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Public Statements

Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012--Motion to Proceed--Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

REMEMBERING 9/11

Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. President, today we remember September 11, 2001, 11 years ago, a Tuesday like today was, a beautiful day like today was, but a day of horror incited by a hateful ideology. We, of course, cannot afford to forget what happened, but let's remember what can happen when Americans come together.

On this national day of remembrance we honor those who lost their lives 11 years ago, the daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers from various walks of life and avenues of faith. We honor the families of the victims. We honor the survivors. We honor the courageous civil servants and first responders, most of them union members, who lost their lives and suffered illnesses because of their selflessness. We salute the servicemembers and their families who sacrificed so much since these tragic events.

More than a decade later we all remember where we were on that clear Tuesday morning. I remember feeling the fear and uncertainty when gathering my staff at a location near the Capitol. Regardless of where we were on that fateful day, whether speaking English with a Brooklyn accent or as a first generation American learning English as a second language or those of you from the Midwest who perhaps speak with a bit of a Midwestern accent--although Midwesterners do not have an accent--we all came together. Regardless of where we worked--in a manufacturing plant in Cleveland or a farm near Lima--we came together. This is this spirit or solidarity we reaffirm today.

Today we must come together again and focus on moving forward as one nation in spite of our differences.

I suggest the absence of a quorum.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHEVROLET CRUZE

Mr. BROWN of Ohio. This weekend, I believe it was Saturday, I was in Lordstown, OH, celebrating the 2-year anniversary of the first Chevy Cruze that came off the Lordstown GM Chevy plant line. I was there the day the first Cruze came out. The first three cars--painted red, white, and blue--represented the determination of workers and that company and the Nation to succeed to bounce back, despite national naysayers who were willing to stand idly by while our economy stalled.

We read it in newspapers, saw it on television, heard it on the radio how some elected officials not only wanted to turn their back on an industry that has provided middle-class wages, college educations, homes, and cars to millions of Americans, but a number of elected officials wanted to bet against the American automotive industry.

During the height of the economic crisis, when American manufacturing was sputtering--and the Presiding Officer knows the statistics because he paid attention in his State of Alaska, which is not so much a manufacturing State but a State that contributes a lot to manufacturing. The Presiding Officer knows what has happened in this country. From 2000 to 2010, we lost 5 million manufacturing jobs. That was one-third of all the manufacturing jobs in this country. Six thousand plants closed in the United States in that decade. Since 2010--and more on that in a moment--because of the auto rescue and because we have a Federal Government that is willing to enforce trade laws, we have seen a growth of 500,000 manufacturing jobs, the first time we have seen month-to-month manufacturing job growth for almost every month for 2-plus years. It is the first time since 1999 this country has actually seen any manufacturing job growth.

Some said: Let the industry go bankrupt. A Presidential candidate said--I believe his words to Detroit were along the lines of drop dead; that wasn't something we wanted to do, to do anything to help that industry. They were willing to let the auto industry go bankrupt and then see what happened.

Some of these naysayers thought it was OK to bail out Wall Street. They thought it was OK to pad the salaries of reckless bankers who drove our economy off the cliff. It wasn't the nonunion autoworker in Marysville who built the Honda, it wasn't the Chrysler autoworker in Toledo who built the Wrangler or the Liberty, it wasn't the Chevy autoworker in Lordstown who built the Cruze, it wasn't the autoworker in Defiance who built the engine or the glass worker in Crestline who made the glass for the Chevy Cruze or the aluminum worker in Cleveland or the steelworker in Middletown who caused the collapse of the economy and the problems with the banks. In many ways, they were blamed by the people who bet against America, who were willing to say it is OK to pad the salary of reckless bankers, even though they are the ones who drove the economy off the cliff.

They railed against rescuing autoworkers in places such as Holmesville, Waverly, Middletown, and Youngstown. The easy road--and it wasn't the easy road by a long shot--isn't always the right path, not when this many jobs are at stake, paying these kind of wages, strengthening this middle-class.

The Chevy Cruze represents what was at stake. Three days ago, when I was in Lordstown, we marked the day of the 2-year anniversary, how resilient we can be when we make decisions not based on politics but what is best for the country. Plain and simple, the auto rescue was the right choice.

Last year, the Cruze was elected the Car of the Year by the North American Dealer Association. Now it is the best-selling compact car in America. My
daughter drives one. My wife traded in her 6-year-old Pontiac Vibe and bought a Chevy Cruze. Just a few short years ago, 1,000 workers in Lordstown were laid off. Today, nearly 5,000 workers build one of the fastest selling small cars in the country.

For people such as Glenn Johnson, who is the local President in the Lordstown assembly plant, the politically unpopular decision to save the auto industry was about saving the livelihood for hard-working families in Ohio and in the Midwest. Two years later, we are moving forward. GM profits are up. GM has been profitable for 10 consecutive quarters. None of the naysayers thought it could possibly happen. None of the naysayers were willing to invest in GM and to find private capital. It only happened because taxpayers stepped forward because the government was willing to understand and recognize that this mattered for our country.

GM has announced plans to make a $200 million additional investment in Lordstown, where they have added a third shift to produce the Chevy Cruze. Chrysler has invested tens of millions of dollars in Toledo. Honda has invested tens of millions of dollars in a new model in Marysville. Ford has invested tens of millions of dollars in Cleveland. All three American auto companies and the major U.S. auto transplant Honda have all made major investments in Ohio since the auto rescue. The Cruze epitomizes how essential the auto industry is in Ohio.

The engine for the Cruze is made in Defiance, the transmission for the Cruze is made in Toledo, the brackets are made in Brunswick, the glass for the Wrangler is made in Crestline, the sound system for the Cruze is made in Springboro, the underneath steel for the Cruze comes from Middletown, the exposed steel comes from Cleveland, the seat frame comes from Lorain, the seats are made in Warren, and the aluminum for the Chevy Cruze Eco comes from Cleveland. The car is assembled by 5,000 workers in Lordstown, OH.

This success story goes far beyond one State. In my State alone, hundreds of thousands of jobs are associated with the auto industry. There are 120,000 Ohioans who are directly employed by automakers, dealers, and supply chain parts manufacturers. We know even with that success and even with the success of enforcing trade laws, which have turned into--as a result of enforcing trade rules, we have a new steel mill in Youngstown. More tires are made in Findlay and more aluminum is made in Heath and Sidney, OH. More steel is made in Lorain and Cleveland.

Because we have enforced trade rules, that doesn't mean we don't need to do more. The economy is still not what it should be. Our unemployment rate from 2 years ago went from over 10.5 percent to under 7.5 percent, but it is clearly still not enough because far too many workers in Ohio, Alaska and America and all over are underemployed or unemployed.

We are moving in the right direction. Since January of 2010, after a full decade of manufacturing job loss from 2000 to 2010, where 5 million manufacturing jobs were lost, we have gained 500,000 manufacturing jobs in those 2 years.

Supporting America means valuing workers. It is patriotic to support America's middle class. When it comes to protecting American workers and supporting American manufacturers and boasting America's middle class, we still have much to do. We have made major progress in the last years. We have much to do. We have no choice but to move forward.


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