LIPINSKI LEADS 28 HOUSE MEMBERS IN CALLING ON PRESIDENT OBAMA TO PROTECT AMERICAN MANUFACTURING JOBS IN CLIMATE BILL
September 9, 2009
Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL) led 28 members of the House of Representatives in sending a bipartisan letter today to President Obama urging him to drop his opposition to provisions in the climate bill that would ensure a level playing field for American manufacturers and prevent job losses to foreign nations that do not limit greenhouse gas emissions.
"America has lost roughly two million manufacturing jobs since the start of the recession," Lipinski said. "I'm not about to put more of our jobs at risk by making it harder for the industry to compete with China, India, and other countries. Manufacturing is too important to my district, the economy as a whole, and our national security. That's why it is essential that the final version of the American Clean Energy and Security Act include - at a minimum - the carefully crafted tariff provisions that are currently part of the Act. If no such measure is included in the final legislation, I won't be able to support the bill."
Joining Lipinski in signing the letter were Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) and 26 other members of the House of Representatives.
"A vibrant manufacturing base is critical to the stability of our nation and our economy," Souder said. "Manufacturing jobs in my district have been especially hard-hit by the current recession. We simply cannot further jeopardize this important industry by implementing policies that give China and others an upper hand. I hope the Obama administration will act quickly to ensure that the tariff provisions currently included remain part of the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Employers and workers, in my district and across the country, deserve at least this basic protection in the bill."
The border adjustment provisions currently included in the climate bill that passed the House are consistent with the nation's World Trade Organization obligations. Far from sending a protectionist signal, as President Obama has publicly suggested, they are designed to ensure the legislation does not hand foreign manufacturers an unfair advantage.
A report by the United Nations Environment Program and the WTO specifically recognized that carbon tariffs are legal if their purpose is to put manufacturers in different countries on an equal footing. "The objective of a border tax adjustment is to level the playing field between taxed domestic industries and untaxed foreign competition by ensuring that internal taxes on products are trade neutral," states the report, titled Trade and Climate Change.
Congressman Lipinski strongly believes America needs to break its addiction to fossil fuels, especially foreign oil, and he has consistently defended both the local and global environment since he was first elected to Congress in 2004. But he does not believe that protecting our environment must entail abandoning the American worker. And while Congressman Lipinski supports free trade, he is staunchly opposed to unfair trade deals that put American jobs at risk.
"Without border adjustments, you give consumers an incentive to purchase products that cause emissions in other countries, putting domestic manufacturers at a systemic disadvantage and likely leading to a sharp rise in imported goods," the letter to the President states. "We hope you will not confuse fair play with protectionism."
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