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Hoyer Delivers Speech Announcing House Democrats’ Updated Make It In America Plan

For Immediate Release: 
June 13, 2016
Contact Info: 

Mariel Saez 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) announced House Democrats' updated Make It In America plan today at The Foundery, located at Port Covington in Baltimore, Maryland. The updated plan follows multiple hearings at the Capitol and around the country to solicit feedback about how the economy has changed since the Make It In America plan was initially launched in 2010. The ideas incorporated into the new Make It In America plan aim to capitalize on new opportunities while confronting new challenges present in today’s economy. The Foundery is a new maker space where innovators and entrepreneurs can turn their ideas into prototypes with access to machines and equipment and help from skilled experts, making it a prime example of how people can ‘Make It In America’ today. Click here to view a fact sheet on the updated Make It In America plan, and here to view a fact sheet on how the Make It In America plan has evolved over the past six years. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Rep. Cummings, for that introduction. I’m pleased to be here for the grand opening of The Foundery today.

“It’s very fitting that Under Armour and Sagamore have chosen Port Covington to be the launching pad for this exciting project in American innovation and manufacturing.  It was on this site, more than a century ago, that another era of economic prosperity came to this city. 

“The Western Maryland Railway, which used to own this site, built a network that stretched from the mountains of West Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay.  It did more than carry coal.  It made Baltimore a center of one of the world’s most important commercial networks, which fueled the growth of America’s manufacturing sector for decades. 

“Once again, Baltimore is ready to lift itself out of hard times and build a better future for all its people, including those who have not always shared in its prosperity.  And once again, Port Covington is poised to help it do so by making this city and our state a driving force for economic progress in America.

“Not by moving fuel but by fueling new ideas.

“Not by connecting rail but by connecting great minds with the tools to turn ideas into products.

“Here, at The Foundery, one can see coming to life not only the vision of what Port Covington will be.  We can also see a vision for transforming the economy through the Make It In America plan. 

“In 2010, House Democrats launched Make It In America to bring American manufacturing back from the depths of the Great Recession.  Our plan sought to make government a partner in creating the best conditions possible for the private sector to return to full strength so that it could once again create high-skill, high-wage jobs.  And we worked with business, labor, economists, and innovators to craft legislation that would not only achieve these goals but that could secure bipartisan support.

“In the years that followed, we brought Democrats and Republicans together to enact a number of Make It In America bills. 

“Even so, many Americans still haven’t found good, steady jobs in the aftermath of the Great Recession and – rightfully – feel left behind by our recovery.  Many people may even be working full time, but they are still struggling to make ends meet.  They have come to see the American Dream as slipping farther and farther out of reach.  They worry their kids and grandkids won’t be able to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle.  They understand that the global economy – and the American economy – is changing rapidly, but they don’t see their government as part of the solution. They don’t see government as being on their side, as having their backs.

“The economic stress of the Great Recession cost many their jobs, but even those who kept working saw the value of their homes and retirement accounts fall.  But all of that bad news happened nearly simultaneously to many other significant changes in our economy. 

“An amazing leap in communications technology has put more computing power in our pockets than we took to the moon. 

“Energy is now abundant and cheap, and we are increasingly producing it right here in America. 

“A growing middle class in other countries has raised the demand for our exports.  

“Rather than ignore these changes, Congress must make them work for those who feel left behind. 

“There is much more Congress can do to help American businesses harness the changes in our economy and create good jobs here at home that ensure our workers can get ahead.  Recognizing this, House Democrats held hearings, starting last July, to solicit input and new ideas on how to adapt our Make It In America plan to reflect these new challenges and new opportunities for 2016 and beyond.

“We heard from representatives from business and labor, entrepreneurs, innovators, economists, and educators, as well as Members of Congress who held forums soliciting input from local stakeholders around the country. 

“They described how new technologies and changes to the marketplace and workplace have been transformative in ways we couldn’t imagine just six years ago.  While manufacturing is still critical, they showed us how we can broaden Make It In America’s scope to address emerging sectors and practices that are already bringing exciting new opportunities to our economy and our workers. 

“They told us about new developments in crowdfunding and venture capital. 

“They told us about the rise of the on-demand economy – its benefits and its challenges. 

“We heard testimony on the ‘Internet of Things’ and its potential to bring thousands of new, innovative products to market – if the conditions are right. 

“And we heard about new partnerships between educational institutions and local manufacturers to ensure that students graduate not only with in-demand skills but also pathways to jobs at companies that need those skills.

“We’ve called this process, ‘Make It In America: What’s Next?’ 

 “‘What’s next?’  Look around.

“Right here in this building, some of Baltimore’s most talented and driven innovators are turning their ideas into entrepreneurship.  They’re poised to grow and hire, helping more of the city’s workers secure a place in the middle class. 

“They’re doing it here because Under Armour, Sagamore Ventures, and city and state officials are all working together to make Port Covington a hub for the new economy, just as it was for the old one.  But rather than propping up the old way of doing things, they’re showing new entrepreneurs and workers that, if they come here, they will find an incubator for their ideas and talents so that they realize the American Dream. 

