Lawmakers Call for a Manufacturing Chief to Report to the President

By Matthew McMullan
Members of both parties, and in both chambers, want a new “manufacturing czar” who will report directly to the president. Getty Images

Legislation would create a new office to coordinate industrial policy.

A group of lawmakers is pushing a bill that would create a new office in the executive branch of government, one that would focus exclusively on federal manufacturing policy and whose chief would report directly to the president.

It would be aptly named the Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy, and it’s got support from members of both parties. Axios notes that its real purpose is to “put more meat on the rhetorical bones (about pro-manufacturing policy), including coordination with Congress on lessons learned from the pandemic.”

We agree, and we’re supportive of this legislation. Here’s what Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul said about it:

As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, America has become far too vulnerable because we have lost the manufacturing capacity to make critical goods. We must dramatically upscale our investments in infrastructure, innovation, and the workforce. A national manufacturing strategy, combined with an office dedicated to strengthening domestic manufacturing in the Executive Office of the President, will help ensure those investments create the resilient supply chains we need to rebuild our economy and safeguard our security.

Team AAM thinks having an office that can gather and coordinate industrial policy is a good idea, and it’s an especially good idea now as the Biden administration continues to talk up its interest in putting that kind of policy into practice. Provided this legislation passes and this office is created, though, filling this position with people who understand what good manufacturing policy is will be just as important. That, among other things, means an expansion of Buy America rules to generate domestic manufacturing capacity and increased spending on R&D for targeted industries.

Anyway: Shout out to Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) for sponsoring this legislation. It has AAM’s official endorsement.