Chesterton Tribune


Visclosky testifies on importance of steel jobs

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At a hearing on Thursday of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, testified on “the importance of protecting American steel jobs.

An excerpt from Visclosky’s testimony:

“Steel is the economic backbone of the First Congressional District of Indiana, and I am proud to represent the workers who make this steel every single day. We have the best steel industry and the best steel workers in the world, and it is our responsibility to ensure that we allow them to fully reach their potential, every single day.

“Just this week, the American Society of Civil Engineers related their updated report card for 2013, and American’s cumulative infrastructure G.P.A is a D+. That is failing in my book. While there are some signs of progress, in the First Congressional District of Indiana we are blowing up bridges instead of building them. The steel industry and all industries demand and deserve the infrastructure necessary to move their products, by road, and rail, and river, and we must do more to make this investment in our country. I appreciate that the current transportation authorization is 27 months, but the last time Congress approved a 5 year transportation authorization bill was in 2005. We must do better.

“Our steel workers deserve the ability to compete on a fair trading level, which is why I take every opportunity I can to testify before the International Trade Commission in support of our trade laws. While I recognize that trade is not explicitly under the jurisdiction of this subcommittee, I would note my support for legislation through the Ways and Means Committee that is of great importance to American steel. That legislation includes the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, which would address the prevalent Chinese currency manipulation, and the Enforcing Orders and Reducing Customs Evasion Act, sponsored last Congress by Rep. Long. I remain very concerned about duty evasion through our borders, and the actions of the Chinese and other countries that do not adhere to the labor, environmental, and fair trade standards that we exhibit here in our country. We must do more to ensure a level field of competition.

On a final note, I would want to express my broader concerns here in support of our domestic manufacturing base. I firmly believe that manufacturing drives innovation. If you stop manufacturing a product in the United States, it is only a matter of time before the engineering and research and development responsible for the product moves overseas. What incentive will there be for our children to become engineers and scientists and researchers in American manufacturing when all of the manufacturing is performed overseas? Some say that green jobs are the way of the future. I say that since 1990 the American steel industry has reduced its use of electricity by 30 percent, and we should ensure that our manufacturing base and the green jobs of the steel industry have our support to lead our economic recovery.

Steel has been a part of Northwest Indiana for over a century, and I am determined to see that it remains the backbone of the nation and of the First Congressional District of Indiana for years to come.”


Posted 3/22/2013