U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown: Putting Ohio workers at the center of COVID-19 recovery

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 25, 2021

This month, we passed the American Rescue Plan to get shots in people’s arms, money in people’s pockets, kids back in schools, and workers in jobs. Now I’m leading efforts to ensure we put workers at the center of our economic recovery.

That means putting American workers and businesses first as we make these investments. It also means reforming trade and tax policies that we know hurt Ohio manufacturing, even before the pandemic.

That’s why I wrote to the Biden Administration asking them to close loopholes to ensure the historic investments in the Rescue Plan go to American companies and their workers. We’re asking them to temporarily suspend trade waivers that could allow foreign companies that do not have American workers or pay American taxes, to bid on projects funded by the Rescue Plan. We need to make sure that Ohioans’ tax dollars fund products that are made in America and support jobs in Ohio and around the country.

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I’ve always stood up to presidents of both parties when it comes to trade and protecting Ohio manufacturing jobs – in 2009 I pressed the administration to do more to make sure the help we passed actually went to American companies. And I spoke out when we saw the last administration giving more and more contracts to foreign firms. This year is no different.

We know how our trade and tax policies have put Ohio manufacturers at a disadvantage for decades. Last week, 81 workers in Bucyrus had their jobs outsourced to China, when GE-Savant moved production of its high-efficiency lightbulbs overseas. Less than a week later, Ford announced it would be producing a new product in Mexico instead of Ohio, effectively breaking its promise to invest $900 billion and create 1,500 jobs in Avon Lake.

We need to curb this corporate business model that shuts down production in Ohio, collects a tax break to move overseas, only to sell products back in the U.S. And I’m encouraged that our U.S. trade representative wants to move us in the right direction. This week, in a unanimous, bipartisan vote, we confirmed Katherine Tai as the president’s chief trade adviser. She committed to me in her hearing to listen to Ohio workers and give them the voice they’ve never had in U.S. trade policy.

That’s the kind of change we need to support Ohio manufacturers and jobs all over our state, and I will contiue to press the administration to put American workers at the center of our economic recovery.

Sherrod Brown is a Democrat and the senior U.S. senator representing Ohio. He can be reached at 202-224-2315.