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
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.”