|Make it in America|
In 2008, the United States faced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The economy was in free fall and American manufacturing hit a low point, following years of decline during the Bush administration when the United States lost nearly a third of its manufacturing jobs. You didn’t need to go far from home to know something was wrong. On a tour of local businesses in Hartford, I was disheartened to find an ACE Hardware that had its shelves stocked with products that were made everywhere but in America.
For both our economy, and our national security, we can’t accept the death of American manufacturing. We must work to ensure that we see the words “Made it in America” everywhere we look again. Of course, we have a lot to do to make that happen. The good news is that our economy is getting stronger. We’ve seen 24 straight months of private sector job growth and the manufacturing sector is adding jobs for the first time in over a decade.
Here in Connecticut manufacturing is in our DNA. During the Revolutionary War, we were known as the Provisions State because of all the manufacturing done in Connecticut for our new nation. Ever since, our economic success has been tied to having a healthy manufacturing sector. Connecticut’s middle class succeeds when large manufacturers like Pratt and Whitney, and smaller companies like Tru-Hitch in Barkhamsted and R&D Dynamics in Bloomfield succeed. That’s why I’ve helped lead the charge for the manufacturing recovery here at home and across the nation.
Last year, I introduced the American Jobs Act on behalf of President Obama. The Act includes a number of provisions that will strengthen our manufacturing sector and additional initiatives announced by the President in his State of the Union address will help build on those proposals.
In Connecticut, I partnered with local and state organizations to create the Connecticut Manufacturing Jobs Match Initiative to connect qualified employees with local businesses who are hiring. The first round is underway and the Assistant U.S. Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training has already visited to learn about how the program can become a model for the nation.
There is no question that when we Make it in America, everyone in America can make it! To rebuild our middle class and see that everyone can make it in America, we must reinvigorate our manufacturing base. That means training the best workforce in the world, providing incentives for manufacturers to compete in the global economy, and ensuring that we have modern infrastructure to support the flow of commerce. Make it in America has to be our agenda. Here is how I have supported this vital initiative in Congress:
Legislation Cosponsored by Rep. Larson in the 112th Congress
New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions (NAT GAS) Act (Reps. Sullivan, Boren, Larson, and Brady, H.R. 1380) – The NAT GAS Act would incentivize the manufacturing and conversion commercial vehicles that run on natural gas. America has an abundant supply of natural gas and tapping this domestic energy source will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, provide consumers relief at the pump, and benefit the environment all while promoting manufacturing of natural gas vehicles and infrastructure.
American Jobs Act (Rep. Larson, H.R. 12) – President Obama’s American Jobs Act would put the country back to work and assist struggling families and small businesses. This comprehensive package of job creation measures would cut taxes for individuals and small businesses, invest in critical infrastructure from transportation to broadband to public schools, and provide a path back to work for the unemployed through innovative worker retraining programs.
National Infrastructure Development Bank Act (Rep. DeLauro, H.R. 402) – Would establish a National Infrastructure Bank that will leverage private capital to invest in infrastructure projects from transportation, to telecommunications, to electricity, to water. Building infrastructure creates jobs right here in American and an important component of developing a strong domestic manufacturing base is ensuring that we have the necessary infrastructure to support the flow of commerce.
National Manufacturing Strategy Act (Rep. Lipinski, H.R. 1366) – Directs the President to establish a Manufacturing Strategy Board and to develop a manufacturing strategy for the nation.
Build American Jobs Act (Rep. Levin, H.R. 922) – Would help states and localities leverage private capital to build and maintain critical infrastructure through proven innovative finance tools.
Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (Reps. Levin and Tim Ryan, H.R. 639) – Would promote American exports and manufacturing by holding countries like China that manipulate their currency accountable.
Security in Energy and Manufacturing (SEAM) Act (Rep. Rothman, H.R. 724) – Would create tax incentives for domestic manufacturing of alternative energy technology.
Community College Energy Training Act (Rep. Lujan, H.R. 1881) – Would create a program to provide grants to community colleges around the country to establish and expand workforce training for clean energy fields such as alternative energy, green buildings, conservation, recycling, and sustainable agriculture.
Legislation Signed into Law in the 111th Congress
U.S. Manufacturing Enhancement Act [Public Law 111-227] – Enhanced the competitiveness of American manufactures by making many of the materials used in manufacturing more affordable.
Protecting American Patents [Public Law 111-224] – Helps the Patent Office to begin to unclog the backlog—totaling about 1.2 million pending applications—by giving the agency access to more of the fees it collects so that patent applications can continue to be processed and innovative ideas can continue to move to market.
Preventing Outsourcing [Public Law 111-226] – Closed a number of tax loopholes that encouraged companies to ship jobs overseas.
Small Business Jobs Act [Public Law 111-240] – Established a $30 billion small business lending fund to expand access to credit and provided tax relief to small businesses all in deficit-neutral manner.
Energy Jobs and Training for Veterans Act [Public Law 111-275] – Provides grants for programs to provide on-the-job training, apprenticeship, real experience, and long-term employment in all energy fields.
America COMPETES Reauthorization Act [Public Law 111-358] - This legislation that is critical to enhancing American competitiveness provides funding for R&D into science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM). The U.S. must stay strong in the “STEM” fields in order to maintain a competitive workforce in a global economy and the America COMPETES Act is a commitment to American excellence in the “STEM” fields.