Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding legislation to stop Chinese currency manipulation and the American Jobs Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
This evening the Senate will vote on legislation to end the unfair practice of currency manipulation by the Chinese government. China undervalues its currency to give its own exports an unwarranted advantage in the global marketplace. This costs American jobs by unjustly tilting the playing field against American manufacturers.
America’s trade deficit with China has ballooned from $10 billion in 1990 to $273 billion today, and cost 3 million American jobs already. Two million of those lost jobs came from the manufacturing sector.
American businesses don’t need special advantages to compete. They just need an even playing field. Tonight we have the opportunity to stop China from continuing to cheat American workers, pump $300 billion into our economy and support 1.6 million American jobs. This legislation has twice advanced in this chamber with bipartisan supermajorities.
Thirty-one Republicans voted to move this legislation to the Senate floor early last week. I urge each of them to stand firm in their support for this job-creating legislation – to stand with American workers rather than siding with China. And I remind my Republican colleagues that those who revoke support of this important measure for the sake of partisan politics must answer to their constituents.
Today, the Senate will vote to proceed to the American Jobs Act, President Obama’s plan to put Americans to work without adding a penny to the deficit. This legislation will also ask the richest Americans to contribute their fair share to get our economy back on track.
The President’s plan will put construction crews back to work building the things that make our country stronger – modern roads, bridges, dams and sewers, and up-to-date schools where our children can get the best education possible. Technology has changed a lot since the 1960s. But our schools haven’t. The average public school in America is 50 years old. This work is essential and Americans are desperate for jobs it will create.
The American Jobs Act would also extend unemployment insurance for Americans who are still struggling to find work. Economists agree this boosts the economy because the long-term unemployed spend the money immediate on groceries, gas and rent. This legislation would cut taxes for middle-class families and business, something
Republicans have long supported. The President’s plan contains many ideas that Republicans have supported consistently over the years, especially when their party controlled Congress or the White House or both. Republicans oppose those ideas now because they have a proven track record of creating jobs, and Republicans think if the economy improves it might help President Obama. So they root for the economy to fail, and oppose every effort to improve it. And they resist anything the President proposes no matter how common-sense, including this plan to create 2 million jobs. Americans have demanded Congress pass legislation to create jobs – and pass it now. And they support our plan to fund job creation by asking people who make more than $1 million a year to contribute their fair share by a margin of three to one. Mainstream Americans agree we can’t ask seniors and the middle-class to go on shouldering the heaviest burden.
Today we’ll see whether Republicans have gotten the message, or if they still put the wants of millionaires and billionaires ahead of the needs of seniors and middle-class families. The American people demand Republicans finally admit that putting America back to work will require shared sacrifice – especially from those who can best afford to be part of the solution.