That last item sounds like a request for a national manufacturing policy, and indeed the headline of the press release about the letter said the 10 senators were urging Obama to create a national manufacturing policy. In the actual letter, however, the term "strategy" was the choice. While the rest of us may not see much difference between strategy and policy, we can be sure that politicians could debate the differences until the end of time.
That aside, it should be noted that this was a bipartisan group, seven Democrats and three Republicans, whose names are below. Their letter hit most of the main reasons for a strong manufacturing sector, including: export opportunities, the need for good jobs, pulling the economy out of the current deep recession, developing a skilled workforce, investing in new technologies, and fostering entrepreneurial talent. Surprisingly, it did not mention national security.
The press release included some additional points not specified in the letter.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI): "Our manufacturers aren't competing with companies abroad; they are competing with countries that aggressively support their manufacturers. We need to do the same."
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME): "...because of the unique challenges the sector faces, it is more critical than ever that we invest in a comprehensive policy to revitalize the industry."
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH): "We're one of the only industrialized countries without a national manufacturing policy, and we're paying the price for it. We need to help manufacturers access credit so they can expand operations and hire new workers."
Will anything come of this letter? If there is no followup, probably not, but we in manufacturing should encourage this kind of behavior. For starters, why not consider sending a thank-you note or e-mail to all or any of the 10 senators who stuck out their political necks on this one? They are: Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Jack Reed (D-RI), Carl Levin (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).—[email protected]