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Obama Announces Domestic Textile Initiative

President Obama announced a $150 million competition Wednesday designed to boost domestic textile manufacturing.

At a speech in Cleveland, Ohio, Obama unveiled plans for the Department of Defense-led competition aimed at sharpening the capabilities of textile-focused manufacturers, universities and nonprofits by financing cutting-edge technologies with a $75 million public investment that will be matched by the private sector.

It’s the administration’s ninth such competition and the first of eight new institutes that the president’s budget proposes to fund by the end of 2016.

In addition, nonprofits will compete for $316 million in public-private funding over five years to provide technology and engineering expertise to small manufacturers in 12 states in a bid to strengthen the nation’s supply chains.

“What we’re trying to do together on manufacturing will really matter for middle-class wages,” Senator Sherrod Brown told The Washington Post, noting that the federal government already created a manufacturing hub in Youngstown, Ohio, and just opened a joint hub between Michigan and Ohio based in Detroit.

According to the White House, the American textile industry is adding jobs for the first time in two decades, increasing shipments by nearly one fifth since the recession, and increasing exports by 45 percent since 2009. By contrast, House Republicans on Tuesday revealed their budget proposal which would cut domestic programs.