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Public Statements

Bring Jobs Home Act--Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CARDIN. Let me compliment Senator Stabenow for her leadership as chair of the Agriculture Committee. I want the Senator to know I was on the phone yesterday with our soil conservation district managers talking about the provisions that are in the Senate bill, and I wish to personally thank the Senator from Michigan for reaching out to all of us. Our negotiations were tough, but they were fair, and I believe the reforms the Senator has in the bill will help our region and all the regions of our country deal with the underlying problems of agriculture in America.

So I particularly wish to thank her for that. The process she followed is how the legislative process should work: a very open process, a very bipartisan process. We have a good product, and I hope the House will bring forward a bill and get it to conference so we can continue the dialogue. It is important to give the predictability to farmers that this 5-year reauthorization provides. So I thank the Senator from Michigan for her extraordinary leadership in this area on behalf of the agricultural community of my State of Maryland.

I really came to the floor to talk about another one of the efforts of the Senator from Michigan today; that is, the Bring Jobs Home Act. I thank Senator Stabenow for her leadership on this bill as well.

Senator Stabenow understands that outsourcing is devastating to our country. Americans understand that. Marylanders understand that. When we are outsourcing, we are losing jobs. Families are devastated by outsourcing. What is most shocking is that our laws encourage companies to take jobs out of America. Our Tax Code should encourage companies to keep their workers in the United States. We need to make it in America.

I think we were all shocked to hear about the U.S. Olympic team and the fact that they are going to be outfitted by clothing manufactured in China. That is outrageous. It never should have happened. We can make it in America.

I must tell my colleagues, I hear from people in Maryland all the time--and I am sure the Presiding Officer hears the same thing in New Mexico, as does my colleague from Colorado as well. When we get a call from a call center, we think the person is in our neighborhood talking to us about a local issue. Then we discover that person is halfway around the world pretending to be our neighbor and friend or representing a local business, when in reality we have outsourced that service--not we, the company has outsourced it--and the worst thing is they don't tell us about it. They are misleading the consumers, and I know we have some legislation to correct that.

That is outsourcing. That is costing America jobs, and it is wrong. We can compete. Americans can compete with any other workforce in any other country, as long as we have a level playing field. So we want to make it in America. Yes, we can.

First, let me talk about some success stories. Not too long ago I visited Marlin Steel in Baltimore City. This is a steel wire manufacturer that uses raw material from America and manufactures its product in America, in Baltimore City, a high-quality wire steel product. They sell their product in America, export their product to other countries, and create more jobs in America. That is a success story.

A lot of people have given up on steel. We can't give up on steel. We need to make it in America.

Let me tell my colleagues about another success story. Tomorrow I will be at English American Tailoring, which is located in Westminster, right near Baltimore, in Maryland. They manufacture suits in America. They make it in America. We are able to do it. All they ask for is a level playing field.

We took some steps in the Senate Finance Committee yesterday to provide that level playing field by what we call the wool trust fund, which deals with inverted tariffs. We must make sure our laws are fair. The shocking thing about clothing is it actually has higher tariffs on the raw material--making it impossible to manufacture in America--than the finished product coming into America. We correct that with the wool trust fund. We need to make sure we have a level playing field.

Let me tell my colleagues another success story, about Pacific Trade International. This is a success story. This company was located in Asia, an American company located in Asia, making candles known as the Chesapeake Bay Candles--being made in Asia. Well, this is a success story. They are back in Maryland. They are located in Glen Burnie, MD, in the United States of America, making those candles, selling them to Kohl's and Target and other retailers, creating 100 jobs that are now in my State of Maryland as a result of this company bringing jobs back to America.

In the last 28 months alone, we have seen 500,000 new manufacturing jobs in America. We have talked about the U.S. auto manufacturing industry and how we have seen that industry take off because we can make it in America.

That brings me to the efforts of Senator Stabenow and others on the Bring Jobs Home Act. It is shocking--and I think the people in Maryland and around the Nation are shocked--to understand that our Tax Code actually encourages companies to take jobs overseas. American taxpayers are actually footing the bill because, under current law, if an American company decides to take its jobs and export them overseas, the moving costs are deductible per our Tax Code.

Why do we allow that? Why do we ask the taxpayers to subsidize moving jobs overseas? Well, the Bring Jobs Home Act says: Let's get rid of that tax deduction. Instead, let's make sure if companies bring jobs back to America, yes, we will consider those necessary expenses. We don't consider it necessary business expenses to export jobs. And we will give them some additional help with a 20-percent credit.

This is what we should be doing: creating policies that encourage keeping jobs in America. Make it in America. Yes, we can.

We are going to have a chance to bring this bill forward, and I hope my colleagues will support it. Then let's try to move this bill quickly.

This is a pretty simple bill which does three things: It eliminates the deduction for moving jobs overseas, it makes sure we have that deduction if companies bring jobs back home, and we provide a credit as part of the cost to bring the jobs back home. It is very simple. Why don't we keep it that way. Why don't we just pass this bill by itself and do something about creating jobs in America.

