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Public Statements

This Week in Washington


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I've spent the August district work period travelling throughout our district, meeting with constituents and local small business owners to hear their concerns on the issues important to them and our area. As many of you know, I've also spent this time calling on Congress to end the "recess" and get back to work on those very same issues near and dear to those we represent.

The American people aren't getting a recess from this tough economy, and I believe folks in Congress would have much more focus in tackling our nation's jobs issue if they got back to work. Well recess has ended, and everyone is back and talking about jobs. I'm glad that people in Washington are beginning to get the message. I hope it sticks.

I know I may sound like a broken record, but mine is a jobs plan that is guaranteed to work. Until we begin to fully embrace the Buy American movement, we will not be on our clearest possible path to economic recovery. If our great nation expects to outperform China and India and Korea in the future, we cannot continue to bend to their every wish in regards to our trade policy. Shipping American money and jobs overseas is no way to rebuild our economy. We must focus on implementing Buy American provisions immediately. This should be the number one item of any jobs plan.

Our nation's economic resolve must be as solid as the steel and concrete that made us what we are today. It must be as strong as our national security, and our responses must be just as swift. Just as our military and intelligence leaders have identified our growing national debt as our nation's biggest security threat, our trade deficit also directly contributes to this. We must become as competitive as we can in world markets, giving our local businesses a fair shot at competing in a global economy, not losing to it. Our economic livelihood depends on it. This all must start immediately by passing a strong Buy American agenda as soon as we can. There's been enough political back-and-forth--it's time for results.

As many of you know, my career has never been in Congress or in politics. I started working at age 13, cutting neighbors' grass after school in my home town of Biscoe, with my brother and me earning $1.50 each for each lawn we would mow. During college, I worked building mobile homes. After college, I went on to work in textiles and stayed there for almost 30 years, in the industry that served as an economic backbone for our part of the world for so long. I wish more folks in Washington had more experience working and less politicking. My career in textiles came to an end when Washington lost its way, passing job-killing trade deal after job-killing trade deal. They no longer looked out for the working family or the local industries that supported them while making our nation great. I'm committed to blocking the very same misguided NAFTA-style trade deals that Washington is again is trying to sell our working families. We cannot be prescribed another poison pill wrapped in a promise of jobs or economic prosperity for our country. The fact remains that the pending trade deals with Korea, Panama and Colombia will cost our nation jobs. That is the bottom line.

So as Congress has finally reconvened and gets back to work this week, I'm following up with my colleagues and reminding them of what they most likely heard from every single person they spoke with back home, from working families to area business leaders--the American people need good jobs, not promises or rhetoric. Congress needs to do everything it can to end these economic uncertainties that are preventing our economy from finding relief. There has been enough can-kicking and eleventh-hour deals to last our nation another 200 years. It won't help our economy, and it won't help our families. We cannot allow our middle class, seniors, veterans and children to be used as pawns in yet another Washington standoff, jeopardizing the American Dream and putting at risk the very promise our nation made to those who most deserve it. We cannot make the same mistakes of our past.

The American people need and deserve jobs now, and should not have to wait another day. We need to bring American manufacturing back to the levels that have helped lead our country to prosperity time and time again. Our part of North Carolina knows the value of good manufacturing jobs more than any other, and I won't stop until we see them return--it may not be the same jobs, but they can be better jobs. While I may indeed sound like a broken record, revitalizing the "Made in America" brand remains the best way to get our economy back on track--the first "Jobs Plan" we should enact. It's a simple plan, with simple results: jobs. Some of us have been ready to get to work on this for a long time, and now hopefully everyone else is too.

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