by desmoinesdem, Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 03:24:43 PM EST
Populist Caucus Chairman Bruce Braley (IA-01) and House Trade Working Group Chairman Mike Michaud (ME-02) wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer today, urging them to make sure the upcoming jobs bill contains a strong "Buy American" provision. From a press release Braley's office issued:
"Recently, as America has suffered the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, unemployment has risen and is now around 10 percent," the letter reads. "We believe that the shipment of American jobs overseas is a factor in this rising unemployment. If we are going to pass a strong job creation bill then it only makes sense to include strong Buy American provisions, to further ensure that the jobs created as a result of this legislation are created within the United States.
"We have an obligation to create jobs in America. While some would argue that Buy American is nothing more than a trade protectionist label, it is clear that these provisions would equate to greater investment, and greater job-creation, within the U.S. In addition, Buy American provisions are perfectly legal under current trade agreements and many other nations use similar mechanisms to protect their domestic manufacturers. Therefore, we feel that it is entirely appropriate that this language be included in any upcoming job-creation measure, and we believe that this provision is essential to creating and retaining American jobs.
Speaking of provisions likely to be included in the jobs bill, making homes more energy efficient would produce huge collateral benefits, as A Siegel explains at the Get Energy Smart Now blog. Money that homeowners and business owners save on utility bills is money they can spend on other goods and services.
In his speech today, President Obama also mentioned aid to state and local governments in his speech today. That would help state legislators close gaps in the budgets for fiscal year 2011, which begins on July 1 in most states.
Republicans in Iowa (and presumably elsewhere) keep complaining about Democrats using federal transfers to balance the state budget, but they ignore the reality that deep cuts in state budgets are themselves a drag on the economy. State employee layoffs have a ripple effect in the private sector. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently estimated that without additional federal fiscal relief, "states will have to take steps to eliminate deficits for state fiscal year 2011 that will likely take nearly a full percentage point off the Gross Domestic Product. That, in turn, could cost the economy 900,000 jobs next year."