NEWTON FALLS, OH – Following the passage of the biggest bipartisan jobs bill to clear the Senate this year, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-17) visited a small business in Newton Falls today to urge House action on legislation to create and protect jobs by cracking down on Chinese currency manipulation. Brown and Ryan called for the bill—the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011—to be brought for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“Many of my colleagues say that standing up for Ohio manufacturers would start a trade war with China. But we’re already in a trade war. This is about fighting back with one of the biggest bipartisan jobs bills the Senate has seen this year. We’ve lost millions of American jobs to China—including more than 100,000 Ohio jobs—due in no small part to that country’s illegal currency manipulation,” Brown said. “It’s time to put American workers first. We cannot stand by and watch any longer as our factories close down and entire communities undergo total devastation. Rhetoric has done little to solve the problem, and Ohio manufacturers and workers have paid the price. We must equip the Obama Administration with the tools it needs to crack down on China’s currency manipulation and help level the playing field for American businesses.”
“Even though the China currency legislation passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate, House leaders have refused to even bring this bill to the floor for a vote,” Brown added. “Our manufacturers can’t wait for more excuses or delays when it comes to dealing with China’s unfair trade practices—and that’s why the House should pass this legislation and send it to the President to be signed into law.”
“It is past time for the House of Representatives to get serious about job creation and turning the economy around - bringing this bill to the floor for a vote is a great starting point. It received strong Republican support when it came up during the last Congress, which makes it even more obvious that the Republican leadership is playing political games at the expense of Americans who want to work. Americans are waiting for Speaker Boehner and House Republicans to show some backbone on this issue. This bill addresses issues that have been dragging down our economy and manufacturing sector for years, and will put us on a path to recovery. I’d like to know who the Republican leadership are afraid of that they won’t bring this bill up for a vote – the Chinese? Wall Street?,” Rep. Tim Ryan said.
Rep. Ryan, added, “The only special interest we should be beholden to in Congress is the people we represent in our districts, and getting them back to work should be our #1 priority right now. Republicans spent last week bragging about trade agreements that continue to ship our jobs overseas. If they’re serious about getting people back to work, they will hold a vote on this bill. We’ve lost more than 2.8 million jobs in the U.S. already because of currency manipulation, including 100,000 in Ohio. How many more jobs have to disappear before we take action?”
Brown’s bill cleared the Senate on October 11 by a vote of 63-35, and a previous version of Brown’s bill—sponsored by Ryan—passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. House of Representatives last year. Legislation cracking down on Chinese currency manipulation currently enjoys wide bipartisan support in this Congress, but House leadership has refused to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.
Currency manipulation is an illegal trade practice in which the Chinese government intentionally devalues its own currency against the United States dollar. This results in artificially expensive American imports to China, and artificially cheap Chinese imports to the United States. This puts Ohio and American manufacturers at a serious disadvantage, and makes it more difficult for American companies to compete against Chinese companies. Brown and Ryan joined Steve Trapp, president of Venture Plastics, to outline how his legislation will help level the playing field for Ohio manufacturers while helping create and protect millions of American jobs. Venture Plastics employs approximately 150 workers in Newton Falls.
“The Northeast Ohio Campaign for American Manufacturing (NEOCAM) strongly supports the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011,” said John Colm, President & Executive Director of WIRE-Net and Secretary of NEOCAM. “This law would empower key domestic industries to challenge governments which are unfairly subsidizing their domestic industries through currency manipulation. This action is critical to U.S. based manufacturers in sectors that employ tens-of-thousands of Americans, including wind and solar energy, steel, and many other industries. We urge the US House of Representatives to pass this bi-partisan legislation and send it to President Obama for his signature.”
Recently, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the Alliance for American Manufacturing released a new report showing that that the growing trade deficit with China, caused in large part by China’s illegal currency manipulation, has cost the United States more than 2.8 million jobs since 2001, including more than 1.9 million manufacturing jobs. In June, EPI released a report showing that addressing Chinese currency manipulation could support the creation of 2.25 million American jobs.
A summary of the bill can be found here.