Sen. Gary Peters has announced legislation to create a new government agency to synergize the U.S. manufacturing industry.
During a virtual press conference Wednesday morning that included members of the state’s manufacturing industry, Peters unveiled the National Institute of Manufacturing Act, which would create an agency akin to the National Institutes of Health by serving as one voice for manufacturing in the country.
“Our global competitors do this — they do it successfully,” Peters said during the press conference. “When you think of the success from Korea and places like Germany who understand that manufacturing is absolutely critical to their national economies, they work in a cooperative way with private industry to make that industry stronger and enhance employment in their countries. We need to do the same thing in the United States.”
Peters noted U.S. manufacturing globally has slid roughly 35 percent over the last 15 years, a trend he thinks could be reversed by making more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
The federal government runs 58 different manufacturing programs that are spread across 11 different agencies, yet Peters said there is no coordination or cooperation between them.
The National Institute of Manufacturing would also be responsible for developing a National Strategic Plan for Manufacturing that includes planning for emergencies and supply chain disruptions.
This may resonate with local manufacturers, 75 percent of which have experienced supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Institute for Supply Management.
Led by a chief manufacturing officer — who would serve as the agency’s voice to the administration and Congress — the National Institute of Manufacturing would also stand as a hub for manufacturers to provide feedback to the government.
Peters originally proposed the idea last summer during his keynote address at the MForesight Manufacturing Summit in Washington, D.C.
“We’ve been working on this concept for quite some time, so it’s been a work in concept,” Peters said. “We’ve been building support by talking to manufacturers across the country as well as some of the leading manufacturing organizations.”
Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center President Mike Coast, who joined Peters at the conference, called the legislation a “stronger national manufacturing policy.”
“It would certainly be easier to navigate and we’d see some improved efficiencies in the federal program and (it would) make our job easier in working with businesses through this process,” he said. “This bill also helps individual manufacturers access federal programs focused on manufacturing by directing them to Manufacturing.gov to be built out as a one-stop hub.”