Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand on Tuesday announced an effort to boost manufacturing that could become part of a larger Democratic plan to put jobs back at the center of the congressional agenda.
Noting that New York State lost 123,000 manufacturing jobs -- including 17,500 in Western New York -- since 2005, Gillibrand pushed three separate bills aimed at reviving American factories.
The New York Democrat announced that she is sponsoring a bill creating "Make It in America" grants, which would go to small and medium-sized manufacturers in communities with high unemployment. Companies could use those grants to retool their operations and retrain their work forces.
In addition, Gillibrand said, she is pushing for an expansion of the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit to include grants as well as tax credits to help companies engaged in clean-energy manufacturing.
Gillibrand also wants to make permanent the New Markets Tax Credit, which aims to help leverage private investment.
"It's time to see 'Made in America' again, starting right here in New York," she said. "When we spark more growth in clean-tech and high-tech manufacturing, we'll invigorate New York's great manufacturing communities, start more new businesses and create more family-supporting jobs right here where we need them the most."
Such job-boosting grants and tax credits could face a rough ride in the deficit-reduction-obsessed, Republican-controlled House.
But Gillibrand aims to get her ideas included in a Senate jobs package that the Democratic majority intends to put together this summer.
The New Markets Tax Credit proposal has the support of Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, and that bipartisan backing will matter on both sides of the Capitol, Gillibrand said.
"I think there will be bipartisan support for investment that creates a better landscape for job growth," Gillibrand said.