Skills Act
    Senators Coons (D-DE) and Ayotte (R-NH) introduced the Manufacturing Skills Act, bipartisan legislation to help cities and states build 21st century manufacturing training programs.  The bill creates an annual $100 million competitive grant to support initiatives that strengthen the manufacturing workforce and address regional skills challenges.  Applicants will establish a local task force, consisting of leaders from the public, nonprofit, and manufacturing sector, as well as labor and education representatives, to apply for and carry out the three-year grant. A federal inter-agency partnership will review applications and award grants to the five states and five metropolitan areas with the strongest proposals.
    More: Coons release

    Announced -- President Obama announces new manufacturing hubs competition
    The President announced a new competition to award more than $200 million in public and private investment to create an Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute.  This is the second of four new institute competitions that will be launched this year. The competition will be led by the Department of Defense, which will award more than $100 million in federal investment to match $100 million or more in private investment.  The money will be used to build a new Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IMI) focused on Integrated Photonics.  Photonics covers all of the uses of light; applications include powering the internet, medical technology, and national defense. The Institute will focus on developing an end-to-end photonics ‘ecosystem’ in the U.S., including domestic foundry access, integrated design tools, automated packaging, assembly and testing, and workforce development.
    More: White House fact sheet


    News -- Manufacturing Day
    The President and Secretary of Commerce Pritzker visited Millennium Steel Service in Princeton, IN to celebrate Manufacturing Day.  Millennium supplies automotive grade steel sheet to Toyota and related parts makers.  Other cabinet members traveled across the country to discuss the importance of continuing to invest in American manufacturing, as more than 1,600 U.S. manufacturers opened their factories to the public.

    As part of Manufacturing Day, the White House and Department of Commerce released a “Digital Tour of American Manufacturing,” a new digital report that highlights the central role of manufacturing in laying the foundation for a new American economy.

    The Department of Commerce also released the Assess Costs Everywhere portal to help manufacturers evaluate the advantages of locating in the United States.  Developed with experts at Lausanne University, the tool helps manufacturers directly quantify the often hidden costs of lengthy, overseas supply chains.  The new inventory costs tool will be used across Commerce’s manufacturing extension centers, which already support more than 30,000 small and medium manufacturers each year.
    More: Manufacturing day | Digital Tour of American Manufacturing | Assess Costs Everywhere

    News -- Senators host briefing on Career and Technical Education
    Senators Baldwin (D-WI), Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH), co-chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, hosted a briefing and panel discussion on the current opportunities and challenges in aligning skills training with the needs of the 21st century workforce. The panel featured leaders from the education, business and government sectors in Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio and the U.S. Department of Labor who shared their perspectives on the best practices and policies for supplying employers with a skilled workforce and providing students with the training necessary to find employment.
    More: Baldwin release

    News -- Congressional briefing on NNMI
    Senators Brown (D-OH) and Blunt (R-MO) and Congressman Reed (D-NY-23) and Kennedy (D-MA-4) hosted a briefing on the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).  The briefing featured Commerce Secretary Pritzker and leaders from industry discussing the activities of the pilot Manufacturing Innovation Institutes and the role of the Revitalize American Manufacturing Innovation (RAMI) Act.
    More: Manufacturing.gov

    News -- McCaskill Op-Ed
    Senator McCaskill (D-MO) recently wrote an op-ed arguing that “it’s critical that Congress take bipartisan action to renew the Export-Import Bank.”  Senator McCaskill described the Ex-Im Bank as “[o]ne of the most import tools in [the] toolkit … which helps Missouri businesses boost jobs and gives them a competitive edge to succeed internationally.”

    As the Senator noted, “Export-Import Bank’s work is simple and incredibly valuable to American business. The Bank supports American jobs by helping to finance foreign sales of U.S. products through loan guarantees, direct loans, and credit insurance, all at no cost to taxpayers. The bank actually earns revenue for the Treasury, including more than $1 billion in 2013 alone. Since 2009, the Export-Import Bank has supported $188 billion in U.S. exports and 1.2 million American jobs. More than 3,400 small businesses rely on the bank to finance export deals

    In Missouri, the Export-Import Bank has supported $1 billion in exports from 96 Missouri companies since 2007. And nearly 85 percent of businesses supported by the Export-Import Bank are small and medium-sized businesses.”
    More: McCaskill Op-Ed 

    Report -- The Shifting Economics of Global Manufacturing
    A new report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) identifies the United States as a “rising global star” of manufacturing.  The report finds that “China’s estimated manufacturing-cost advantage over the U.S. has shrunk to less than 5 percent” and “[c]ost structures in … the U.S. improved more than in all of the other 25 largest exporting economies.”
    More: BCG report

    Manufacturing Jobs for America
    Manufacturing Update
  • Manufacturing Update for August 2014

    Manufacturing Jobs for America monthly manufacturing update



    International Trade Commission assesses duties on unfair imports of oil country tubular goods
    The International Trade Commission (ITC) voted to assess duties on unfairly traded imports of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) that materially injure the domestic steel industry. The ITC approval will result in additional duties being imposed on OCTG producers, preventing them from undermining the U.S. steel industry. In July, the Department of Commerce overturned an initial ruling and found that Korean producers of OCTG, like those in other countries, have been selling the product at less than fair value in the United States.  This vote by the ITC marks final approval of that finding.

