Bipartisan Legislation to Boost U.S. Manufacturing Put Forward in Both Chambers


A U.S. chief manufacturing officer would be appointed to advise the president.

Lawmakers pushed this week for the creation of an Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy to advise the president, a coordinated, long-term national strategy to promote production—and multiple other moves meant to support U.S. supply chains and makers.

Proposals were laid out in the Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy Act, introduced Monday by Reps. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Haley Stevens, D-Mich., and Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Amy Klobuchar, D-M.N., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Chris Coons, D-Del. 

“A strong manufacturing sector is critical to maintaining American competitiveness, to our national security, and to a robust economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis,” Portman said in a statement. “The Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation will work to coordinate existing federal programs and resources for manufacturers, while providing the president with analysis and perspective.”

Deemed OMII for short, the office would sit in the Executive Office of the President and be led by a to-be-appointed chief manufacturing officer. Among other responsibilities, that individual would provide guidance to America’s leader on manufacturing and industrial innovation-aligned considerations connected “to areas of national concern,” according to the House’s 58-page version of the bill. Topics like the economy, workforce, environment and technological innovation would be assessed and addressed. 

A fact-sheet highlighting the bill’s inclusions noted that OMII would be “modeled on the Executive Office of Science and Technology Policy.” Officials involved would develop a National Strategic Plan—to be updated quadrennially—streamlining relevant needs across sectors and goals to guarantee American manufacturing leadership. 

The legislation would also establish a Federal Strategy and Coordinating Council composed of many federal leaders, including the Defense, Commerce, Energy, Treasury, State, and Veterans Affairs Secretaries, National Security Advisor, and others. They’d work to identify vulnerabilities in American supply chains and workforce skills, areas where investment is needed and other national priorities. The act also calls for the formation of a National Institute of Standards and Technology-sponsored, federally-funded research and development center, the Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy Institute. Among other inclusions, it would also set up the President’s Advisory Committee on Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation to convene representatives from the business, consumer, defense, public interest, and labor sectors to provide guidance on the national landscape.

A total of $20 million would authorize to be appropriated via the bill, to enable the various, specifically laid out purposes. The legislation was referred to several committees upon introduction.

More than a dozen associations endorsed the bicameral proposals, which come as U.S. manufacturing industries continue to grapple with disruptions caused by the ongoing national health emergency.

“The Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy Act gives manufacturers a long overdue seat at the policy-making table at a time when the sector is taking a leading role responding to the pandemic and driving the economy,” Precision Metalforming Association President David Klotz said in a statement.