Committee on Science and Technology
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Member Speeches :: May 12, 2010

Rep. Gary Peters's Floor Speech on H.R. 5116, the COMPETES Reauthorization

As prepared for delivery

I rise today in support of the America COMPETES Act.  This bill will enhance our nation’s competitiveness, bolster research and science education and support the needs of small businesses and America’s 21st century manufacturing sector.
Small businesses have created nearly 2 of 3 new jobs in our country in the past 15 years.  Small businesses will fuel our economic growth, and small and mid-sized manufacturers are particularly important to creating sustained job growth. Manufacturing accounts for more than half of total U.S. exports, and provides millions of people well-paying jobs.  A healthy manufacturing base is critical to the security of the American middle class and must be a key component of our economic recovery.  In order to maintain competitiveness in the global marketplace, U.S. manufacturers must adapt to new technological developments and economic changes.
The COMPETES Act does just that by providing critical support to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a highly efficient initiative which has spurred 57,000 jobs and $10.5 billion in sales per year recently.  The MEP requires matching investments from states and participating small businesses, but as a long and deep recession continues to take its toll, states like Michigan and many businesses have found it increasingly difficult to continue to meet the cost share requirements to participate in the program.  

The COMPETES Act reduces this burden to allow struggling businesses to remain active in the program.  Reducing small businesses' costs and continuing an effort proven to create jobs makes good sense.  I am grateful to my friend Congressman Ehlers for working with me on this bipartisan idea, and to Chairman Gordon, Ranking Member Hall and Chairman Wu and Ranking Member Smith on the Subcommittee who supported including it in the final bill.
In addition to supporting MEP, COMPETES supports broad manufacturing initiatives such as providing new loan guarantees to help manufacturers access capital and supporting manufacturing R&D.  I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this bipartisan legislation that strengthens American manufacturing and competitiveness.
Thank you, I yield back.

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