January 21, 2011

Whitehouse Urges President to Increase Support for American Manufacturers

Providence, RI – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is urging President Obama to affirm his support for domestic manufacturers during next week’s State of the Union address. In a letter to the president, Whitehouse highlighted the importance of the manufacturing industry to Rhode Island’s economy and proposed ways to preserve and create jobs.

“From addressing unfair currency manipulation that benefits Chinese producers to providing greater access to capital for U.S. companies, there is much we can do to help American manufacturers,” Whitehouse wrote.

Senator Whitehouse has been visiting local manufacturers to hear from them about the challenges they face and what they need to grow and prosper. He has proposed a “Making It in Rhode Island” plan to help local manufacturers, and next week will introduce the Offshoring Prevention Act, which would end a perverse tax provision that rewards companies for moving factories overseas.

The full text of Whitehouse’s letter is below.


January 20, 2011

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Re: Supporting American manufacturers

Dear Mr. President:

As you prepare for your second State of the Union address, I write to encourage you to use the occasion to highlight your commitment to supporting domestic manufacturing. The American manufacturing sector has been hit harder than most in recent years, suffering not just from the weak economic climate but also from increased production costs and foreign competition. Once the backbone of the American economy, the manufacturing sector has declined sharply in recent years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of manufacturing jobs declined by almost a third over the past decade from 17.2 million in 2000 to 11.7 million in 2010. This decline has been felt most sharply in states like Rhode Island with economies that have historically centered on a strong manufacturing industry.

From addressing unfair currency manipulation that benefits Chinese producers to providing greater access to capital for U.S. companies, there is much that we can do to help American manufacturers. In particular, I want to bring your attention to the Offshoring Prevention Act, which I plan to introduce next week. This bill, similar to legislation authored by Senator Byron Dorgan, would prohibit U.S. companies that base their factories in foreign countries from deferring the payment of U.S. income taxes on that income. This would help to level the playing field for U.S. producers and to remove a powerful incentive for offshoring jobs.

I also ask you to support legislation that I soon plan to reintroduce which would provide small, family-owned firms with a realistic reorganization option in bankruptcy. Chapter 11 is expensive and wipes out equity, and small business owners currently have little opportunity to restructure their firms. My Small Business Jobs Preservation Act would give smaller company owners a chance to reorganize and stay in business through a process similar to that available to family farms in Chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code. My bill would keep companies in business and preserve jobs at zero cost to the taxpayers.

Thank you for considering this request and for the work that you have already done to support American manufacturing. I look forward to working with you in the new Congress to preserve and create American jobs.


Sheldon Whitehouse

United States Senator


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