Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding legislation to curb China’s unfair currency manipulation. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Today the Senate begins another very busy work period. I am confident it will be productive.
Tonight, the Senate will vote to begin debate on legislation to curb China’s unfair currency manipulation. I expect strong, bipartisan support to move this legislation forward.
My colleagues – both Democrats and Republicans – agree that China’s deliberate actions to devalue its currency give its goods an unfair competitive advantage in the marketplace. That hurts our economy and it costs American jobs.
In the last decade alone, we have lost 2 million American jobs to China because of a trade deficit fueled by currency manipulation. That massive trade deficit is one reason for our unsustainable unemployment rate.
This legislation will even the playing field and help American goods compete in a global market – and keep American jobs here at home.
Democrats believe there is no problem facing this nation that deserves our attention more than our jobs crisis. This bill is part of the effort to get our economy back on track and put Americans back to work.
If China stops the practices that artificially tip the scales in its favor, it would support 1.6 million American jobs.
I hope this legislation will motivate China to stop devaluing the yuan on its own. I also know it will send a strong message to the Chinese that America will no longer ignore their blatant, unfair trade practices.
We expect to wrap up work on China currency legislation this week. We have a lot to get done this month, so the Senate must move quickly.
One out of every nine Federal judgeships remains vacant, which puts at risk the right of every American to a fair and speedy hearing. While I have been frustrated at the Senate’s slow pace in confirming judicial nominees this Congress, I am pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement to confirm 10 judges this week and next.
These nominations are non-controversial and have the unanimous support of the Judiciary Committee. Five of the six judges we will confirm today come from states with Republican senators. All five have the support of these Republican Senators.
This month the Senate will also take up three appropriations bills. Last month we passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through November 18. Now we must finish our work on annual appropriations bills.
We will also take up three trade bills this work period.
Last month the Senate passed Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation, which helps U.S. workers who lose their jobs because of international trade learn new skills and reenter a changing workforce.
A global economy means global competition. And a flexible, well-trained workforce is the only thing that will allow us to keep pace with our rivals.
That is why Democrats insisted on passing Trade Adjustment Assistance before we would take up those the three trade bills we will soon consider.
Republicans have said these trade agreements are important to them. Yet for months they prevented them from moving forward by stalling TAA. I hope the House will not delay any longer.
The Senate will also take up President Obama’s American Jobs Act this month.
Members of both parties should rally behind the common-sense, bipartisan approach of this legislation. It would cut taxes for working families and small businesses to spur job creation and put Americans to work restoring this nation’s decaying roads, bridges and schools.
I am happy to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve this bill. But I hope the obstructionism Republicans have employed for the last nine months will not continue.
This year Democrats have introduced jobs bill after jobs bill. Meanwhile, our Republican colleagues have puts their own political agenda ahead of the nation’s jobs agenda.
They have claimed they are willing to work in a bipartisan fashion to get our economy back on track. This month they have yet another chance to prove this.
I urge my Republican friends to remember that actions speak louder than words.
I hope they will take time out from rooting for our economy to fail for the sake of politics and help Democrats put this nation back to work.