OUR THOUGHTS ON:

Role of the Federal Government in Supporting Innovation by U.S. Manufacturers (U.S. House Committee Hearing Recap)

Manufacturing

By Patrick Armknecht

On Tuesday, March 17, the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology held a hearing to identify what the federal government should be doing to help U.S. manufacturers innovate. The meeting was attended by members of the Committee and witnesses from manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble, General Motors Company and PMC Group Inc.

In his opening statement, Congressman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), Chairman of the Committee, pointed out that although the U.S. manufacturing sector is not as strong as it once was, it continues to generate more than $1.5 trillion worth of goods and account for more than half of total U.S. exports. He acknowledged that various factors, including global competition, have contributed to the decline in U.S. manufacturing. He emphasized that U.S. manufacturers need to be leaner and more efficient and develop new technologies and processes to compete with other countries that have more favorable labor costs. Additionally, he indicated that the House Committee on Science and Technology was committed to ensuring that manufacturers have access to the skilled workers that they need to innovate and remain competitive.

The witnesses who testified in front of the Committee represented several different types of manufacturers. The Committee on Science and Technology’s website lists suggestions on how the federal government could help manufacturers, including:

  • Funding programs and research in the area of renewable energy and renewable resources;
  • Reauthorizing “The America Competes Act;
  • Focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and training;
  • Supporting predictable policies, legislation and regulations that foster a competitive manufacturing environment without added cost and regulatory burden for businesses;
  • Prioritizing collaboration between industry and government on key technologies;
  • Funding industry and academia’s collaborative efforts to pilot new manufacturing methods; and
  • Coordinating the efforts of government entities to provide support to small and medium-size enterprises in their research and commercialization efforts.

If you would like more information about this hearing, please visit the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology website at:

http://science.house.gov/publications/hearings_markups_details.aspx?newsid=2763

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