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Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GARAMENDI. I suspect that, Mr. Speaker, all of us would want to see more jobs in America. The great American manufacturing sector over the last 20 years has lost about 9 million jobs. Twenty-five years ago, no one throughout this world would doubt that the greatest manufacturing Nation in the world was America. Twenty-five years later, and 9 million jobs having been lost, America has lost its preeminence--or is about to lose its preeminence. It would seem to me it's our job here as representatives of the American public and the American economy to do everything we possibly can to rebuild and reestablish the great American manufacturing sector, to do everything we can to restore to America those 9 million middle class jobs that have been lost to outsourcing, to our companies moving overseas, and to some rather impractical and rather foolish laws that have been passed and are on the books.

There is something we can do today with this bill. This bill, while seeming to be small, ought to be our very first step this session to make sure that in every piece of legislation we pass there would be an incentive, an obligation, or an advantage for American manufacturers.

Small hydro, who's to care about small hydro? Well, there are four businesses in America that would care a great deal about small hydro. In New Mexico, the Elephant Butte Irrigation District develops low-cost small hydro. Canyon Hydro in Deming, Washington, manufactures and produces small hydro. NATEL Energy Company in Alameda, California, manufactures small hydro programs. And James Leffel & Company in Springfield, Ohio, manufactures the machinery for small hydro. This bill would provide an opportunity for these four American companies to build these small hydro projects, made in America, made by Americans.

The amendment that I'm proposing simply says, in addition to what is in this bill, that we add a simple paragraph that says:

In all practical purposes, the machinery that is to be constructed and used in these projects shall be made in America by American workers.

One small step, but a necessary step, and one step along the way to rebuilding the American manufacturing sector.

We can do this. There are those who say that, well, we're not making it. Well, we are making it. And when we write laws that require that it be made in America, guess what? Things are made in America.

In that stimulus bill--whatever you may think it, good or bad--there was a provision written in that Amtrak was to have some new locomotives. Someone put in an additional sentence that said these must be 100 percent made in America. Siemens, the German company, came forward and said: We can do that. And in Sacramento, California today, a half-billion-dollar contract is being executed for numerous electric locomotives for Amtrak, 100 percent American made.

We can establish the policies to make it in America and to rebuild the great American manufacturing sector. We ought to be using all of our tax money whenever we purchase something to be made in America. If we're going to subsidize solar panels or wind turbines or even hydro projects, then let it be American manufacturers that get that money--to be made in America. Simple, but it's up to us. It's up to 435 of us.

What is to be our policy? Are we going to encourage American manufacturing with something as simple as this amendment, or are we simply going to shrug our shoulders and ignore the fact that 9 million American manufacturing jobs have been lost? Are we to ignore our responsibility to bring those jobs back here? I don't think there's one of us among the 435 of us here, Mr. Speaker, that would say: not to worry, let it be. No, I think all of us, Mr. Speaker, would want to bring the American manufacturing jobs back.

This amendment--which would be the final amendment to the bill and which will not kill the bill or send it back to committee--this amendment, if adopted, would proceed immediately to passage and give to American workers a small but significant opportunity to have a well-paying middle class job and once again America being the undisputed leader in manufacturing.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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