    Several members of Manufacturing Jobs for America and other Senators had previously written to and testified before the Department of Commerce and ITC about the importance of preserving a level playing field for the U.S. steel industry. Following the final vote, several members of Manufacturing Jobs for America praised the ruling.

    • Sen. Donnelly (D-IN) said, “I am glad to see the International Trade Commission standing up for the American manufacturing industry and the Hoosier steel community in this final decision. Their ruling reinforces what I have been saying from the start—that American workers deserve a level playing field on which to compete.”
    • Sen. Franken (D-MN) said, "This finding is a victory for Minnesota's iron ore industry and the important jobs it produces.  American iron and steel producers and our workers can compete with anyone in the world on a level playing field.  But we can't accept when other countries dump their goods here at anti-competitive prices, undercutting Minnesota's producers."
    • Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) said, “This is a significant victory for hardworking miners in Minnesota and across the country, and I’m pleased that the ITC heeded our calls for action.  … These new penalties will help crack down on illegal trade practices and protect steelworker jobs.”

    More: ITC finding | Donnelly release | Franken release | Klobuchar release 

    OMB delays proposed “factoryless goods producer” revisions to NAICS
    OMB announced that it will delay a proposed revision to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) that would introduce the concept of a “factoryless goods producer.”  This would have counted manufacturing as domestic in the U.S. Census even if the manufacturing were conducted entirely overseas.  In July, Senators Brown (D-OH), Baldwin (D-WI), Cardin (D-MD), Coons (D-DE), Merkley (D-OR), Stabenow (D-MI), and Tester (D-MT), most of whom are members of Manufacturing Jobs for America, wrote to OMB Acting Director Deese to express their concerns about this proposed change.
    More: Brown release | EPI blog post



    Senators call on GAO to analyze federal manufacturing programs
    In a letter to Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, bipartisan group of Senators asked the Office to analyze federal manufacturing policies and provide recommendations for improvement.  The senators requested answers to a range of questions about the scope, effectiveness, and potential for redundancy of federal manufacturing programs and tax incentives.  The information will help to inform congressional and executive branch efforts to support the United States’ steadily recovering manufacturing sector. “Manufacturing plays a critical role in our country’s economy,” the senators wrote. “Accounting for nearly $2 trillion of our nation’s output, more than 12 million Americans are directly employed in manufacturing.”

    “Given the importance of manufacturing in the United States, it is critical that federal manufacturing policy be effective,” the senators continued. “However, because the sector is diverse, no one federal department or agency deals exclusively with manufacturing.”

    The letter was signed by Senators Coons (D-DE), Blunt (R-MO), Coburn (R-OK), Schatz (D-HI), Kirk (R-IL), Warner (R-VA), and Graham (R-SC).
    More: Letter | Coons release

    MJA Members demonstrate support for Ex-Im reauthorization
    A number of MJA members recently spoke in support of reauthorizing the Export-Import bank, highlighting manufacturers in their district’s supported by the bank.  The Export-Import Bank is set to expire September 30, after which it will not be able to issue new loans.

    • Senator Baldwin (D-WI) visited Marine Travelift and Dan’s Fish, two Wisconsin businesses that have been helped by Export-Import Bank investments.   “If American businesses have a level playing field, they can compete against anyone. The Export-Import Bank is an important tool that helps us create that level playing field, bringing fairness to global trade and supporting American businesses so they can create jobs and grow,” said Baldwin.
    • Senator Landrieu (D-LA) called on Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank in order to continue recent positive momentum on the U.S. trade deficit, which fell to a five-month low in July.  “The American energy revolution and strong pro-export policies continue to narrow our trade deficit. Now is the time to provide certainty to American businesses looking to ship their goods and services abroad by reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank,” Sen. Landrieu said.
    • Senator McCaskill (D-MO) met with executives and employees at Western Forms, a manufacturer of aluminum forming systems, to rally support for the job-creating benefits of the Export-Import Bank.  McCaskill heard from Western Forms employees on how their company had been positively impacted by the bank, and discussed ways the bank’s funding has allowed them to create jobs in Missouri and compete in the global marketplace.  “The Export-Import Bank is one of the most important tools available to help Missouri companies create jobs and succeed in the increasingly competitive global market,” said McCaskill.
    • Senator Shaheen (D-NH) visited Corfin Industries, WS Badger, and Mercury Systems to highlight how high-tech manufacturing and export opportunities can help businesses grow and create jobs.  “Export promotion has been a top priority of mine ever since my days as New Hampshire governor, and it will continue to be a priority of mine as we look for ways to boost our small businesses so they can create more jobs,” said Shaheen.

