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SENATE APPROVES DODD’S BILL TO STRENGTHEN MANUFACTURING CRITICAL TO AMERICA’S SECURITY

Bipartisan Bill Modernizes Defense Production Act, Protects American Manufacturing

September 17, 2009

WASHINGTON –Last night the Senate passed a bill, authored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) and cosponsored by Banking Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), to reform and reauthorize the Defense Production Act. 
 
The bill strengthens America’s manufacturing base for products critical to America’s security.  This includes industries that support our nation’s energy and infrastructure needs, and help civilian agencies and the military respond to crises at home and abroad.
 
“We leave our nation vulnerable if we allow American manufacturing to crumble and become overly dependent on foreign companies for critical goods, materials, and technology,” Dodd said.  “Over the last decade, we have lost an average of 40,000 manufacturing jobs per month.  In Connecticut, we lost nearly 16,000 manufacturing jobs in the last year alone – more than 8 per cent of our manufacturing sector, gone.  It’s time for our government to restore our manufacturing strength in order to ensure our nation’s security.”
 
First signed by President Truman in 1950, the Defense Production Act has helped our government keep production lines humming, military supplies fully stocked, and our country prepared in case of emergency. 
 
Two years ago, Dodd succeeded in passing amendments to direct the Department of Homeland Security and the Government Accountability Office to report on how the Act is being used.  Both reports found that many agencies do not take full advantage of the tools the DPA provides.  
 
Based on these findings, Dodd added crucial updates to this bill that will make the Defense Production Act more effective.  Under the legislation approved by the Senate yesterday, the DPA will now:
 
·         Ensure that our nation is prepared to respond to emergencies by requiring that federal agencies set up systems to rapidly mobilize manufacturers to meet America’s needs in a crisis – from responses to terrorist attacks and health pandemics to hurricanes and energy shortages.
 
·         Ensure that American manufacturers critical to our security have access to needed government investment.  The bill provides loans and loan-guarantees to reliable suppliers that have trouble gaining access to credit.  To protect taxpayers, Dodd’s bill requires that these loans be made only after the loan applicant provides proof that they can repay the loan, and after Congress provides the needed funds.
 
·         Create a Cabinet level forum on industrial policy by establishing the interagency Defense Production Act Committee.  The President will appoint the chairman and the committee will be composed of appropriate Cabinet officials and agency heads, as well as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors.  The panel will report to Congress annually on use of DPA authorities and provide recommendations. 
 
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