WASHINGTON The House approved legislation on Wednesday (Sept. 21) that seeks to boost U.S. manufacturing technology.
The Manufacturing Technology Competitiveness Act, approved by a vote of 394-24, would provide grants, spur research and establish scholarships designed to help small and mid-sized manufacturers.
Similar legislation was approved by the House last year, but the measure never made it to the Senate floor for a final vote.
The House bill reauthorizes and increases funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership which is overseen by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology. Program funding would jump by $10 million over the next two years to $120 million a year.
Grants would be used to develop new manufacturing technologies while the scholarship program would fund post-doctoral and senior research fellowship programs in manufacturing sciences.
"Globalization is rapidly changing the way business is done, and our small and medium-sized firms in particular are at the mercy of this process and the exposure to increased competition it brings," said Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., chief sponsor of the legislation.
"For our firms to compete today and in the future, we need more research and development into how to manufacture things better, faster and cheaper," Ehlers added.