In the midst of the Shirley Sherrod misfortune — and as speculation begins regarding who will win and lose in the November general election — little attention has been given to the U.S. Manufacturing Enhancement Act of 2010, commonly called the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, which recently passed Congress. Between now and Election Day, the record must reflect the number of bipartisan votes this bill received as well as a host of other important legislative actions that have moved this country forward.
House Democrats were successful at dividing Republican rank-and-file members and their leaders. Could it be that many in the GOP realized that saying no to everything without offering a better alternative is counterproductive? Could it be the fact that the jobs bill is a good bill that provides tangible results? Or could it be that Republicans with trouble in their districts are finally accepting the fact that more can be accomplished by working with the Democratic majority rather than working in isolation? Whatever the reason, the record must be set straight.
In the end, the final vote was 378 to 43. Nearly 130 Republicans voted with Democrats to pass the bill, which is aimed at lowering the costs manufacturers face when trying to acquire component parts. Forty-two Republicans opposed the bill. The top two GOP leaders in the House were against the bill, while numbers three and four voted in favor of it. Support like this rarely occurs in a season such as this.
As a result of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, manufacturers and businesses of all sizes across the country will no longer face higher taxes on imports and other products not otherwise available in the United States. This lower cost will translate into greater revenue and higher wages. This bill is estimated to support more than 90,000 U.S. jobs and $3.5 billion in gross domestic product.
It is clear that thousands of companies and their employees are now relieved from unnecessary costs that once hindered manufacturing and other American businesses. The savings will also allow U.S. manufacturers and businesses to maintain competitive operations, invest in new facilities, retrain workers, and preserve our manufacturing base.
As Congress continues to implement regulations, enforce laws, and create new laws, the right tone is being set to ensure that small businesses and U.S. manufacturers have the tools needed to create jobs and strengthen the economy at home rather than having manufacturing jobs head overseas.
Despite the beliefs of many, the jobs bill was not the first action taken to create jobs and help reverse the course that led to the worst financial situation our country has faced since the Great Depression.
In order to address the Republican Party's tendency to say no to everything, a strategy to publicly encourage them to make a decision was called for. As a result, Democrats put the jobs bill on the suspension calendar to force a straight up-or-down vote on it. Thus, the GOP had no choice but to make a decision between voting for a jobs proposal or voting to further their campaign ambitions.
More and more distractions will flood the airwaves, and more intentional misinformation will consume commercial time between now and November. Informed voters must do their own research and listen to and read from more than one media outlet — and take in more than one point of view — in order to get the complete story. Too often people do not take the time or effort to gather a variety of information before they form their own opinions. Too often people vote against their own self-interests by relying only on unfounded sound bites to make their decisions instead of seeking out the facts.
While such actions will continue, I am convinced that people will not let their fear, emotions, or uncertainty cloud their vision come November.