Happy Monday morning, and welcome to the Early Shift.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) crew is back home after last week's successful trip to Netroots Nation in Detroit. During our stay in the Motor City, Team AAM spread the word about ways that policymakers and others can support U.S. manufacturing, including investment in our nation’s infrastructure and support for Buy America policies. Among the highlights of our trip:
- We hosted a great panel discussion on Saturday morning that looked at how manufacturing supports the nation's middle class. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), Daily Kos Labor Editor Laura Clawson, United Steelworkers Local 4131 President Durwin Royal, and AAM President Scott Paul joined moderator Joe Sudbay for a talk that touched on everything from unfair trade policies and workers’ rights to the importance of holding our politicians accountable. There even was a celebrity appearance, as MSNBC's Krystal Ball stopped by.
- Scott Paul also addressed the full Netroots crowd during the conference’s closing plenary, where he discussed the importance of manufacturing jobs and the success of the recent Save Our Steel Jobs effort.
- AAM hosted the official Netroots Nation closing night party at the Michigan Science Center, where partygoers danced the night away and checked out the planetarium. We’re hoping they learned a few things about manufacturing, too. The science center is home to “Roads, Tunnels and Bridges,” which features hands-on, interactive exhibits on transportation, fuels, and infrastructure.
Now that Netroots is over, we've got our eyes set on Capitol Hill, where the effort to fund the Highway Trust Fund rolls on. The House last week passed a bill to keep state transportation projects funded through May 2015, but as Roll Call noted, the bill faces delays in the Senate as the parties bicker over how many amendments to debate.
Meanwhile, a new poll from Politico finds that the economy is the No. 1 issue on voters’ minds heading into the 2014 midterm elections. That’s no surprise to us — an AAM poll conducted earlier this year showed that voters in both parties consider jobs, particularly in manufacturing, as a top issue. Voters also see U.S. policies and policymakers as an obstacle to manufacturing job creation.
Both polls provide further proof lawmakers should focus on finding a lasting solution to the Highway Trust Fund issue rather than a temporary fix. Significant investments to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure — which would include Buy America requirements — will lead to job creation nationwide while boosting the economy.
And while our lawmakers debate, American workers are ready to go to work. As the Wall Street Journal reported this weekend, more Americans are pursuing skills training for technical jobs. Now it's up to Washington to ensure the jobs will be there for them.