Strengthening the economy and creating jobs is and has been since I was elected my top priority. Northern Ohio’s economy has been hit particularly hard as a result of unfair trade agreements, recklessness on Wall Street, and federal policies that benefit large corporations and the wealthy instead of the middle class.
While the numbers may show that we are no longer in a recession, the reality on the ground is quite different. There are still far too many individuals seeking work or are underemployed. Democrats and Republicans need to come together to focus on the American people’s number one priority – creating jobs.
Below you will find some information on actions I have taken to strengthen the economy and my priorities going forward:
In addition, I believe in leading by example when it comes to creating jobs and that is why I have introduced H.R. 194, the Congressional Made in America Promise Act. This legislation eliminates loopholes in the Buy America Act to ensure that Congress buys American made products when it procures products from the private sector. The bill also ends Buy America waivers for products that utilize an official insignia of the House, Senate, or Congress. If Congress is going to spend taxpayer dollars then it should support American workers.
STOPPING THE OUTSOURCING OF AMERICAN JOBS
When trade agreement like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are passed into law, American jobs go overseas. I have consistently fought to keep that from happening and will do so in the future.
More specifically, I will continue to demand that we renegotiate trade agreements that do not give the American worker a fair chance in the global market place. To that end, I have introduced H.R. 191, the NAFTA Accountability Act. This legislation requires the Administration to make an official assessment of the impact NAFTA has had on our economy and if that assessment shows an imbalance then the bill requires that the Administration renegotiate the deal.
The United States has been the world’s leading producer of manufactured goods for more than 100 years and while manufacturing has been declining, we are beginning to see a turnaround. American manufacturers have added over 500,000 jobs to the economy over the past two and half years but we must keep the momentum going and continue to support this vitally important industry.
Why support American manufacturing? Manufacturing creates more value across the economy per dollar spent than any other sector. For every $1 of goods produced, manufacturing generates an additional $1.43 for the economy and each manufacturing job creates at least 2.91 more jobs in other sectors.
Small and medium-sized manufacturers are the backbone of United States manufacturing, comprising of 84 percent of manufacturers, and employing 51 percent of the manufacturing workforce. However, often due to limited resources, many of these manufacturers lack access to technical assistance and information needed to solves challenges and identify opportunities for growth.
Recognizing this, as Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I work each year to ensure that the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) receives appropriate federal funding. The MEP is a nationwide public/private partnership that works with small and mid-sized American manufacturers to help them create and retain jobs by providing technical assistance to solve problems, increase productivity, improve global competitiveness and enhance technical capabilities. Each year the MEP helps American manufacturers generate $2.5 billion in new sales. In 2010 alone, the MEP is responsible for creating or retaining more than 60,000 American manufacturing jobs.
I am also a contributor to the House Democratic “Make it In America” plan. The plan is intended to create the conditions to help American businesses produce goods here, innovate here, and create jobs here. It includes a cross-section of legislation designed to ensure American can out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build its international competitors. You can learn more about the “Make it in America” plan by visiting http://www.democraticwhip.gov/content/when-we-make-it-america-america%E2%80%99s-families-will-make-it-too.
Finally, I am a member of the House Manufacturing Caucus. The Caucus is comprised of Democrats and Republicans. It works to promote American manufacturing, studies challenges facing American manufacturers, and develops bipartisan solutions to help American manufacturers overcome those challenges. During the 113th Congress, I will be working closely with the Manufacturing Caucus to find ways to support the United States manufacturing industry so it can create good paying sustainable American jobs.
SUPPORTING THE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY
There are fewer industries more important to the State of Ohio than the automobile industry. The auto industry is responsible for 1 in 8 jobs in the state. That is roughly 850,000 jobs or 12 percent of all jobs in Ohio.
When the auto industry faced difficult economic circumstances, primarily as a result of Wall Street’s recklessness, I was among the first leaders to call for Congressional action. While I opposed bailing out the big banks, it still happened. Consequently, I see no reason why we should not save America jobs in the auto industry. I voted numerous times to rescue the auto industry and I am proud our efforts saved an estimated 1 million American jobs.
Going forward, the auto industry must pay back, in full, any financial assistance provided by the American taxpayer. The best way to strengthen the auto industry is to improve our economy by supporting American manufacturing, stopping outsourcing, investing in renewable energy, and renegotiating unfair trade agreements.