    More: Baldwin release | Landrieu release | McCaskill release | Shaheen release

    Sen. Brown visits local steel manufacturer
    Sen. Brown (D-OH) visited Warren Steel Holdings, where he outlined efforts to boost domestically-manufactured steel and keep Ohioans at work.  Earlier in the month, Sen. Brown had worked with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to reach a deal to put workers of Warren Steel Holdings back to work. “Manufacturing is a cornerstone of our economy and it’s making a comeback,” Brown said. “That’s why it’s so important to keep the momentum going, by enforcing trade policies that ensure our workers can compete on a level playing field.  We should also pass my bill that would ensure that American infrastructure projects use American-made steel.”
    More: Brown release

    Senators Warner and Mikulski visit Newport News Shipbuilding
    Huntington Ingalls Industries hosted Senators Warner (D-VA) and Mikulski (D-MD) for a tour of the company's Newport News Shipbuilding division. The visit provided the Senators an opportunity to meet shipbuilders and get a behind-the-scenes look at the defense industrial base and American manufacturing. Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin accompanied the Senators on the shipyard tour, which included a visit to one of the shipyard's submarine construction facilities where PCU John Warner (SSN 785) is under construction. Huntington Ingalls Industries designs, builds and manages the life-cycle of the most complex nuclear and conventionally-powered ships for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.  Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs more than 39,000 people operating both domestically and internationally.
    More: Warner press release

    Shaheen visits local training centers and manufacturer
    Sen. Shaheen visited River Valley Community College to highlight how job training programs like the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program can bolster economic opportunity for local manufacturers and help prepare students for high-skill careers. Shaheen also visited Pro-Cut International to highlight how expanding trade and exporting opportunities can help small manufacturers expand and create jobs.  Pro-Cut has taken advantage of the State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) to tap into new overseas markets and grow.
    More: Shaheen release

    Manufacturing Jobs for America
    Manufacturing Update
  • Manufacturing Update for July 2014

    Manufacturing Jobs for America monthly manufacturing update


    Passed by the House -- Department of Energy Laboratory Modernization and Technology Transfer Act
    The House passed H.R. 5120, the Department of Energy Laboratory Modernization and Technology Transfer Act of 2014, on suspension on July 22. The bill is a companion to the America INNOVATES Act (S. 1973), sponsored by Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). Both bills increase the flexibility of the national lab system, allow more flexibility to work with the private sector, and “vertically integrate” the Department of Energy’s energy and science research. H.R. 5120 was introduced by Reps. Hultgran (R-IL-14) and Kilmer (D-WA-6), and is cosponsored by Reps. Fattah (D-PA-2), Johnson (D-TX-30), Lipinski (D-IL-3), Lujan (D-NM-3), Lummis (R-WY), Nunnelee (R-MS-1), Smith (R-TX-21), Swalwell (D-CA-15), and Veasey (D-TX-33). 
    More: Kilmer press release 

    Presidential actions -- Improving workforce training
    A new White House report, compiled by Vice President Biden, details strategies for improving federal workforce training.  The report outlines new actions the Administration will take to strengthen program coordination and accountability, expand investment in apprenticeships and effective on-the-job training, and enable federal agencies to pilot promising new training models. The report includes examples of successful job training programs around the country and a number of steps the administration is taking to build on the progress Congress achieved by passing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  These steps include competitive grants, a job-driven checklist, improved information, and expanding on programs that have been proven to work.
    More: Ready to Work report 

    Approved out of Committee -- Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act
    The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology approved H.R. 2996, the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI), out of Committee by voice vote. RAMI is the House companion to Sen. Brown (D-OH) and Blunt’s (R-MO) National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), also known as the Hubs Bill.  Both bills bring together industry, academia, and government to accelerate manufacturing innovation and bridge the gap between basic research and product development.
    More: Markup 

    Introduced and voted on -- Bring Jobs Home Act
    Sens. Pryor (D-AR), Stabenow (D-MI), and Walsh (D-MT) introduced the Bring Jobs Home Act, which closes a tax loophole that pays for companies for moving jobs overseas.  It also provides a 20% tax credit to help companies with the cost of bringing jobs back to America.  The bill was cosponsored by Sens. Baldwin (D-WI), Blumenthal (D-CT), Coons (D-DE), Durbin (D-IL), Franken (D-MN), Hagan (D-NC), Klobuchar (D-MN), Markey (D-MA), McCaskill (D-MO), Merkley (D-OR), Reed (D-RI), Rockefeller (D-WV), Schatz (D-HI), Schumer (D-NY), Shaheen (D-NH), Udall (D-CO), Udall (D-NM), Warner (D-VA), and Whitehouse (D-RI). Sen. Stabenow said: "It's outrageous that, right now, American workers are paying through the tax code to ship their own jobs overseas. We need to close this indefensible loophole and instead start rewarding the companies that are doing the right thing and bringing jobs back to America.” The bill was brought to the floor at the end of July, but the Senate failed to agree to cloture to end debate.
    More: Stabenow release | Walsh release

