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Lawmakers Hear Testimony on Importance of Manufacturing Sector to Economy

Lawmakers on the Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee heard testimony Wednesday on the importance of the manufacturing sector to economic stability.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said that a "continuing loss of US manufacturing means a greater dependence on foreign factories to produce both everyday consumer goods and the key elements of our national security, including the building blocks of our nation's infrastructure and the equipment crucial to our nation's military."

Brown argued that the US needs to excel at both the manufacturing sector and the financial services sector "to maintain our leadership in the global economy and our security in the global arena."

Leo Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers, argued that the manufacturing sector is key to economic growth.

"Manufacturing provides millions of jobs in our economy," Gerard said. "American manufacturing, prior to the downturn, directly employed 14 million Americans and accounts for 8 million additional jobs in other sectors."

He called it the "single largest economic sector contributing to our economy."

Gerard said the needs of the manufacturing sector are "broad and deep" and noted that there are very few issues that lawmakers confront whose resolution does "not have an impact on our nation's manufacturing sector."

"Restoring growth in the manufacturing sector is vital to reigniting economic growth in this country," Gerard added.

Eugene Haffely, CEO of Assembly and Test Worldwide, testified that the US is "perilously close to losing a critical industry - one that we depend upon for both economic stability and national security."

"The manufacturing technology industry provides productivity improvements that level the playing field for America's highly-skilled workforce, helping us to compete against producers in low-cost labor markets."

He said it is "not an exaggeration to say that essential future innovations in manufacturing are simply impossible without a robust supply chain that includes stable and healthy factory floor equipment producers."

"We must get credit flowing again to America's producers of manufacturing technology and our customers," Haffely argued.

"The only way to break this cycle of job loss and bankruptcy is to provide the manufacturing sector the cash flow we need to continue doing business and securing American jobs."

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