There is a dichotomy in Washington today. It is called the dichotomy of words and actions. Where there are words, there seems to be little action. And where there is action — like increasing government spending — there seems to be few words (or budgets and planning, as the case may be).
During his State of the Union address last month, President Obama touted his record on the economy saying that “American manufacturers are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s.” Perhaps it was a message intended to allure an American people reaching for any bit of hope in our economy, but the dichotomy of words and actions was thick. The economic reality of the manufacturing industry— and the President’s own actions towards the manufacturing industry — tells us a very different story.
Manufacturing employment has fallen to its lowest level since 1941, falling below 12 million for the first time since World War II. Since President Obama was inaugurated, the manufacturing sector has shed 600,000 jobs. While our own manufacturing industry sheds jobs, China’s government has placed a strong emphasis in growing a solid manufacturing base.
Despite this reality, just two days after the State of the Union address, the Administration announced plans to slash $500 billion in defense spending over the next ten years, an action that would cripple defense manufacturing and our industrial base. According to Pentagon analysis, the defense industrial base provides 3.8 million private sector jobs. Our shipyards are some of our nation’s largest manufacturers. The manufacturing industry as a whole is not the only entity that will feel defense cuts; the defense manufacturing industry employs welders, engineers, technicians, and countless other individuals with jobs that make up our local economies. Without them, hardworking taxpayers, too, will feel the cuts. And while these individuals face potential unemployment, contractors will likely move to send those manufacturing jobs overseas.
But it is not just defense manufacturing. Just a couple weeks earlier, we saw the President make a decision to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, directly rejecting 20,000 new American manufacturing and construction jobs and outsourcing energy development to countries like China.
At the same time, the manufacturing industry is getting hit hard with regulations. The Administration continues to push new “Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT)” rules that will impose billions of dollars in capital and compliance costs, increase the cost of many goods and services, and could, according to some, put over 40,000 jobs at risk on our already fragile economy. Similar “Cement MACT” rules will affect 100 cement plants nationwide, increasing costs and regulatory uncertainty that could result in thousands of American jobs being moved overseas.
While the Administration says the manufacturing industry is strong and asserts that an America built to last “begins with American manufacturing,” the actions we see speak a very different story.
Words don’t create jobs, and words without actions cannot change the trajectory of our economy. If we want a strong manufacturing industry — one that continues to perform more research and development, drives more innovation, exports as much or contributes more to our nation's economy of any other sector — we have to act. We need real solutions that encourage American manufacturing and that place the American people in the economic driver’s seat.
I want to share with you my plan of action to protect and strengthen American manufacturing.
Fighting for Defense Manufacturing
A strong defense is a strong America. Defense cuts will weaken the pillars of American manufacturing and innovation. As Chairman of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, I am fighting for a strong manufacturing and industrial base. Learn more here and here.
Creating a National Manufacturing Strategy
I am cosponsoring the National Manufacturing Strategy Act, which requires the President to submit a National Manufacturing Strategy to Congress during every presidential term. Read more about it here.
Bringing Jobs Back to America
I have cosponsored the Bring Jobs Back to America Act, which is a commonsense strategy for rebuilding America’s manufacturing industry and bringing outsourced jobs back to the United States. It includes a national plan to energize manufacturing and a study of tax incentives to encourage the return of U.S. jobs. Read more about it here.