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Bipartisan bill aims to boost U.S. manufacturing

Updated: October 14, 2012 1:36PM



U.S. Reps. Dan Lipinski and Adam Kinzinger have high hopes for a bipartisan bill they say will boost U.S. manufacturing for years to come and will help save the country’s middle class.

The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act was expected to pass the House by a voice vote on Tuesday afternoon. If a roll call vote was requested, that would come Wednesday, the congressmen said during a conference call with reporters.

Lipinski, D-Western Springs, introduced a similar measure in 2010 that passed the House by a vote of 379-38 but stalled in the Senate. Now that Lipinski has partnered with Kinzinger, R-Channahon, the two believe their bipartisan effort will push the bill further.

The act would create a 15-member committee made up of both political parties as well as representatives from private industry. The committee would come up with recommendations by 2014 to streamline the country’s manufacturing policies in an effort to retain and create more jobs.

The advisory recommendations could affect tax policies and trade regulations, as well as education, workforce and research sectors.

Some people believe America’s manufacturing peak is long gone, the country will be dominated by service-based jobs and its economy will soon be passed by China’s and India’s, the congressmen said. But that doesn’t have to be the case, they stressed.

“It’s not inevitable that we continue to lose manufacturing jobs,” Lipinski said.

The United States has a disappearing middle class because manufacturing jobs are going away, Kinzinger said. And the country has fallen from first to seventh in global competitiveness.

“That’s unacceptable,” he said.

Lipinski said while legislators were not as focused on manufacturing in the past, the recession and slow economic recovery have changed the sentiment in Washington, D.C. The act has a good chance of becoming law if not before the election, then after during the lame duck session, he said.

“This is something we must do.”



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