Congressional Steel Caucus Tells Trump to Act on Imports Investigation

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Nearly 70 Members of Congress sent a letter to President Trump last week urging him to unveil the findings of the administration’s national security investigation into steel imports “as expeditiously as possible.”

The 68 members of the Congressional Steel Caucus — led by new Co-Chairmen Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) and Vice Chairman Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) —  note that the ongoing steel imports crisis has “caused layoffs and mill idling throughout the country, including in many of the communities we represent,” and highlight the importance of steel to “our military, critical infrastructure, and the livelihoods of innumerable American families.”

The Members also write that the delayed release of the report — Trump initially said he would release it by the end of June but has yet to do so — is causing additional problems. Imports are up 19.6 percent in 2017 compared to the time frame last year, which has led to hundreds of new layoffs. The Caucus tells Trump:

“Each day that passes is another day that the domestic steel industry faces an onslaught of imports and the deeply harmful effects of unfair trade practices, which is why we believe the investigation must be completed as soon as possible.”

The caucus letter comes on the heels of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s decision to put a hold on two of Trump’s Commerce Department nominees in response to the continued delay of the steel report, along with a similar "Section 232" investigation into aluminum imports. In an interview with The New York Times, Schumer noted that Trump has been “a total paper tiger on this issue.”

“I am deeply frustrated by [Commerce Secretary Wilbur] Ross’s perpetual foot dragging on this critical investigation, and I was shocked by his recent nonsensical excuse that the Department of Commerce is waiting until after the unrelated Republican tax plan passes to complete these investigations,” Schumer said in a statement. “The steel industry has seen a surge of imports since the announce of these investigations that has already cost jobs.”

Indeed, as Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul told the Times, surging imports cost 180 jobs at the Dura-Bond Industries plant in Steelton, Pa., and 150 jobs at ArcelorMittal’s rolling mill in Conshohocken, Pa.  Since the imports crisis began a few years ago, tens of thousands of steel and aluminum workers have faced layoffs and dozens of facilities have closed.

Schumer and eight Democratic Senators also wrote to Trump last week urging the president to finally release the reports, joining other bipartisan Members of Congress — and more than 65,000 AAM advocates — who have pressed for action in recent months.

Not only are the two Section 232 investigations critical for jobs, both are also a must for national security, since steel and aluminum are utilized by the military and needed for our critical infrastructure.

“American steel is used in aircraft carriers, armored vehicles, submarines, refineries, power plants, highways, bridges, dams, reservoirs, and hospitals. It is responsible for protecting our brave service members every single day and allows our military to respond to outside threats,” the Congressional Steel Caucus tells Trump in its Oct. 27 letter. “Without American steel, the Department of Defense would be forced to rely on foreign imports, which could become extremely dangerous during a national emergency or military conflict. Therefore, a robust domestic steel industry is absolutely critical to our national security.”

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work