Senate MEP Funding Shelby
March 2, 2006
Honorable Richard Shelby
Chairman Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science
U.S. Senate S-146A
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Shelby:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and members of our extended business federation believe that manufacturing jobs created by small to medium sized manufacturers are critical to the long term success of our nation's economy and can help strengthen our defense industrial base at home. Therefore, I am writing to urge you to provide funding of at least $106 million in the FY 2007 Science, State, Justice, and Commerce appropriations bill for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program (MEP).
The MEP program helps America's small and medium sized manufacturers by teaching them how to boost their productivity, increase sales, make sound investments in modernization, and in strengthening employment practices. Small manufacturers employ over 10 million Americans and account for over 56 percent of the value of all manufactured goods in our economy. In addition, approximately 350,000 small manufacturers account for over half of the total value of U.S. production – and represent 98.4 percent of all manufacturing establishments. These jobs are high-skilled and high-wage, with manufacturing employees earning 36 percent more than retail employees per hour.
Strengthening the U.S. industrial base is critical to the overall mission of adequately arming our nation's fighting men and women – as well as deploying new technologies to fight the global war on terror. MEP centers can be mobilized to absorb surges in demand during times of crisis, thus reducing costs in defense supply chains. The MEP program helps meet our changing national defense and homeland security needs by improving defense procurement while quickening the deployment of new technologies.
The MEP program helps manufacturers become more competitive by improving productivity, leveraging private sector investments, and assisting the U.S. industrial base become an innovative high tech global competitor. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region. On behalf of all small to medium sized U.S. manufacturers, I again urge you to provide at least $106 million in the FY 2007 Science, State, Justice, and Commerce appropriations bill for the Department of Commerce's MEP program.
R. Bruce Josten
Cc: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science