Reintroducing a manufacturing law

Dallas Examiner | 4/22/2013, 12:05 p.m.

Special to The Dallas Examiner

On April 4, ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, announced the introduction of H.R. 1421, the Advancing Innovative Manufacturing Act of 2013, to accelerate research, development and innovation in advanced manufacturing and improve the competitiveness of American manufacturers. The legislation is very similar to H.R. 6081, the AIM Act of 2012, introduced by Johnson in the 112th Congress. H.R. 6081 was not taken up by the Republican majority.

The legislation is part of the House Democrats’ “Make It In America” agenda, a plan to support job creation today and in the future by encouraging businesses to make products and innovate in the U.S. and sell to the rest of the world. Earlier today Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and other House Democrats, including Johnson, unveiled their Make It In America priorities for 2013 at a press conference.

Johnson said, “American manufacturing is a critical part of our economy, employing more than 11 million Americans in high-paying jobs, accounting for 60 percent of all U.S. exports, and contributing over $1.7 trillion to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2010.”

She continued, “The AIM Act of 2013 will help revitalize American manufacturing by focusing on advanced manufacturing. The bill will help to ensure our manufacturing sector is the most sophisticated and innovative in the world, using the newest transformative technologies and the most efficient methods and processes. By doing this, we can regain our global leadership in manufacturing, create jobs, and increase our national security.”

To ensure that the United States is the global leader in advanced manufacturing, the AIM Act of 2013:

• Establishes a program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to foster the creation of public-private research consortia – led by industry – focused on identifying the long-term, critical precompetitive manufacturing-related research needs of particular sectors, developing research roadmaps, and sharing the cost of conducting the identified research. 

• Creates a pilot program at NIST for small and medium-sized manufacturers to conduct research and development known as R&D, explore the technological potential of a concept, and position themselves to successfully commercialize a new product, process or technology.

• Establishes a pilot program at the Department of Commerce to provide small and medium-sized manufacturers with vouchers to acquire R&D or innovation expertise to enable them to be more competitive.

• Authorizes a grant program at the National Science Foundation to provide funding to community colleges to reform and expand advanced manufacturing education through activities such as the development of curricula, faculty professional development, and the establishment of advanced manufacturing centers that will serve as models and provide leadership in advanced manufacturing education.

Original cosponsors of the AIM Act include: Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla; Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore.; Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif.; Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md.; Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill.; Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.; Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M.; and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-OH.