I say to my colleagues, this shouldn't be a partisan issue. We all know we have to keep jobs in America. This is a simple bill. Let's get it done. Let's not confuse it or mix it with other issues. Let's show the American people we can act in the best interests of our country.

With that, I yield the floor.

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Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, I have taken to the floor of the Senate on previous occasions to talk about our aging water infrastructure and the need for financing. I have talked about the State revolving funds, which are the principal funding sources for our local governments' ability to upgrade their water infrastructure. I have talked about the need for safe drinking water and how that is being compromised. I have also talked about the way we treat our wastewater and the health risks involved in an aging infrastructure. And when I have taken to the floor on different occasions to talk about the consequences of our failure to act, I have made it clear if we move forward with water infrastructure projects it will not only provide the type of infrastructure we need for public health but it will also create jobs and opportunities in our communities.

I have the honor of representing the State of Maryland in the Senate, and we have some very aged communities in Maryland. One of those, of course, is my home city of Baltimore, where the water infrastructure is as historic as some of its buildings--well over 100 years old. And although I have talked about this issue before, I want to bring to the Senate's attention that this past Monday, in Baltimore, a 120-year-old water main broke, creating a massive crater in downtown Baltimore on one of the busiest streets in our city. I have been told it will take a couple of weeks before that can be fixed. I have also been told that, as a result, downtown Baltimore was flooded, sending thousands of workers home and costing businesses countless loss of revenue.

One might say: Well, these things happen. But in Baltimore we have a water main break at the rate of about two or three a day, costing a great deal of money because our city workers have to go out, dig it up, and cut off water service to homes and businesses, which are inconvenienced by not having the ability to get water. And we experience this expense again and again.

What we need to do is upgrade our water infrastructure. We all understand that. We need to make that investment. These major water main breaks are becoming more and more a reality. In 2008, we saw River Road in Bethesda turn literally into a river. We had to use helicopters to rescue people because of a water main break. In October 2009, we had a major break in Dundalk, MD, outside Baltimore, which flooded thousands of homes, causing incredible inconvenience to that community. One year ago, not far from where we are right here, we saw a major water main break in Prince George's County, closing the Washington beltway and causing a lot of homeowners to be without water for an extended period of time.

The water infrastructure in this country is in desperate need of new attention and greater investment. That is true in our wastewater treatment facility plants and it is true in the way we transport our clean water. Wastewater treatment plants are critically important in preventing billions of tons of pollutants each year from reaching America's rivers, lakes, and coastlines. These facilities prevent waterborne disease and make our water safe for fishing and swimming.

Similarly, some 54,000 community drinking water systems provide drinking water to more than 250 million Americans, keeping water supplies free of contaminants that cause disease. The ongoing degradation of these systems puts our human health directly at risk.

Many of our water and wastewater systems are outdated, with some components across the country over a century old. This aging infrastructure contributes to the 75,000 sanitary sewer overflows that occur in the United States per year--75,000 sewage overflows a year in the United States. It causes an estimated 5,500 annual illnesses due to these contaminations which occur on our beaches and in our streams and lakes where American families vacation.

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that more than $630 billion will be needed over the next 20 years to meet the Nation's drinking water and wastewater infrastructure needs.

As chair of the Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife, I held a hearing where we brought in some of our local officials to talk about some of these needs. They told us they can't possibly do this with the resources they currently have available, that they need a Federal partner--they need a stronger Federal partner--and they need a Federal Government that will give them new innovative tools in order to deal with these critical needs.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore testified she would like to see some form of trust fund established so we can leverage money and make these types of investments. She pointed out--which we already know--that for the money we spend on water infrastructure we will cause a multiplier effect. By a ratio of 3-to-1, it actually creates more money in our economy. If we put $1 billion in water infrastructure improvement, it creates $3 billion of economic activity in our communities, allowing us to create more jobs at the same time we improve our water infrastructure for public health and for economic development.

This makes sense. We need to do this. I don't know how many more times I will have to come to the floor of the Senate and point out these horrible water main breaks that are occurring all over. What is happening in Baltimore--what is happening in Maryland--is happening in every one of our States. This is not a one-State problem. This is a national problem. People are outraged by these situations, and they are going to be more outraged when they realize their public health is at risk and the availability of safe drinking water is at risk, as well as the inconvenience that is caused when their basements are flooded or they can't get to their businesses or have to leave their businesses early or pay additional local taxes in order to repair the damage done as a result of the failure to replace aged infrastructure.

I urge my colleagues to work together on this issue. Let's make sure we have a budget that makes sense for this country but that allows us to invest in the types of investments that are important for America's future. We have talked about that with transportation infrastructure, we have talked about that with energy infrastructure, but the same thing is true with water infrastructure. So I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to provide the tools and resources that will allow our economy to grow and our local governments to upgrade their water infrastructure systems.

Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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