WAHINGTON, D.C.-In April 2011, Congressmen Dan Lipinski (D-IL-03) and Don Manzullo (R-IL-16) and Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) announced that they had introduced bills requiring the development of a national manufacturing strategy in order to boost traditional and high-tech manufacturing and spur American job growth.

The Senate’s National Manufacturing Strategy Act of 2011 would require the Commerce Secretary to, within 180 days, conduct a comprehensive analysis of the nation’s manufacturing sector and submit to Congress a National Manufacturing Strategy. The report should include an assessment of U.S. manufacturing capacity, including what goods are produced, where they are produced, and in which sectors the United States is most competitive. The goals of the strategy are to increase U.S. manufacturing jobs, identify emerging technologies to strengthen U.S. competitiveness, and strengthen the manufacturing sectors in which the United States is most competitive.

The Commerce Department will coordinate manufacturing assessment and recommendations with other federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Labor, Department of the Treasury, the Small Business Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology and the Office of United States Trade Representative. In addition, the report must include at least two public listening sessions that include witnesses from manufacturing sectors, as well as a database of information derived from surveys of private manufacturers. The goal: to understand how public policies can be tailored to promote manufacturing competitiveness.

In the House, the bipartisan National Manufacturing Strategy Act, supported by One Voice, passed the House last year by a vote of 379-38. The current version, H.R. 1366, has 11 Democratic and 10 Republican cosponsors. To ensure buy-in from business and government, it requires the President to establish a Manufacturing Strategy Board of federal officials, two state governors from different parties and private-sector manufacturing leaders. Every four years, the board will conduct a comprehensive analysis of the manufacturing sector covering matters ranging from financing to trade to the defense industrial base. Based on this analysis and public input, the board will develop a strategy that includes specific recommendations to the president, congress and industry for bolstering American manufacturing. The board will assess the implementation of its recommendations annually, and the GAO will conduct a separate review.

The United States is one of the few developed nations without a formal industrial policy. One Voice continues to work with the bills’ sponsors to seek additional support among Congressional leaders for a manufacturing strategy.