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Schumer, Gillibrand Push For RAMI Bill
December 15, 2014
By Katie Atkins email@example.com , Post-Journal
U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are encouraging colleagues to vote in favor of legislation that could establish manufacturing hubs across the nation.
The goal of the bill is to create a national network of industry-driven, regionally based centers to improve the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing and increase U.S. production.
The Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act, or RAMI, has received strong support from both sides of the aisle and passed in the House in September, but has yet to be approved in the Senate.
Schumer and Gillibrand are hopeful that RAMI is included in a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill unveiled recently that funds the federal government through the end of September 2015.
The omnibus bill, which is an umbrella term for multiple bills concerning various topics, is expected to reach the Senate floor for a vote today or Tuesday, but must be approved again by the House first. If the bill clears Congress it will head to President Barack Obama's desk for his final signature.
RAMI was designed to build public-private partnerships among higher education, community colleges and manufacturers of all sizes to address advanced manufacturing challenges.
"In this economy, Americans need something to come together on, something to unite around to fight for jobs. RAMI is that uniting initiative," said Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, who introduced the bill in September with Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
Schumer recently called both House and Senate appropriators to ensure the legislation would be included in the omnibus bill.
"I am urging my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to pass this legislation and send it to the President's desk. I will fight tooth and nail to figure out a way to bring one of these new manufacturing hubs to New York," he said. "Upstate New York deserves the chance to lead the nation in high-tech manufacturing, and this first-ever legislation to create 15 manufacturing hubs could do just that."
Gillibrand said the legislation would help rebuild America's proud manufacturing tradition and ensure the country remains globally competitive.
"New York's great manufacturing communities are best positioned to be home to one of these innovation hubs, sparking more growth in high-tech manufacturing sectors, jumpstarting new businesses and creating good-paying jobs right here where we need them the most," she said.
RAMI would bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies, and all levels of government to accelerate manufacturing innovation in technologies with commercial applications.
As part of his budget for fiscal year 2013, Obama recommended investing $1 billion to create a network of 15 manufacturing hubs called "Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation."
While an initial pilot hub center was opened in Ohio in 2012, and Obama indicated his desire to create three additional pilot centers on an interim basis funded through the Energy and Defense departments, ultimately he urged Congress in his State of the Union Address that year to pass legislation authorizing the full network of centers.
"I pushed to make sure this legislation could be considered before the end of this Congress because it has the potential to transform cities in Upstate New York that have a storied history and promising future in high-tech research, innovation and manufacturing," Schumer said.