Portman, Wicker, Fitzpatrick unveil bill to bolster U.S. manufacturing, industrial innovation

U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) joined U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) to offer a bipartisan, bicameral bill to help strengthen America’s manufacturing industry and workforce and improve the nation’s global competitiveness.

“Our bipartisan legislation takes the necessary steps to reinvigorate American manufacturing for long-term success and prosperity and will ensure that workers and companies in every state across the nation can benefit from dynamic economic growth in the manufacturing industry,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said.

Sens. Portman and Wicker on March 25 cosponsored the Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy Act, S. 997, with bill sponsor Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), while Rep. Fitzpatrick on March 29 cosponsored his chamber’s version, H.R. 2279, with bill sponsor Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH).  

If enacted, the bill would create a new Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy (OMII) overseen by a chief manufacturing officer (CMO) in the Executive Office of the President. The office would provide manufacturing and industrial perspective and advice to the president and provide a comprehensive survey and cross administration management of efforts to ensure global leadership in manufacturing critical to the long-term economic health and national security of the United States, according to the congressional record bill summary.  

Much like the National Security Advisor, Sen. Portman said that the CMO “will create a strategic plan to ensure our nation’s manufacturing and industrial sector remains world-class.”

“A strong manufacturing sector is critical to maintaining American competitiveness, to our national security, and to a robust economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis,” Sen. Portman said. “The Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation will work to coordinate existing federal programs and resources for manufacturers while providing the president with analysis and perspective.”

Additionally, the bill would establish the Federal Strategy and Coordinating Council on Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation, chaired by the president, to coordinate manufacturing and industrial innovation policy, and create a National Medal of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation to recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge in manufacturing and industrial innovation, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

“Manufacturing is vital to Mississippi’s economy,” added Sen. Wicker. “Our bill would make increasing domestic manufacturing capability a national priority and identify better ways to harmonize and coordinate the federal permitting process.”

Rep. Fitzpatrick pointed out that the nation’s overreliance on manufacturing critical goods overseas has caused “significant harm” to national defense and economic security.

“We need to promote focused, streamlined efforts that invest in American manufacturing and safeguard our industrial base going forward,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “The creation of the Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy is an investment in America’s economic future, our manufacturing base, and good paying jobs for American workers.”

Numerous organizations endorsed the measure, including the Aerospace Industries Association, the Alliance for American Manufacturing, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Association for Manufacturing Technology, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the National Association of Manufacturing, the State Science and Technology Institute, the United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), and United Steel Workers, among many others.