“Our goal is to expand on this idea and help more of our people to Make It In America in 2016, and we’ve identified four areas for action. 

“First, we first need to ramp up entrepreneurship and innovation like never before. 

“Congress ought to be encouraging the growth of ‘fab-labs’ and ‘maker spaces’ like the one right here in Port Covington so that entrepreneurs can turn sketches into the prototypes that are the starting point for any business.  We ought to make sustainable and usable capital accessible to entrepreneurs, with protections for investors, which is essential to getting a business off the ground.  This includes helping to expand crowdfunding, a resource that many first-time entrepreneurs are drawing on to raise the funding they need to get started.  It also means using the tax code to incentivize entrepreneurship and reducing regulatory burdens where we can, in order to give start-up businesses a stronger chance at success.  And it means facilitating the rise of the ‘on-demand economy’ that has led to greater efficiency and flexibility – while ensuring that labor protections are strong and that workers can access benefits and earn a living wage to support their families. 

“Second, Making It In America in 2016 will also require us to focus relentlessly on closing the skills gap, particularly for women and minorities. 

“We need to invest more in STEAM education – that is, science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics – at every level.  Promoting partnerships between employers and educational institutions, including through apprenticeships, will bring us closer to building a workforce that can compete for every twenty-first century job.  That must include training and retraining programs to make sure that older workers who felt the worst of the recession, but who are still eager to work hard and contribute their know-how, can get back to work and feel that they can still Make It In America.  

“Third, we must build a twenty-first century infrastructure. 

“With all of its potential, even Port Covington faces this challenge.  The Sagamore team and the city are working hard to connect this new hub to its workers and improve their ability to access markets.  That’s the same test cities and states are facing across the country.  We’re not just talking about roads, rails, and water, though they are just as important as ever.  In the twenty-first century economy, access to broadband is an equally important part of the modern system of commerce.  Without it, businesses do not have access to the growing majority of their consumers.  It’s that simple. 

“And finally, Congress must take steps to break down barriers to manufacturing in America. 

“We need to help manufacturers during the scale-up phase so that it makes financial sense to make their products here.  We’re starting to do more of that, by creating manufacturing networks that support start-ups as they grow, rather than all-but-forcing them offshore.  This has the potential to leverage the forces of change to our advantage and create the high-wage, high-skill jobs that will expand the middle class in the twenty-first century.

“But everything I just spoke of is only part of what Make It In America is all about.  Our plan isn’t just about ensuring that businesses and workers can make ‘It” in America.  It’s also about ensuring that those who fill the jobs we create can “Make It” in America – get ahead, secure a better future for themselves and their families.  Reach for an American Dream that grows closer, not farther away.

“To bring wages up and make sure women receive equal pay for equal work in every instance. 

“To make it easier to afford a home and save for retirement. 

“To make child care and higher education more affordable.  

“To make paid family and medical leave available to all.

“To ensure that workers can organize and bargain collectively.

“Secretary Clinton spoke about these things when she came to Baltimore in April, right here at City Garage. 

“Higher wages, better benefits, and opportunities – not just to get by, but get ahead. These are things we believe businesses want for their employees.  And we’re confident they will work with Congress to make it happen if our workforce is competitive and if Making It In America helps a business’s bottom line. 

“The twenty-first century jobs we create must sustain an American Dream for the twenty-first century.  The goal of the Make It In America plan, ultimately, is to attack the growing notion that not even hard work can get you ahead in America anymore.  To eliminate the feeling that our economy is leaving our workers behind, that change is unambiguously bad, and that economic forces will inevitably work against them, with no hope – or help – in sight. 

“I disagree with that notion.  I believe that America’s workers are ready and able to learn, innovate, compete for jobs, and start a business – they just have to be given the opportunity to do so. 

“Our country is always at its greatest when it is looking forward to meet its next challenge, not looking backward to recreate some image of its past. 

“Today, in its mission to help our country meet the challenge of the new economy, Sagamore is bringing The Foundery to City Garage.  With every tool conceivable – and skilled manufacturing experts on hand to help – The Foundery is an extraordinary resource for those seeking to take a blueprint from the back of a napkin and making it come to life as tomorrow’s game-changing product, or even just practice the latest in-demand manufacturing skills.

“Anyone can sign up to become a member, much like a gym.  But here you can exercise your ingenuity, your inventiveness, your entrepreneurship – and hone all the qualities that make American workers and innovators the best in the world. 

“And I’m told that Under Armour will soon be taking up residence at City Garage for its ‘Project Glory,’ as it seeks ways to move more of its own manufacturing here to the United States. 

“The Foundery, City Garage, ‘Project Glory’ – these are all pieces in a broad effort to break out of the old way of doing things, and instead to think creatively about how workers and businesses can get ahead in today’s economy.  And that’s what Make It In America is all about.  We’ll be unveiling more of the specifics of our plan in the weeks and months ahead, offering a blueprint to take America’s economy from recovery to resurgence.

“So thank you, Jason [(Hardebeck, Foundery CEO)] and everyone who is working to make Port Covington a center of American innovation, an example for our country and the world.  With your help, our businesses and workers are going to Make It In Maryland and Make It In America.”