Senators Urge Better Agency Coordination

Manufacturers are taking a big hit in this aching economy and government agencies could do a better job of coordinating their efforts to aid them, two senators said this week.

Leaders of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee -- Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), wrote to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Acting Commerce Secretary Otto Wolff and Small Business Administration Acting Administrator Darryl Hairston, asking them to improve coordination between their agencies' programs designed to help manufacturers suffering in the current economic crisis.

"During these tough economic times, it is critical that our nation's federal departments and agencies work in unison to address the needs of small and medium manufacturers," the senators wrote, noting that 33 percent of jobs lost in 2008 came from the manufacturing industry -- a significant jump from 2007.

The senators suggested that programs such as the SBA's small business development centers and capital access programs, Commerce's Manufacturing Extension Partnership program and Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Program could be more integrated.

"We are aware that coordination already exists within the federal government," the senators wrote. "At the same time, we believe that increased communication and cooperation in areas like counseling, training and financing will help ensure that eligible businesses receive the proper assistance they require to survive these difficult economic conditions."

By Sharon McLoone |  March 6, 2009; 2:45 PM ET Policymakers
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