In his State of the Union Address, President Obama said:
We also have the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs. My administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing in Raleigh and Youngstown, where we’ve connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies. Tonight, I’m announcing we’ll launch six more this year. Bipartisan bills in both houses could double the number of these hubs and the jobs they create. So get those bills to my desk and put more Americans back to work.
President Obama was referring to Tom Reed’s bill: H.R.2996 – Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013
Possibly before the President had finished speaking, Tom posted his response: Statement from Rep. Tom Reed on President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address
Tom wrote: I was pleased to hear the President talk about how growing manufacturing hubs, particularly growth as a result of my bipartisan Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act, would serve the country well.
There is a companion bill in the Senate introduced by Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) : S.1468 – Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013
Congress can act quickly when it wants to; with so much support, President, Democratic and Republican Senators, and representatives Reed (R-NY) and Kennedy (D-MA), why is RAMI languishing in committees?
Part of an explanation may be jealously guarded committee prerogatives; committees are best left alone to do what they will. In the House, the problem may be the Hastert Rule, which prohibits bringing a bill to the floor that may divide the majority party. Tom’s bill has only 17 cosponsors, a majority of them democrats, which suggests that a majority of the GOP may not be ready to vote for RAMI. In the Senate, the need for sixty votes may be a problem. The fact that the Senate bill has support in both parties doesn’t necessarily mean RAMI has 60 votes. S-1468 has four cosponsors:
- Blunt, (R-MO)
- Graham (R-SC)
- Stabenow (D-MI)
- Schumer (D-NY)
Of about 7000 bills introduced in the first half of the 113th Congress, fewer than 100 were enacted. Thus it will be no big surprise if nothing comes of RAMI. The President has promised to push ahead with the idea with or without the support of Congress. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
© William Hungerford – January 2014