Merkley Introduces Measure to Boost American Manufacturing

WASHINGTON, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today put forward an amendment to promote domestic manufacturing and create jobs here at home.  His measure was offered during the debate over legislation to encourage innovation at small businesses.

“Over the last several decades, American manufacturing has lost ground, taking good paying jobs with it,” said Merkley.  “We know that small businesses are the engines of economic growth.  While we encourage them to innovate, we should also encourage them to use that innovation to invest in American manufacturing and promote growth in our own backyards.”

George Williams, President of Voxtel Inc in Beaverton said, “Voxtel strongly supports Jeff Merkley’s amendment to the SBIR legislation. Voxtel is an active participant in the SBIR program. Since 2005, the company has grown from 2 persons to 30, and has successfully introduced several new technologies to the marketplace, in a large part due to the SBIR program.  Senator Jeff Merkley’s amendment, improves the SBIR program in two ways. First, it provides the U.S. public a return-on-investment by ensuring that the technology leads to domestic job creation and a stronger US manufacturing base. Secondly, it aids small companies in bringing their products to market by providing more resources to the manufacturing element of the technology transfer.  Promoting job creation here at home is not only good for my company; it’s good for my community.”

The Merkley amendment would provide incentives to Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award recipients to test, develop, and manufacture their products in the United States.  These programs offer competitive grants to small businesses to help them develop new products and technology.

The amendment has three components:

Additional reporting on domestic manufacturing

  • Requires reporting on overall program goals and on commercialization projects (Phase III) to include information on development, testing and production.
  • Requires the Interagency Policy Committee, which makes recommendations to improve the programs, to examine incentives for domestic research, testing, development and production.
  • Requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to calculate job creation and domestic production resulting from SBIR /STTR awards, and to recommend proposals to increase job creation and domestic production.

Technical assistance for domestic production

  • Adds technical assistance for firms wanting to manufacture their products or services in the United States.

Preference for applicants producing domestically

  • Gives preference to applicants for commercialization awards, programs or pilots that will test, develop or manufacture their products or services in the United States.