Creating 30 Million Jobs: Rep. Betty Sutton & American Jobs First InitativeJanuary 31, 2012
Fresh off the second week of our 30 Million Jobs tour, the conversation about employment in America gets louder and bigger. Later this week, we’re off to take the conversation direct to the “belly of the beast,” Washington, DC. On Monday, Dylan had the chance to speak to one politician who is focusing specifically on bringing manufacturing jobs back home — Rep. Betty Sutton of Ohio’s 13th district has proposed what she calls an American Jobs First Initative.
With 27% of Americans are now reporting that they are either unemployed or underemployed. Nearly half of Americans say they are struggling or suffering in the current economy. As the 30 Million Jobs tour rolls on, the dialogue about the compelling need to reform taxes, trade, and banking to drive a culture of investment in this country has never been more crucial.
A rush transcript is available below. Here’s the full interview:
- Meg Robertson is a digital producer for DylanRatigan.com.
REP. SUTTON: thank you so much, dylan. thank you for taking on this mission. there's much we can do. the american jobs first initiative, as you said, consists of four bills. in a nutshell, they say that when we're using taxpayer money to build our infrastructure, whether it's our bridges or highways or water or sewer infrastructure, we ought to use american-made steel and manufactured goods. because not only that way do we put people to work building the infrastructure, we also put them to work producing the steel and the iron and those manufactured goods so we get more bang for our buck. the other bill, the foreign manufacturers legal accountability act say when they semithings into our marketplace, we ought to stop them from undercutting us and hold them to the same standards that our guys have to play by.
DYLAN: the thing that really stunned me when we launched the 30 million jobs tour in california a couple weeks ago and spent a bunch of time around the bay bridge, the choinese won the bidding for the spending of u.s. tax dollars on chinese still to rebuild the bay bridge by underbidding by $400 million. and then only to spend the $400 million they underbid and come in late. it's very difficult to compete with somebody who can make up a number and then come back to it. i want you to listen to the gentleman who was one of the gee senior executives at oregon iron works where they were outbid.
REP. SUTTON: the sad part here is the job loss. we lost 3,000 jobs over the course of the last five years of u.s. workers who are not employed at this point in time. these jobs went to china. we lost high-wage jobs, family-wage jobs. jobs that pay health and welfare benefits and pension programs. all of that is gone.
DYLAN: explain to us how the laws -- it's absurd. it's absurd we have to have this conversation. but we do. what pieces of legislation do you have in front of the congress of the united states to help us resolve this?
REP. SUTTON: there's no excuse for that having happened to those iron workers or other steel workers across the country. the initiative that i have contains three bills aimed at america. one deals with the water and sewer infrastructure and simply says when we build it, which we are and we must across this country, we need to use american iron steel and manufactured goods. period. that's the way it needs to be. it will put our people to work. no one produces these goods any better than we do in ohio and the united states. the other bill deals with the process and loopholes that exist in our laws that allow people to avoid complying by issuing waivers. it says that before you issue a waiver, before our government issues a waiver to allow other steel or manufactured goods from foreign countries to be used for our infrastructure, they have to take into account the job loss. the very job loss that we just heard about. it's never in the public interest for us to lose jobs. it increases transparency. and all in all, it closes up the holes that have allowed for some of the skirting of the law to take place.
DYLAN: where would the political resistance to a raft of legislation? who would resist this? who is resisting this and how do we in the media better expose them so we better understand maybe the rational components of that resist tense if it's there?
REP. SUTTON: i don't really know that there's some kind of rational resistan resistance. several of the pieces have been passed through a committee in the past or even past other forms in the house, but never quite made it all the way to the finish line. i think inertia is stand iing in our way. if you can help to raise the issue, if we can get speaker boehner to put it on the house floor, i can't imagine people voting against biamerican laws. i can't imagine people voting against holding them to the same standards that our workers undergo. we just need to raise consciousness. this doesn't add some significant cost. it's common sense and can make a real difference for our people.
DYLAN: and behind all of this is still the unresolved nature of our trade relationships more broadly specifically with china. they tax imports at 25% as you surely know. we tax imparts at 2.5%. they continue to massively rig their currency relative to ours to what extent can pieces of legislation like yours that are the tip of the spear on this issue provide more clearance and more momentum for broader trade reform?
REP. SUTTON: i think that that's a great question. i think we get these bills rolling and we get them passed. we open up the door for the currency manipulation bill that we passed in the house in the last congress. the senate has already acted on. it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. all we need to do is get it to the floor. we just need to get congress to act. we hear a lot of talk about bipartisanship. we hear a lot of talk about the need for jobs. now it's time to see that action. we heard about how members of congress, republicans and democrats, sat together during the state of the union. but we need to see people acting together to pass these common sense reforms.
DYLAN: as bo biden was talking about, it's time for action. it's not time for talking. we appreciate your engaging in that regard. thank you so much. betty sutton from the 13th district in ohio. and watch out, washington, d.c. or be joyful perhaps. our 30 million jobs is heading your way this wednesday. we will deliver three action-packed shows from the belly of the beast. and then we're off to austin, texas, february 8th where we'll get into significant issues of energy independence before we head to three colleges. we'll take a look at what's in store for students graduating in the class of 2012 in this job market. the hint to mom and dad, don't turn the bedroom into a rec room yet.