    Introduced -- COMPETES Act
    Sens. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Coons (D-DE) introduced the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014.  The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Durbin (D-IL), Nelson (D-FL), Pryor (D-AR), and Markey (D-MA). The COMPETES Act extends and enhances federal investments in cutting-edge research and education.  The bill builds on the America COMPETES Act of 2007 and its 2010 reauthorization. The legislation authorizes stable and sustained increases in R&D funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).   The bill also promotes the economic benefits of promising R&D and addresses agency efforts to increase participation in STEM fields, particularly among women and minorities.
    More: Coons release

    Introduced -- Manufacturing Universities
    Sens. Graham (R-SC) and Coons (D-DE) introduced bipartisan legislation to help schools strengthen their engineering programs to meet the growing demands of 21st century manufacturing. The bill would designate 25 universities as ‘Manufacturing Universities.’ Designated schools would receive $5 million per year for four years to meet specific goals, including focusing engineering programs on manufacturing, building new partnerships with manufacturing firms, growing training opportunities, and fostering manufacturing entrepreneurship. “It’s critical that our schools and universities equip students for success in manufacturing and contribute to the research and development that drives advanced manufacturing,” said Senator Coons.
    More: Coons release

    Manufacturing Jobs for America
    Manufacturing Update
  • Manufacturing Update for June 2014

    Manufacturing Jobs for America monthly manufacturing update


    Passed by the Senate -- Five Manufacturing Jobs for America bills in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

    The Senate passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) on June 25.  The bill includes five innovative skills-training provisions from the Manufacturing Jobs for America campaign to help prepare America’s workforce for the manufacturing jobs of the 21st century.  The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for approval. The bills included were:

    Adult Education and Economic Growth Act (S. 1400), sponsored by Sens. Reed (D-RI) and Brown (D-OH)
    WIOA includes key portions of S.1400, which seeks to increase investment in adult education, expand access to technology and digital literacy skills for adult learners, require better coordination and integration of adult education with state workforce development systems and postsecondary education, and strengthen English and civics education for new Americans. More: Reed press release

    America Works Act (S. 453), sponsored by Sens. Hagan (D-NC), Donnelly (D-IN), Heller (R-NV), Klobuchar (D-MN), and Schumer (D-NY)
    WIOA includes provisions from S. 453, which seeks to prioritize federal funding for job training programs that offer portable, national, and industry-recognized credentials. This reform would promote job-training programs that match the skills of workers with the needs of local employers, thereby training individuals for the jobs that are available in their communities right now.
    More: Hagan press release | Donnelly press release

    On-the-Job Training Act (S. 1227), sponsored by Sens. Shaheen (D-NH) and Cochran (R-MS)
    WIOA includes aspects of S. 1227 to significantly expand opportunities for on-the-job-training. WIOA requires state workforce investment boards to disseminate information identifying on-the-job-training opportunities and boosts incentives for employers to participate in on-the-job-training programs.
    More: Shaheen press release

    SECTORS Act (S. 1226), sponsored by Sens. Brown (D-OH), Casey (D-PA), Collins (R-ME), and Durbin (D-IL)
    WIOA includes provisions from S.1226 to require state and local Workforce Investment Boards to establish sector-based partnerships between employers, educators, and local workforce administrators to train workers for the most in-demand 21st century jobs.
    More: Brown press release

    Community College to Career Fund (S. 1269), sponsored by Sens. Franken (D-MN), Begich (D-AK), Durbin (D-IL), and Schatz (D-HI)
    WIOA includes aspects of S.1269 to create partnerships between businesses and schools that facilitate effective job training.
    More: Franken press release 

    Executive Action -- Presidential actions to revitalize manufacturing
    The administration announced new federal actions and new commitments from Mayors and other local leaders to invest in manufacturing. New actions announced include:

    ‘Mayors Maker Challenge’
    More than 90 Mayors and local leaders committed to the ‘Mayors Maker Challenge’ to expand access to physical locations and new manufacturing and prototyping equipment in their communities, spur manufacturing entrepreneurship, and inspire young people to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering.

    Streamlining access to $5 billion of advanced equipment in over 700 R&D facilities
    The Administration will help manufacturing entrepreneurs access $5 billion worth of advanced equipment in federal R&D facilities that they may use to develop new technologies and launch new inventions.  For example, entrepreneurs might access NASA’s National Center for Advanced Manufacturing to produce the high-strength, defect-free joints required for cutting-edge aeronautics.

