MI Senator Gary Peters Introduces National Institute of Manufacturing Act

Contending that American manufacturers “have been let down by a national piecemeal approach” to the industry, Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters has today introduced a bill that would streamline federal manufacturing programs and beyond.

Peters has announced introduction of legislation that would establish an independent federal institute — the National Institute of Manufacturing — to serve as the hub for federal manufacturing programs that would, in turn, be led by a Chief Manufacturing Officer responsible for creating and implementing a National Strategic Plan for Manufacturing across the executive branch.

His proposed National Institute of Manufacturing Act would coordinate federal manufacturing programs across multiple agencies in order to better address both short-term supply chain issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic and longer-term problems related to a lack of a national manufacturing strategy and accountability for implementing a strategy.

Peters argues that “For too long, our manufacturers and the millions of hardworking Americans they employ have been let down by a national piecemeal approach to manufacturing.” Peters is a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and he tells us, “The need for a new, bold approach to revitalize American manufacturing has never been more evident. We must address vulnerabilities in our supply chain that have been further exposed by the coronavirus pandemic and reduce our reliance on foreign manufacturers.” He adds, “That is why I introduced the National Institute of Manufacturing Act that would strengthen our manufacturing capabilities, ensure we have a national strategy including for emergencies and help bring jobs back to Michigan and the U.S.”

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Dennis Slater, President of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, responded to Peters’ plan, saying, “The Association of Equipment Manufacturers commends the introduction of the National Institute of Manufacturing Act to strengthen the manufacturing sector and ensure the future competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing in the global economy.”  Slater adds, “Equipment manufacturers represent 12-percent of the entire U.S. manufacturing sector and support 2.8 million family-sustaining jobs across the country. We need a comprehensive, coordinated, and competent national effort in support of the manufacturing sector and its workforce. This legislation will reduce redundancies and improve efficiencies across existing federal manufacturing programs and ensure that the federal government is better positioned to respond to rapid changes in the global manufacturing landscape. Senator Gary Peters knows firsthand the challenges and opportunities facing equipment manufacturers, and he has been a steadfast advocate for the industry in the United State Senate. We applaud the Senator for his vision and leadership to ensure the federal government is better positioned to support the industry and urge all Democrat and Republican Senators to support this important legislation.”

Meanwhile, Scott Paul, President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, says, “We applaud Senator Gary Peters for introducing the National Institute of Manufacturing Act,” and adds, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that it is time for the United States to shore up its critical manufacturing capabilities, which will not only better prepare us for the next crisis but also create jobs and boost the economy. A national strategic plan for manufacturing, and increased coordination between the many programs designed to support our manufacturers and their workers, are important steps to rebuilding our industrial base. We are grateful to Senator Peters for his efforts to bolster American manufacturing.”

Doug Kurkul, CEO of the American Foundry Society, weighs in, as well, suggesting, “The COVID-19 crisis has underscored how dependent the United States is on potentially unstable foreign sources of critical manufactured products,” and adds, “The time is right to emphasize supply-chain security. The American Foundry Society strongly supports NIMA because of the positive impact it will have on domestic manufacturing, job creation and a strong economy in Michigan – the third-largest metalcasting state with nearly 37,000 metalcasting-related jobs – and the entire nation.”

For his part, Mike Coast, President of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, says, “The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center is proud to support Senator Peters’ National Institute of Manufacturing Act and applauds his continued focus on the manufacturing sector in Michigan.” Coast adds, “Manufacturing is a driver of our economy — from hiring locally to making great products — and this pandemic has only reinforced the need to prioritize manufacturing policy at the national level and ensure we have a unified strategy that will help manufacturers across Michigan and our country. That must include planning for emergencies and crises to make sure our minimize disruptions to our manufacturers and economy and Senator Peters’ bill is pragmatic, thoughtful and forward-looking.”

The world of academia checks in on the bill, too, with Sridhar Kota, Herrick Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan, says, “The nation’s manufacturing community truly appreciates Senator Peters’ leadership to provide the legislative blueprint to reviving the manufacturing sector in the United States,” and notes, “His proposed National Institute of Manufacturing is the critical missing piece needed to bridge the gap between research and manufacturing. It’s an opportunity to boost innovation, establish high-quality production jobs and industries of the future back in America.”

John Foote, Senior Vice President at Morbark chimes in, saying, “With a long and rich history of manufacturing hundreds of world class products in Winn, Michigan, we know first-hand the critical role that manufacturing plays as the engine that drives the economy by creating jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for Americans.” He goes on to say, “This has been especially true in our rural central Michigan area. We also recognize the need for a more far-reaching and strategic approach to ensure that the manufacturing sector and its workforce receives the resources and leadership they need to continue to innovate and manufacture in Michigan and across the United States. We would like to thank Senator Gary Peters for his steadfast leadership to strengthen the sector and ensure the future competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing in the global economy. Senator Peters has personally met with us in the past, listened to our needs and responded proactively. We hope that his colleagues in the United States Senate will support his legislation and work in a bipartisan and collaborative fashion to make America the best country in the world to manufacture.”

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 75-percent of manufacturers have experienced supply chain disruptions, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Prior to the pandemic — America’s share of global manufacturing had declined by approximately 35-percent in the previous 15 years. The National Institute of Manufacturing Act would establish the NIM to review federal regulations that affect manufacturing and help develop a National Strategic Plan for Manufacturing that includes planning for emergencies and supply chain disruptions. The bill would also revive and elevate the National Manufacturing Council — which was established by the International Trade Administration and was last convened four years ago.

Peters team says he has been a tireless advocate for American manufacturing workers, including during the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. Last month, he helped introduce the End Outsourcing Act, which would reform the tax code to reward businesses that bring jobs back from foreign countries. Peters also introduced legislation in May that would address vulnerabilities in the medical supply chain and focus on bringing manufacturing jobs back to Michigan and the United States.

At a hearing in January before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Peters questioned witnesses about a U.S. Government Accountability Office report, which concluded that it is unclear how much the federal government spends on manufacturing programs because there are 58 federal programs spread across 11 different departments and agencies—without definitive accounting of the support for U.S. manufacturing.

Peters also coauthored a bipartisan provision that was signed into law in December as part of the national defense bill. It expands federal support for public-private investments in advanced manufacturing including the LIFT Manufacturing USA Institute in Detroit — one of 14 institutes across a national network that includes 1,300 member companies, which have generated $2 billion in industry-matched funding to transition innovative technologies from lab to market and to expand the production of goods made in America.