The House Republican message is confusing … Erik Paulsen is pushing for a repeal (and refund) of the Medical Device Excise Tax even though it will increase the deficit by over $26 Billion because he believes that medical device industry is losing jobs (although an Ernst and Young study reports a 5% gain in jobs ~ 29,800) … meanwhile John Kline is pushing another Career & Jobs Fair Monday, June 22 “I encourage constituents to attend the jobs fair next month or share the information with anyone they know who is looking for a job. I hope my career and jobs fair provides new opportunities to put Minnesotans back to work.”
Thus when the House was given an opportunity to appease the US Chamber of Commerce’s Top Priority (the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program), one would think that Representatives Paulsen and Kline would join with other Republicans and vast majority of Democrats, but they didn’t.
Tom Emmer said Yes … but the proposal failed 213 Yes and 214 No … short by one vote.
OK … here’s the background.
In today’s world of sequester-budgeting, government funding is being cut. And it’s through the Appropriations process that monies are many times moved from one fund to another. This is what John Kline hopes will happen so that Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School in northern Minnesota moves up the national priority list. There is no free money … something will have to be cut if John Kline wants more money for Native American schools.
The bill provides a $256 million cut from the Fiscal Year 2015 discretionary budget authority for the Department of Commerce while the discretionary budget authority for the Department of Justice is increased $857 million above the FY2015 enacted level.
On Tuesday, during the House debate over the H.R. 2578 : Appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, an amendment was offered to make sure that the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership of the National Institute of Standards and Technology was funded at the amount recommended by the US Chamber of Commerce.
Thus, Elizabeth Esty (D-CT-05) offered an amendment stating “Mr. Chairman, we should invest in manufacturing, which plays such a vital role in innovation and competitiveness. The Federal Government is uniquely situated to help ensure that manufacturing remains the backbone of the U.S. economy.
My amendment fully funds the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program by increasing funding for the industrial technologies account by $11 million.”
And to make this “budget neutral”, there was an offset … taking monies away from the Federal Prison system.
There is an ongoing debate about whether the justice system needs to be reformed (as
48.7% of inmates are being held on drug convictions) … FY 2014, Bureau Of Prisons saw its first population decline in decades, with further reductions in FY 2015 as the prison population is expected to decrease further in the coming years … so this small $11 million request should be worthy of consideration … if you believe the MEP is a good program.
The Manufacturing Extension Program (MEP) helps manufacturers become more competitive by improving their productivity, leveraging private sector investments and assisting the U.S. industrial base to become an innovative high tech global competitor. The MEP program has a proven track record of effective partnerships with manufacturers all across the country. Since the MEP program started more than 25 years ago, centers across America have created more than 729,000 manufacturing jobs, saved companies more than $13.4 billion, and turned every dollar of Federal investment into $19 in new sales growth.
In Minnesota, Bob Kill is Enterprise Minnesota’s president and CEO and is presently “on tour” … holding presentations on the State of Manufacturing®.
Enterprise Minnesota is a consulting organization that works with medium-size and smaller manufacturing companies and has surveyed businesses for the past seven years.
The kick-off event was in Mankato where Mr. Kill said, “When we ask what’s your financial confidence — it’s the highest peak since we started the survey.”
“Minnesota’s manufacturers are undoubtedly bullish about their prospects for 2015,” said Mr. Kill. “The chronic shortage of qualified workers, however, has manufacturers increasingly concerned that they will not be able to take full advantage of the improving economy.”
A whopping 89 percent of manufacturing executives say they are confident about the future of their firms, a five point increase over the 2014 survey results.
Manufacturers are also not as worried as they used to be about foreign competition, a fact Mr. Kill credits to companies taking a hard look at their plants during the recession. “I’m a firm believer that during the downturn a lot of companies invested heavily in process and people.”
OK … so let‘s put this in perspective, there is Enterprise Minnesota … one of the participants in the MEP program telling us that business is worried about qualified employees … a MEP program with a track record of creating jobs … and the US Chamber of Commerce saying that Congress needs to provide the funding.
And the House, with John Kline and Erik Paulsen in the majority, rejecting funding … by ONE VOTE.
Remember that when they talk about being focused on job creation.