    Expanding investment in the Materials Genome Initiative
    Five federal agencies will invest more than $150 million in ground-breaking research to support the Materials Genome Initiative, upping the Administration’s investment in the manufacturing of advanced materials.  The Materials Genome Initiative is a public-private endeavor that aims to cut in half the time it takes to develop novel materials that can fuel advanced manufacturing and bolster the 21st century American economy.
    More: White House press release

    Passed by Committee -- Manufacturing priorities in CJS Appropriations
    The Senate Appropriations Committee included a number of manufacturing priorities in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which supports key programs for manufacturers and entrepreneurs. Included in the bill were:

    Manufacturing Extension Partnerships
    Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs) are the only public-private partnership dedicated to providing technical support and services to small and medium-sized manufacturers.  The Appropriations Committee recognized the importance of MEPs by raising funding to $141 million, a $13 million increase.  According to data from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, every dollar invested in MEP facilitates $19 in new sales growth and $21 in new client investment.

    National Manufacturing Strategy
    The bill directs the Office of Science & Technology Policy to report to Congress with a comprehensive plan to develop a national manufacturing strategy.  This language compliments the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, which is part of Manufacturing Jobs for America and was introduced by Sens. Coons (D-DE) and Kirk (R-IL). 

    The bill includes language recognizing the importance of U.S. bio-manufacturing and directing the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase support for it in its advanced manufacturing portfolio by dedicating at least $15 million to new bio-manufacturing initiatives. 

    Foreign Commercial Service
    The Department of Commerce announced the expansion of the Foreign Commercial Service, including four new offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique and four office expansions in Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, and Libya.  The expansion will create nearly 70 new positions and post 17 additional officers globally to help U.S. manufacturers get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets. 

    This month's full newsletter:

  • Manufacturing Update for May 2014

    Manufacturing Jobs for America monthly manufacturing update


    Passed by Congress -- “Buy America” provisions in WRRDA
    Congress recently passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).  The bill includes provisions introduced by Sens. Brown (D-OH) and Merkley (D-OR) that ensure American-made iron and steel are used in federally-funded water infrastructure projects when available and competitively priced. “For our economy to continue adding jobs, we must ensure American taxpayer dollars are used to support manufacturers and workers at home, not overseas,” Brown said. “I thank my colleagues for passing legislation that will strengthen our economy and infrastructure while benefitting Ohio manufacturers." "If we don’t make things in America, we won’t have a middle class in America,” Merkley said. “Today’s news is a huge victory for the principle that American tax dollars should support American jobs.”
    More: Brown press release

    Secretary Pritzker announces first 12 Manufacturing Communities
    Commerce Secretary Pritzker announced the first 12 communities that will be designated Manufacturing Communities as part of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) Initiative.  The program is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies. The 12 communities were selected from 70 that applied based on the strength of their economic development plans, the potential for impact in their communities, and the depths of their partnerships across the public and private sector. The Manufacturing Communities will receive coordinated support for their strategies from eleven federal agencies with $1.3 billion available in federal economic development assistance.  The communities will also receive a dedicated federal liaison at each agency to help them navigate available federal resources. “The 12 Manufacturing Communities announced today represent a diverse group of communities with the most comprehensive economic development plans to attract business investment that will increase their competitiveness,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
    More: Commerce press release | White House fact sheet

    Introduced -- Defend Trade Secrets Act
    Senators Hatch (R-UT) and Coons (D-DE) introduced the Defend Trade Secrets Act to help combat the loss of an estimated $160 billion to $480 billion each year in the United States to the theft of corporate trade secrets. The bill empowers manufacturers and other companies to protect their trade secrets in federal court by creating a federal private right-of-action. “The intellectual property that drives the U.S. economy has never been more valuable, or more vulnerable,” Senator Coons said.  “American companies are losing jobs because of the theft of trade secrets every day.  This bipartisan bill will empower American companies to protect their jobs by legally confronting those who steal their trade secrets.  It will finally give trade secrets the same legal protections that other forms of critical intellectual property already enjoy.”
    More: Hatch press release | Coons press release

    Hearing -- Judiciary hearing on trade secrets
    Manufacturing leaders testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism on the need for urgent action to combat trade secret theft and protect American manufacturing jobs.  The witnesses urged Congress to pass the Defend Trade Secrets Act, which empowers companies to defend their trade secrets in federal court and recover stolen intellectual property before it is sold to competitors. Pursuing trade theft cases in state courts results in “a whole lot more expense,” said Doug Norman, Vice President and General Patent Counsel for Eli Lilly, as well as “a whole lot more risk, because we may not be able to isolate and seize the stolen materials as quickly.”
    More: Coons press release


