House Passes Cicilline’s Defense Manufacturing Communities Initiative

Jul 26, 2018

Provision to strengthen Rhode Island’s defense industry included in Defense bill along with language to strengthen textile manufacturers


WASHINGTON – This morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Defense authorization bill that includes legislation authored by Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI-01) to provide new resources for local manufacturing economies like Rhode Island’s that significantly rely on the defense manufacturing industry for good-paying jobs. Today caps an eight-year effort, during which Cicilline has worked for the passage of this legislation to strengthen Rhode Island’s manufacturing industry each year since coming to Congress in 2011. With today’s vote, the legislation will go to the U.S. Senate and then to the President.


“When they’re given a level playing field, Rhode Islanders will outwork and outperform any competitors. I’m proud that we’re establishing the Defense Manufacturing Communities Program, which will give Rhode Island’s defense industry an opportunity to compete for additional federal funding to support full-time, good-paying jobs in the years ahead,” said Cicilline. “Once this bill is signed into law, I look forward to working with our private, public, and non-profit sectors to take advantage of this opportunity. This bill means real results for working Rhode Islanders.”


Cicilline successfully lobbied for the adoption of language to permanently establish a Defense Manufacturing Communities Program to make long-term investments in critical skills, infrastructure, research and development, and small businesses to strengthen national security innovation. Under the new law, communities will have the opportunity to apply for a two-year designation as a “Defense Manufacturing Community.” This designation will give selected communities an edge when competing for funding, as well as financial and technical assistance through the Department of Defense.


Cicilline worked with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in recent months to ensure the Defense Manufacturing Communities Program was included in this year’s Defense authorization bill. The lawmakers have worked in tandem since 2011 to advance legislation that revitalizes America’s manufacturing sector. Under the bill passed today, Rhode Island will have the opportunity to get a leg up on millions in annual funding to support its defense sector.


In addition, the Defense authorization bill also includes an amendment Cicilline authored requiring notification to American manufacturers a year in advance if they will be making changes to uniform components that could impact existing contractors. Cicilline amended the bill after learning that the Brickle Group, a Rhode Island manufacturer, was not given advance warning that the U.S. Navy would no longer purchase wool pea coats produced in Woonsocket. The Brickle Group, which is led by chairman of the board Sam Brickle, has been a leading manufacturer of textiles in Rhode Island for more than 75 years. Today, it provides berets for the United States Armed Forces and manages Northwest Woolen Mills in Woonsocket.


Cicilline is one of the leading advocates for the Democratic Make it in America agenda to help rebuild and strengthen America’s manufacturing sector. Cicilline has introduced legislation to help create jobs, promote American-made goods, and stimulate economic growth. In 2015, an amendment Cicilline authored was signed into law to help American manufacturers compete against foreign businesses for U.S. government contracts.