Gardner bill would keep America’s manufacturing industry strong

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) on Sept. 24 offered a bipartisan bill to temporarily provide authority for the U.S. Commerce Secretary to waive cost-sharing requirements for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a public-private partnership between the federal government and centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico dedicated to serving small and medium-sized manufacturers.  

“This bill will help keep our manufacturing industry strong and contains relief that will benefit all four corners of Colorado,” Sen. Gardner said.

The lawmaker is the lead original cosponsor of the Helping Manufacturers Respond to COVID-19 Act of 2020, S. 4719, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), which would grant federal pandemic-relief funds to MEP centers across the country, helping them to continue providing resources that help manufacturers expand, maintain staff and adapt to recent market changes.

“I’m proud to work with Senator Peters to support the MEP program, which is an important resource for manufacturers throughout Colorado and across the country,” said Sen. Gardner. “Colorado’s MEP, Manufacturer’s Edge, has built dozens of relationships and provided critical insight for manufacturers over the years.”

During the ongoing pandemic, for instance, MEPs have helped manufacturers utilize available resources, such as the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, and helped them navigate the Food and Drug Administration approval process, among others.

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the cost-share between MEP affiliates and the federal government was waived for MEP affiliates, and S. 4719 would extend the option for waiving the cost share in full or in part into 2021, according to Sen. Gardner’s office.

“We must ensure that these partnerships can continue helping small and medium-sized manufacturers in Michigan and throughout the country recover and rebuild stronger than before,” said Sen. Peters.