    News -- Landrieu urges BASF to build plant in Louisiana
    Sen. Landrieu (D-LA) wrote to BASF urging the company to locate its new propylene facility in Louisiana, where it would create thousands of high-paying jobs and fuel the revival of manufacturing. “Louisiana is at the center of a global manufacturing renaissance and a natural gas boom, made possible by extraordinary and swift advances in technology to locate, capture and produce natural gas,” Sen. Landrieu said. 
    More: Landrieu press release

    News -- Baldwin testifies before International Trade Commission on behalf of Wisconsin manufacturers
    Sen. Baldwin (D-WI) testified before the International Trade Commission (ITC) on behalf of a Wisconsin manufacturer, Felker Brothers of Marshfield.  Sen. Baldwin appeared to highlight the importance of the stainless pipe industry.  The manufacturer is a petitioner in an antidumping investigation on imports of welded stainless pressure pipe from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.  At the ITC hearing, Baldwin focused on the challenges that Felker and the industry have faced from unfairly traded imports.
    More: Baldwin press release

    News -- Brown calls on administration to protect steel manufacturers
    Sen. Brown joined Northeast Ohio workers at a rally to call on the Obama Administration to protect Ohio steel manufacturers and the jobs they support. Outside of the U. S. Steel facility in Lorain, Brown and local steelworkers urged the Commerce Department (DOC) to crack down on countries that unfairly dump their steel in the U.S. market, threatening American jobs and competitiveness. A recent report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), supported by Sen. Brown, finds that a surge in imports is putting half a million U.S. manufacturing jobs at risk.
    More: Brown press release | EPI report

    News -- Schumer, Gillibrand announce manufacturing grants to University of Rochester and SEMATECH Albany
    Sens. Gillibrand (D-NY) and Schumer (D-NY) announced grants for the University of Rochester’s New York Photonics Manufacturing Initiative and SEMATECH Albany from the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The grants will strengthen the nation’s optics, photonics and imaging manufacturers, and support SEMATECH’s Semiconductor Supply Chain Roadmapping initiative, respectively.
    More: Gillibrand University of Rochester release | Gillibrand SEMATECH release

    News -- Harkin announces economic development funding for Iowa
    Sen. Harkin (D-IA) announced that three Iowa regions were awarded grants through the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to help establish comprehensive economic development strategies in their region. 
    More: Harkin press release

    News -- Shaheen opens Southern New Hampshire Regional Economic Development Center
    Sen. Shaheen (D-NH) joined members of the New Hampshire congressional delegation in opening the Southern New Hampshire Regional Economic Development Center, which will help support small manufacturers with counseling, pre-loan packaging, assistance in finding a location, alternative financing, and employee training.  Sen. Shaheen supported REDC’s grant application to the Economic Development Administration, and in April of 2012 announced REDC’s selection for a $432,000 grant which made the new center possible.
    More: Shaheen press release

    News -- Cardin tours Maryland manufacturers
    Sen. Cardin (D-MD) launched a Made in Maryland Job Tour, touring a number of Maryland manufacturers.  Among the manufacturers he toured was HunterDouglas, where 860 employees manufacture high end, custom window fashions. 
    More: Cardin press release

    News -- Coons tours local manufacturer
    Sen. Coons (D-DE) visited WhiteOptics, a manufacturer of raw materials for LED lighting.  While there, the Senator took the opportunity to address questions on how protecting trade secrets can help encourage innovation.
    More: Coons blog post

    News -- President Obama meets with manufacturing leaders
    The President met with manufacturing leaders to announce a forum to attract more American and foreign companies to create jobs in the U.S. “We have made enormous strides over the last several years not just recovering from a Great Recession, but taking advantage of and now marketing the advantages of doing business in the United States — whether it’s low energy costs, an incredibly productive workforce,” the President said. 
    More: Detroit News

    News -- NIST announces award to MTConnect to promote advanced manufacturing
    NIST recently announced an award for MTConnect, “an open, royalty-free standard intended to foster greater interoperability between manufacturing devices and software applications.” "This is the promised land," says Doug Woods, president of the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and a champion of MTConnect. 
    More: IndustryWeek | NIST announcement

    News -- Production of new Ford Transit Van launched at new Kansas City plant
    Ford recently launched production of the new Ford Transit Van at its Kansas City Assembly Plant.  With 2,000 new jobs at the plant supported by a $1.1 billion investment, Ford is now more than 75 percent toward its goal of creating 12,000 jobs in the United States by 2015.  In addition to the Transit Van, the Kansas City Assembly Plant produces the Ford F-150, and employs 4,878 workers on three crews.
    More: Ford

    Report -- “The all-of-the-above energy strategy as a path to sustainable economic growth”
    The White House recently issued a report detailing how an all-of-the-above energy strategy can help fuel economic growth.  Energy prices are of particular importance to manufacturers, and have helped  fuel the U.S. manufacturing renaissance in recent years.
    More: White House

    News -- Commerce Department honors manufacturers for export success
    Commerce Secretary Pritzker honored 65 U.S. exporters at the 2014 President’s “E” Awards.  The 52nd anniversary of the awards, the “E” Awards are the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for significant contributions to increasing American exports.
    More: Commerce Department

  • Witness testimony at hearing on kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls

    Here are links to the written testimony submitted by the witnesses at Thursday's Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs hearing on the Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram. The links below open indidual PDF files.

