Stevens, Balderson Introduce Legislation to Help Small Manufacturers Survive COVID-19 Pandemic

March 23, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Haley Stevens (MI-11) and Congressman Troy Balderson (R-OH-12) introduced H.R. 6323, the MEP Crisis Response Act, a bill to help small manufacturing firms that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. This bipartisan legislation will temporarily waive the cost-sharing requirement for small and mid-sized manufacturers that want to take advantage of resources offered by the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Cory Gardner (R-Col.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

Administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the MEP program is a network of public-private partnerships in every state that gives small- and mid-sized manufacturers the services and resources they need to create well-paying manufacturing jobs and thrive in today’s economy. The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, which is the official representative of the MEP National Network in Michigan, is located in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District. The MEP Crisis Response Act would double federal funding for the MEP network, and make these crucial resources and services available to small and mid-sized manufacturers at no cost for the next year.

“Every industry is feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but the manufacturing community in particular is struggling to adjust to social distancing practices and overall economic uncertainty,” said Congresswoman Stevens. “In Michigan and across the country, the MEP National Network has a proven track record of helping manufacturers grow their business and create jobs. In this challenging environment, their resources and services are more important than ever. The MEP Crisis Response Act will help our manufacturing economy navigate the coronavirus pandemic by making the expertise of the MEP National Network available to manufacturers at no cost to these businesses, while also doubling down on our federal investment in this effective and necessary program.”

“These partnerships greatly benefit small-operation manufacturers that don’t have the resources to troubleshoot large-scale problems,” said Congressman Troy Balderson. “We can’t let American manufacturing suffer because of a global pandemic, which is why temporarily suspending cost-sharing requirements is crucial to relieving the burden on these small businesses.”

“This bill is very important to the MEP National Network and to our nation’s small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs),” said Mike Coast, President of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. “In Michigan, this one-time waiver of the cost share will allow our center to continue to work with SMMs to address issues to strengthen the supply chain around critical areas like cybersecurity, supplier scouting, evaluation of domestic sourcing and implementing advanced technologies around Industry 4.0. These are essential services that will enable us to support and generate continued momentum that our manufacturers will need to survive and thrive in a dramatically changing business environment,” Coast said.

Last week, Congresswoman Stevens released a Resource Guide for businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The resource guide is available on Congresswoman Stevens’ website HERE.