Steele Blasts Buy America For Being Too Weak, but GOP Opposed Buy America
By Mike Elk
February 19, 2010 - 1:44pm ET
GOP Chairman Michael Steele blasted the Obama administration in a fund-raising email earlier this week for allowing stimulus money designated for clean energy solutions to be spent on overseas companies. Which is interesting, because stimulus money going to overseas firms was the direct result of conservative opposition to attempts to keep that money in America.
Obama Promised Recovery Act "Will Create Good Jobs That Pay Well And Can't Be Shipped Overseas." (The White House, "Remarks By the President and the Vice President on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," 4/13/09)
REALITY: Recently Distributed Stimulus Funds Going To Foreign Corporations Creating Jobs Overseas. "Nearly half of the $2.4 billion in federal grant money awarded Wednesday to stimulate the U.S. economy and boost the production of hybrid and electric vehicles went to six companies with ties to places as far away as Russia, China, South Korea and France. ... But because so few American companies have the necessary technology, much of the money will initially go toward manufacturing electric vehicle batteries overseas." (Jerry Seper, "Obama Sends Stimulus Aid To Foreign Firms," The Washington Times, 8/6/09)
Steele is pointing out a fact that United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard noted months ago on CAF’s website:
Of the $1.05 billion in clean energy grants awarded by D.C., $849 million -- 84 percent -- went to foreign wind companies, according to an analysis by Russ Choma of the Investigative Reporting Workshop.
Gerard, who as president of the nation's largest industrial union in the country was intimately involved in the negotiations, said :
A strong, broad Buy-American clause in the stimulus bill could have prevented the off-shoring of U.S. tax dollars intended to create jobs for unemployed Americans. My union, the United Steelworkers, and the AFL-CIO pushed hard for that language, and polls showed 86 percent of Americans supported it. Republicans and lobbyists for multinational corporations that wanted to spend U.S. tax money overseas opposed Buy American provisions.
Congress adopted weak, limited Buy American language. Now D.C. exports stimulus dollars to create jobs in foreign countries.
Republicans went all out attacking Buy America as "bad for America". Republican presidential candidate John McCain went on CBS's Face the Nation on February 8, 2009:
"I think it has policy changes in it which are fundamentally bad for America. For example, their ‘Buy America’ provision: that’s protectionism, and that did not work in any time in our history.”
As recently as October 2009, GOP Congressional leaders held an event to call for the rollback of Buy America provisions claiming that Buy America provisions were “costing American jobs.”
The truth is, as studies show, infrastructure investment can create by up to 33 percent more jobs when strong Buy America provisions are included.
It’s ironic that Republicans who make a point of using strong rhetoric against Islamo-fascist terrorists go mute as Wall Street economic terrorists attack our country’s manufacturing base by shipping jobs overseas.
Buy America provisions are supported by 86 percent of the American public who thinks American taxpayer money should go to create American jobs. Furthermore, as a recent Gallup/USA Today poll shows, America think the best way to create jobs in this creation is through protecting manufacturing from foreign threats.
Meanwhile, Steele issues another smoke-and-mirrors press release, hoping that voters won't recognize that his conservative party is opposed to a policy that is essential to allowing American manufacturing to revive.
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