    The Honorable Robert P. Jackson
    Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State For African Affairs, Department of State

    The Honorable Earl Gast
    Assistant Administrator For African Affairs, U.S. Agency for International Development

    Ms. Alice Friend
    Principal Director For African Affairs, Department of Defense

    Ms. Lantana Abdullah
    Project Manager, Search for Common Ground, Jos, Nigeria

  • Manufacturing Update for April 2014

    Manufacturing Jobs for America monthly manufacturing update



    Finance Committee passes vital tax provisions
    The Senate Finance Committee cleared a “tax extenders” package out of Committee on a bipartisan voice vote, advancing it towards the Senate floor.  The package includes many tax provisions important to manufacturers, including the R&D tax credit and bonus depreciation.
    More: Chairman’s Statement | Modified Chairman’s mark

    Finance Committee adopts Coons/Enzi tax credit for startup manufacturers
    The Senate Finance Committee included the Startup Innovation Credit Act (S. 193) in tax extenders by a bipartisan voice vote.  The bill allows startup manufacturers to claim the R&D tax.  Startups businesses generally have the highest potential for growth and generate the most jobs.  S. 193 was introduced by Sens. Coons (D-DE) and Enzi (R-WY), and co-sponsored by Sens. Schumer (D-NY), Rubio (R-FL), Blunt (R-MO), Moran (R-KS), Stabenow (D-MI), and Kaine (D-VA). The provision was introduced as an amendment to tax extenders by Sens. Roberts (R-KS) and Schumer (D-NY).
    More: Coons press release | Schumer press release | Schumer / Roberts modified amendment

    Finance Committee passes Roberts/Coons tax credit to help small manufacturers
    The Senate Finance Committee passed key provisions of the Innovators Job Creation Act (S.192) by a bipartisan voice vote.  The provision allows small business owners to claim the R&D tax credit against their Alternative Minimum Tax liability.  The bill was introduced by Sens. Roberts (R-KS) and Coons (D-DE), and is cosponsored by Sens. Enzi (R-WY) and Schumer (D-NY).  It was included in the amendment offered by Sens. Roberts and Schumer.
    More: Coons press release | Schumer / Roberts modified amendment

    Commerce Committee advances vital manufacturing hubs bill to the floor
    The Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013, sponsored by Sens. Brown (D-OH) and Blunt (R-MO), was advanced out of the Senate Commerce Committee.  This bill will create a network of regional hubs bringing together businesses, universities, and government to promote manufacturing innovation and workforce development. 
    More: Commerce press release | Blunt press release | Brown press release

    Commerce Committee includes National Manufacturing Strategy in hubs bill
    Sens. Pryor (D-AR), Kirk (R-IL), and Coons (D-DE) applauded the Senate Commerce Committee's passage of their American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, which requires the President to submit a National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing to Congress every four years, and is part of the Manufacturing Jobs for America initiative. While there are numerous programs spread throughout several federal departments and agencies aimed at supporting manufacturing, there is no cohesive national strategy to ensure these programs are working together toward the unified goal of revitalizing American manufacturing.

    This legislation was passed as an amendment, offered by Sen. Pryor, to the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013.  The amendment was based off of S. 1709, The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, introduced by Sens. Kirk and Coons, co-sponsored by Sens. Blunt (R-MO), Brown (D-OH), Stabenow (D-MI), Graham (R-SC) and Harkin (D-IA).
    More: Kirk press release | Coons press release

    Klobuchar and Hoeven Innovate America Act passed by Commerce Committee
    Provisions of Sens. Klobuchar (D-MN) and Hoeven’s (R-ND) Innovate America Act (S.1777) were included in the hubs bill during the Senate Commerce Committee’s markup.  The amendment:

    • Requires the Secretary of Commerce to conduct a study on the top 20 exporting industries in the U.S., domestic regulatory and policy barriers to increasing exports, foreign barriers to doing business abroad, and recommendations on how to address these barriers;
    • Clarifies that manufacturing hubs should consider workforce recruitment as part of their functions; and
    • Encourages applications from new centers to emphasize how they will impact global and domestic competitiveness.

