October is Manufacturing Month
With U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Q: Why do you push policies to
help strengthen U.S. manufacturing?
A: A robust manufacturing sector supports good-paying,
high-quality jobs. For 245 years, the pioneering spirit of the American people has
propelled the United States to soaring heights of innovation and prosperity,
anchored by top of the line manufacturing that helps diversify our economic
strength, from agriculture to renewable energy, construction and medicine. In
communities across the country, our spirit of enterprise, paired with an
unstoppable work ethic, fosters a thriving manufacturing base, producing
high-quality goods and services for consumers around the world and creating
good-paying jobs that support U.S. households and grow the local tax base.
During the once-a-century pandemic, America’s manufacturers answered an urgent
call to produce consumer goods, medical supplies and more, reminiscent of a
wartime effort with all hands on deck. As the economy recovers, disruptions to the
supply chain and labor force shortages are challenging growth and productivity.
At my 99 county meetings, one of the most common concerns I hear from employers
is the widening gap between job openings and workers available to fill them.
The need for employees is a clear and urgent need for so many businesses in
Iowa, from the skilled trades to entry level positions. As a member of the
Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, I support workforce education and
training programs to help workers advance their careers and businesses to grow,
thrive and serve their customers.
At the policymaking tables in
Washington, I pursue tax, trade, antitrust and intellectual property policies
to help give U.S. businesses the best possible competitive advantage. For
example, from the Senate Judiciary Committee I’ve led bipartisan efforts to
protect American intellectual
property (IP), curb data thieves from stealing lucrative high-tech secrets
and sensitive information and crack
down on counterfeit merchandise that harm U.S. manufacturers and put
consumer safety at risk. America also needs enforceable international trade
agreements to prevent forced technology transfers, anticompetitive subsidies
and state-sanctioned IP theft that undermine America’s competitiveness. I’m
co-sponsoring bipartisan reforms to prevent abuse of Section 232 tariffs that
can lead to harmful retaliatory tariffs on farmers and manufacturers.
Competitive tax regimes for U.S. corporations and small businesses help create
jobs, boost wages and cultivate growth and expansion. The Tax Cuts and Jobs
Act I helped steer in 2017 to President Trump’s desk created the pro-growth
foundation that added nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs in the United States.
The historic USMCA trade agreement was another big boost to U.S. manufacturing.
That was before COVID-19 reached our shores and tapped the brakes on the best
economic expansion in a half-century. Instead of embracing these pro-growth tax
policies that work, the Biden administration wants to raise taxes that would
choke capital investment, the lifeblood for manufacturing, entrepreneurism and
innovation in America.
Q: What’s your message to Iowans
during national manufacturing month?
A: We need to toot our own horn more
often. The two words that best encapsulate Iowa’s workforce are quality
and productivity. At my 99 county meetings, I make a point to include stops at
local manufacturers and factory floors so that I hear what’s on the minds of
employers and workers. This year 19 of my 99 county meetings were held in local
manufacturing facilities. Before opening up for a Q&A with workers, I take
a tour of the business to learn more about their work and the manufacturing
processes and products. Without exception, I’m impressed with the people who
are producing state of the art equipment and products in our local communities.
The craftsmanship, work ethic and high-tech expertise reinforce what I’ve long
known – Iowa doesn’t brag enough about its workforce and industry. From a
business in Chickasaw County that offers full sheet metal fabrication and
engineering services to a drilling equipment manufacturer in Clarke County, an
electronic product manufacturer in Linn County and a world class foundry in
Union County, the success of these manufacturers depends on the technicians,
engineers, and skilled trades people who deliver top-notch craftsmanship to
produce high-quality products that industries around the world depend upon,
from mining to aerospace, agriculture, construction and the military, including
specialized equipment used for the presidential helicopter, Marine One. This is
all happening in our own backyard.
Before I was elected to
Congress, I worked for a decade on the factory floor and punched a clock as a
card-carrying union member. These manufacturing jobs are the backbone of
America’s manufacturing base that build strong families, strong communities and
a strong nation. As our manufacturing sector innovates with advanced
technology, it’s more important than ever for job training to keep pace with
growth and opportunity. If Washington gets its act together, there’s even more
growth on the horizon. I supported the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill
that would make crucial investment in Iowa’s roads, bridges, waterways,
airports and rural broadband. If enacted into law, Iowa’s manufacturing sector
and workforce would be even busier for the next decade and beyond.
October is National