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Public Statements

Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

I rise to speak in opposition to the Chinese tariff bill being proposed by my colleague from New York. I understand the frustrations that motivated this legislation, and I share serious concerns over China's currency manipulation and trade practices. I have worked for years to ensure that trade happens and that free trade happens on a level playing field. We still have a long way to go.

The answer to these frustrations with China is not to start a trade war that will raise prices on many goods for American families at a time when they are already struggling, especially when this approach has already been tried and failed to gain any positive results for American workers. The absolute last thing our floundering economy needs right now is retaliatory tariffs on American products that will destroy more jobs. If we want to strengthen our currency, we should start by getting control of our own monetary policy. We don't need to start a trade war with China; we need to stop the class warfare that is preventing jobs from being created right here in America.

American workers are the best in the world, but they cannot fairly compete in a global economy when the U.S. Government is keeping one arm tied behind their back. The solution is to free American workers, not to try to tie up our competitors with more misguided policies that will hurt American families with higher prices on household goods. The U.S. Government needs to give American workers the freedom to work, and that freedom starts with the freedom to get a job.

If President Obama and the Democrats want to know who is preventing jobs from being created in America, all they have to do is look in the mirror. Let's be clear about a few things: Other countries are not threatening to massively raise taxes on our Nation's job creators and drive jobs overseas. President Obama is. Other countries did not jam through a health care takeover bill that is raising the cost of health care, making it harder for businesses to hire people and adding trillions of dollars to our national debt. The Democrats in Congress did. Other countries did not force us to pass the Dodd-Frank financial takeover with thousands of new regulations that are raising costs on American consumers and crippling businesses. Democrats in Congress did. Other countries are not writing hundreds of new regulatory rules that are destroying jobs in our Nation's energy sector and keeping us dependent on foreign oil. The administration's EPA is. Other countries are not blocking Boeing from creating thousands of American jobs in the State of South Carolina. The President's National Labor Relations Board is. Other countries are not forcing 28 U.S. States to require employees to join labor unions that make businesses less competitive. Democrats are the ones protecting labor bosses and hurting workers in America.

The Wall Street Journal has called this Chinese tariff bill ``the most dangerous trade legislation in many years,'' and for good reason. If we pass this bill, it is likely to spark a trade war. It is unlikely to create new jobs in America but will result in higher prices for U.S. consumers. Businesses will pay more for raw materials from China, which will increase prices on their goods and reduce employment. President Obama and the Democrats should know better after seeing the results of the tariff that was put on Chinese tires in 2009. In response, China retaliated with tariffs on American auto parts and poultry. This well-intended bill will have the same unintended results.

I understand the economic frustrations people have with China, but as so many of Obama's policies have done, this bill will only make things worse. This bill doesn't export the best of what American workers have to offer, it exports bad economics. Taxes and tariffs do not create jobs, competition and markets do. Freedom will work if we let it.

I urge the Senate to reject this bill and start helping American workers compete more freely here in America and around the world instead of simply trying to hold others back.

I yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.

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