[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced that their provision to boost American manufacturing passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation unanimously as part of a comprehensive research and development bill. The amendment would bolster the manufacturing industry across the country by creating a permanent program that designates local regions as “Manufacturing Communities” and puts them in the front of the line to receive federal economic development funding specifically for the purpose of investing in manufacturing. This provision is based on the bipartisan Made In America Manufacturing Communities Act, introduced in February of this year by Senators Gillibrand and Blumenthal, as well as by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Chris Coons (D-DE). A bipartisan bill was also introduced in the House by Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY), Tim Ryan (D-OH), John Katko (R-NY) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).
“Committee passage of this important measure brings us one step closer to putting Connecticut at the front of the line for critical investments in the state’s thriving manufacturing sector,” Blumenthal said. “Connecticut’s shipbuilding and aerospace industries are already creating opportunities for high-skilled, high-paying jobs through Connecticut’s Advance Manufacturing Communities Region, and our provision would build on this momentum to create more jobs and boost our state’s economy.”
“I’m pleased that our Made In America Manufacturing Communities measure has cleared this key hurdle and is one step closer to becoming a reality,” said Senator Gillibrand. “New York has one of the greatest manufacturing traditions in the country and this measure would help local communities become leading global manufacturing hubs and thrive in our 21st century economy. I’ll continue to fight for this measure so New York can get access to more resources and smart investments that will help create new, good-paying manufacturing jobs throughout our state.”
“Minnesota has a long history of leadership in manufacturing, especially in medical manufacturing. After all, we are the state that invented the pacemaker,” Klobuchar said. “This action in the Commerce Committee will help Minnesota stay at the forefront of innovation by creating jobs, boosting manufacturing, and moving our state’s economy forward.”
"I'm thrilled this bill is one step closer to becoming law. This legislation will help communities across the country access the resources and support they need to strengthen the manufacturing industry," said Coons. "Manufacturing has enormous power to create jobs, foster innovation, and drive America’s continued economic recovery. We should be doing everything we can to support manufacturing across the country, and that's why I look forward to working with my colleagues to see this bill over the finish line."
The bill would create a permanent program to competitively award regions with the “Manufacturing Community” designation. Under the current temporary program that was launched by the Commerce Department in May 2014, twenty-four communities have received a designation around the nation, including the Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Communities Region, a partnership between manufacturers including Pratt and Whitney and Electric Boat, workforce development non-profits, the state’s technical high schools and state agencies. The partnership currently oversees a $30 million Manufacturing Innovation Fund to help lead growth in the state’s aerospace and shipbuilding industries and ensure students and workers are prepared to succeed in the skilled jobs that those industries provide. The proposed legislation would allow this Connecticut initiative the opportunity to continue the progress started with this designation of making the region globally competitive for manufacturing jobs and investment, as well as open up an opportunity for additional Manufacturing Communities to be designated throughout the country.
This designation would give these communities preferred consideration when applying for up to $1.3 billion in currently available federal economic development funding for manufacturing. This legislation encourages a regionally-driven approach to strengthening the manufacturing industry. To compete for funding through this program and earn the “Manufacturing Communities” designation, communities would create regional partnerships with key stakeholders such as local and state economic development officials, local governments, manufacturers, labor organizations, and higher education or other training providers.