    Defense Department announces plans to purchase U.S. made athletic footwear
    The Defense Department announced it will require that service members purchase American-made shoes when using Department funds.  Previously, recruits had received a Department stipend with which to purchase shoes, but no Berry Amendment-compliant athletic footwear was available.  Based on feedback from Members of Congress and shoe manufacturers, the Department determined American manufacturers could manufacture compliant footwear, and will begin requiring that recruits use their stipends to purchase American-made shoes.
    More: Brown press release | Levin press release

  • Manufacturing Update for March 2014

    Manufacturing Jobs for America monthly manufacturing update



    Hearing -- Aviation Competitiveness
    Sen. Cantwell (D-WA) held a hearing of Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security on March 13.  The hearing focused on challenges facing the U.S. aviation industry, and what steps the U.S. can take to maintain its leadership in the global market and create American jobs.  Sen. Cantwell called for five steps to boost U.S. competitiveness:

    1. Increase investment in STEM education and apprenticeship programs to ensure a robust supply of skilled workers;
    2. Use the WTO to challenge unfair subsidies provided by foreign governments;
    3. Continue export financing through the Export-Import Bank;
    4. Modernize the nation’s air traffic control system by implementing the NextGen satellite-based system;
    5. Invest in R&D for composite materials.

    Representatives of Aerospace Industries Association, Airlines for America, the AFL-CIO, and Boeing testified. 
    More: Cantwell press release | Hearing video 1 | Hearing video 2

    News -- Franken tours E.J. Ajax Metal Forming Solutions
    Sen. Franken recently toured E.J. Ajax Metal Forming Solutions, where he spoke with representatives from local technical colleges, local business, and HIRED, a Twin Cities provider of job skills training for disadvantaged job seekers.
    More: National Skills Coalition

    News -- Sen Coons and Rep Kelly meet with small manufacturers
    Members of the American Small Manufacturers Coalition came to Congress to meet with Sen Coons (D-DE) and Rep Kelly (R-PA) to discuss the Manufacturing Extension Partnership on March 4th and 5th.
    More: ASMC

    News -- DuPont hosts engineering events to inspire young people
    DuPont recently hosted two local events to highlight the impact engineers can have on society and encourage young people to consider the STEM professions.  During DuPont’s sponsorship of national Engineers Week, the company invited middle school students to present a model of a city they had designed during a nationwide competition called Future Cities. 
    More: News Journal

    Interview -- The importance of skills training
    Michael Tamasi, CEO of AccuRounds, recently spoke with Fox Business about what is needed to boost hiring, highlighting the importance of skills training.
    More: Fox Business

    News -- Precision Plus hosts student manufacturing day
    Mike Reader, CEO of Precision Plus in Elkhorn, WI and a member of the Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) recently produced a student Manufacturing Day Panel at Elkhorn Area High School. Over 200 students from five area schools listened to local manufacturing companies describe the opportunities and their personal insights on local manufacturing. 2.7 million U.S. manufacturing workers are set to retire in the next 3-5 years, and there is a huge deficit in the number of young people applying for jobs in manufacturing.
    More: PMPA

    Report -- Ontario Made: Rethinking Manufacturing in the 21st Century
    A new paper by the University of Toronto examining Ontario’s manufacturing sector provides useful international comparisons for U.S. policymakers.  The authors recommend a focus on advanced manufacturing through a focus on investments in skills, R&D, equipment, and information technology.
    More: Mowat Centre

    Report -- What jobs are being offshored, and where are they going?
    A new working paper from economists at UC Berkley and MIT used new data to look at the type of jobs that are being offshored, and where those jobs are going.  The paper finds very few companies offshore their core competencies, but that large manufacturers tend to do so at a significantly higher rate than other sectors.  The majority of offshoring tends to go to locations with costs comparable to the U.S., contrary to popular perception.
    More: IRLE | The Economist 

    Report -- Why you should care about the federal budget
    A blog post from Robert Atkinson of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation looks at the implications of the President’s Budget for American manufacturers.  The blog post finds that the budget contained positives, such as funding for NNMI, and shortcomings, such as slower growth in R&D funding.
    More: Industry Week

    Report -- Assessing U.S. corporate tax reform in an age of global competition
    A report from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation describes the impact of the corporate income tax on the economy and analyzes the major issues involved in creating tax reform that both increases economic growth and reduces the burden of federal debt.
    More: ITIF

  • Manufacturing Update for February 2014

    Manufacturing Jobs for America monthly manufacturing update



    Executive Order -- Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses
    The President issued an executive order cutting processing and approval times from days to minutes for small businesses that export American-made goods and services by completing the International Trade Data System (ITDS) by December 2016.
    More: White House executive order

    Announcement -- The President Announces Two New Manufacturing Hubs
    The President announced two new manufacturing innovation institutes.  A Detroit-area consortium will focus on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing, while a Chicago consortium will concentrate on digital manufacturing and design technologies. The President also announced a competition for a new manufacturing innovation institute to build U.S. strength in the manufacturing of advanced composites.
    More: White House press release

    This update is provided by the Office of U.S. Senator Chris Coons on behalf of the Manufacturing Jobs for America initiative. For more information, visit coons.senate.gov/manufacturing or email jj_singh@coons.senate.gov.  

    Click here to download this month's full newsletter as a PDF, or read it below.

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