10/05/2012 01:17 pm ET Updated Dec 05, 2012

On Manufacturing Day, An Open Letter to Speaker Boehner

Dear Speaker Boehner:

Today marks the official launch of a new annual "Manufacturing Day," an initiative sponsored by public and private organizations to highlight the critically important role the manufacturing sector plays in our economy. As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America, manufacturing is written into Rhode Island's DNA -- it is an inextricable part of who we are as a community and how our economy functions. Manufacturing has been a bright spot in our nation's economic recovery, but, as we have seen over recent months, this sector needs the careful attention of Congress. Coming from a state in which the effects of the economic downturn continue to have an impact on manufacturing job growth and retention, I know that now, more than ever, Congress must put aside partisan politics and focus on a serious and comprehensive agenda to strengthen American manufacturing.

Today, as public and private sector organizations collaborate on the first-annual "Manufacturing Day," I write to ask you to commit to advancing a meaningful package of legislation in support of our manufacturing sector as soon as Congress reconvenes in November. While there are many challenges and competing priorities to address when Congress returns, we can all agree that there is an urgent need to help generate job growth, equip our workforce with the education and skills needed for 21st century jobs, ensure a level playing field in foreign trade, and enhance the ability of our manufacturers to innovate, compete, and prosper.

As I have said several times in the past, while Democrats and Republicans may disagree on the best approach to create jobs, it is the responsibility of this Congress to put forward proposals, engage in productive debate, attempt to find common ground, and ultimately reach agreement on initiatives that will put Americans back to work -- particularly in the well-paying jobs created through a healthy and strong manufacturing sector.

Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Minority Whip in the House of Representatives, has led an all-encompassing initiative to help produce the kinds of conditions that will help our country out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build our competitors. This aggressive, Make It In America Agenda, includes legislation on infrastructure, small business, innovation, tax policy, competitiveness, education, clean energy, and more. Several of the proposals have bi-partisan support, some have in fact already passed the House and been signed into law -- clear indications that if we seize this opportunity together and work collectively, then we can advance efforts that support American manufacturing and American workers.

In closing, as we take this day to underscore the significance, the opportunities, and the challenges of our manufacturing sector, I welcome the prospect of working across the aisle to build upon the Make It In America agenda and help put more Rhode Islanders and Americans back to work.

My best always,

David N. Cicilline
Member of Congress