By Russell Berman - 05/04/11 10:21 AM EDT
Win the Future might be President Obama’s economic slogan of choice, but Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) wants the White House to adopt another catchy phrase: Make It in America.
Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, will head the Democratic leadership team Wednesday in unveiling the latest edition of its Make It in America agenda, and he wants the Obama administration to step up its push for a comprehensive domestic manufacturing strategy.
The veteran Maryland Democrat has been championing the Make It in America notion for more than a year as a way of advancing the party’s ideas to boost U.S. jobs, entrepreneurship and the domestic production of goods. Hoyer credits Obama with creating 1.75 million jobs over the last 15 months, but he said the administration needs a broader plan to make up for the much deeper job losses of the recession.
“I think he’s working on one,” Hoyer said.
“We’re having success [creating jobs],” he added later, “but we’re not going to have the kind of success we need to overcome the 8 million that were lost during the Bush administration without having a plan to get from where we are to where we need to be.”
Obama has announced a goal of doubling U.S. exports, and he is scheduled to push for more domestic manufacturing during a Friday trip to Indianapolis.
“We are supportive of Congressman Hoyer’s efforts to encourage U.S. manufacturing,” a White House official said.
The agenda that Democratic leaders will highlight Tuesday includes a raft of legislation party lawmakers have proposed in recent years, some of which has drawn bipartisan support and the endorsement of the Obama administration.
Near the top of the list is a bill by Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) directing the president to develop “a national strategy for manufacturing.” Other proposals would extend the Build America Bonds program, create a national infrastructure bank, make permanent the research and development tax credit, enact corporate tax reform and target currency manipulation by China.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats will join Hoyer at the press conference.
While some of the Democratic proposals enjoy GOP support, Democrats have little power to advance them in the minority. Hoyer helped Republicans secure votes on key spending bills to keep the government running earlier this year, but he said he won no promises from the GOP to advance his agenda.
“I didn’t seek any concessions,” Hoyer told The Hill. “There are times when I believe I’m the dealer. I didn’t think I was the dealer at that point in time. Neither the leader nor I were in a position to make deals. We were in a position to decide whether the deal that was made was acceptable or we should reject it as a whole.”
Hoyer said he would reach out to Republican leaders and committee chairmen to gain their support, but he does not plan to push the agenda as part of the upcoming debt-limit fight.
The GOP is making no commitments.
“We’re interested in effective policies to create jobs, cut spending and increase the supply of American energy to lower gas prices — thus far, we haven’t seen any of that from Leader Pelosi’s team,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerOvernight Finance: GOP makes its case for impeaching IRS chief | Clinton hits Trump over housing crash remarks | Ryan's big Puerto Rico win House GOP changes rules to thwart Dems Ryan secures big win with bipartisan Puerto Rico deal MORE (R-Ohio).
That could relegate the Make It in American agenda to the campaign trail in 2012. The platform “is going to be an essential part of our campaign throughout the country,” said Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“We have a specific, concrete set of proposals to reclaim our manufacturing supremacy, to put people back to work, and we’re going to feature those proposals on a continuous basis,” Israel said.