Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding bipartisan legislation to end Chinese currency manipulation. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Last night the Senate held an overwhelming, bipartisan vote to move forward with legislation preventing continued currency manipulation by the Chinese government.
This unfair practice – which gives Chinese exports an unmerited advantage in the global marketplace –injures the American economy. It hurts American manufacturers. And it costs American jobs.
In 1990, America’s trade deficit with China was $10 billion. Twenty years later, thanks to currency manipulation that gives an edge to Chinese exporters, that trade deficit had soared to $273 billion.
That trade deficit has fueled the loss of nearly 3 million American jobs, including 2 million manufacturing jobs, in the last decade alone.
My home state of Nevada has lost more than 14,000 jobs to China trade and currency manipulation.
The eight hardest-hit states have lost 1.4 million positions total. And 17 states have lost more than 2 percent of their jobs.
Manufacturers simply can’t compete when the Chinese government gives its exporters advantages companies in other countries don’t get.
American workers and manufacturers are second to none.
They don’t need special advantages to succeed – they just need a fair shot. This important jobs legislation will give them one.
Putting an end to China’s deliberate actions to undervalue its currency will even the playing field. It will also support 1.6 million American jobs.
Demanding a fair playing field would pump $300 billion into our economy in two short years.
But don’t take my word for it. Just ask American manufacturers.
The Alliance for American Manufacturers called this jobs bill the “deficit-reducing, job-creating, no-cost stimulus that is desperately needed.”
Business groups have lined up to testify to the adverse impacts of currency manipulation on U.S. corporate interests.
The American Iron and Steel Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers and even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have said the problem pits American and Chinese manufacturers against one another in an unfair fight.
But this issue has also forged some strange alliances.
The AFL-CIO has also called for swift action to level the playing field.
This is what they said: “The single most important job-supporting trade measure that the Congress… can take is to address the Chinese government`s manipulation of its currency.”
Business and labor groups agree that American workers and manufacturers aren’t getting a fair shake, and they agree on what action Congress should take action to give them one. We all know that doesn’t happen very often.
Here in the Senate we have heard the message loud and clear. We can’t ignore blatant, unfair trade practices that put American workers at a disadvantage.
Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said, “Fairness is what justice really is.”
This week the Senate is demanding justice for American companies and their employees.
I know that a few of my Democratic colleagues don’t support this legislation. There are some Republicans who oppose it as well.
But that is often the mark of a good piece of legislation – it can garner a significant number of votes from each party.
With millions of Americans’ livelihoods at stake, I am pleased to see the Senate working on a truly bipartisan jobs bill.