Richard E. Cohen
The Maryland Democrat’s legislative prescription for expanding manufacturing growth included some bills that have drawn bipartisan support and touched on themes House Republicans plan to advance this month — including reducing tax and regulatory complexity.
In a speech to the Democratic-allied Center for American Progress, Hoyer called for action on initiatives to help accelerate developing technologies and to double American exports by 2015, proposals President Obama has called for to strengthen the nation’s competitiveness overseas.
Hoyer’s speech came as Obama called on Congress to pass a one-year extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts on couples’ income under $250,000 and single filers’ income under $200,000.
Legislation that Hoyer said would help spur manufacturing expansion included a bill (HR 5542) sponsored by Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., that would eliminate a tax deduction for moving expenses for companies shipping jobs overseas and offer a new tax credit to companies moving jobs back into the United States.
Hoyer also called for action on a package of temporary suspensions of some tariffs, particularly for specific imported items that do not compete with U.S.-made products.
The miscellaneous tariff suspension bills have drawn support from Democrats and Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee. Hoyer specifically called for action on a measure that would eliminate tariffs on imported raw materials that are used by U.S. manufacturers but are not produced domestically.
Ways and Means has posted for several weeks more than 1,000 tariff relief measures sponsored by dozens of lawmakers from each party, with the expectation of bipartisan action this year.
The Democrats’ manufacturing agenda also includes two job-training measures.
One of them, backed by Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass., would reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (HR 4227), which is designed to help manufacturers expand their skilled workforce. Republicans on the Education and the Workforce Committee last month approved a separate workforce training measure.
Hoyer also called for action on a workforce training measure (HR 4249) backed by Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y. The bill would provide a tax credit to employers that work with educational institutions on job training.
Another feature of Hoyer’s manufacturing agenda is a bill (HR 1338) by Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J., to create a strategic transportation plan for freight carriers. The bill would designate priority freight corridors and gateways.
He also embraced a bill (HR 3057) by Reps. Billy Long, R-Mo., and Linda T. Sánchez, D-Calif., that would create new procedures for investigating international-trade claims of foreign manufacturers.
Hoyer highlighted examples of major manufacturers moving facilities back into the United States — including a Google plant in California that will produce a home media device and plans by Airbus to construct an aircraft plant in Alabama.
Hoyer said the legislation is needed to help reverse recent weak jobs growth, including a slowdown in manufacturing.
“Just last week, the Institute of Supply Management reported that June was the first month that the manufacturing sector contracted since July 2009,” Hoyer said. “And today, U.S. manufacturers are expected to announce that growth in first quarter earnings this year was the slowest since 2009. We cannot let this become a trend.”
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, responded to the Democratic initiatives on Monday by criticizing the party’s support for tax increases on the wealthy and small businesses and Obama’s management of the economy.
“House Republicans are leading on jobs, and have passed more than 30 jobs bills that the president and his party continue to block in the Senate,” Boehner said.