Monday, June 3, 2013

Hoffa incensed by lack of support for 'Buy American' provisions

Texas Gov. Rick Perry thinks it's wrong for his state to buy American. But James P. Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, says the former presidential hopeful isn't the only one missing a major opportunity to help put more people back to work.

Hoffa, speaking on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" Saturday, was incensed with Perry's decision last week to veto "Buy American" legislation. He said it was illogical to do so at a time when politicians are looking to create jobs. While leaders in other countries look to give their home-grown industries a helping hand, Perry and too many other U.S. lawmakers won't do the same for their own constituents, he stated.
"This country is being inundated and flooded with foreign steel, foreign iron, foreign products, and that's why we have so much unemployment in this country. What better than to have a bill that says buy American? What's wrong with having American steel, American iron, American things that go into what makes Texas strong or makes our country strong? ... it's incredible that he would veto such a bill."
Despite Perry's audacity, however, Hoffa said he was hopeful the Texas legislature would override the governor's veto this week. The House previously approved the bill unanimously, 145-to-0, while it passed the Senate by a 23-to-7 vote.

Hoffa said the Teamsters would continue their fight to stick up for workers both in Texas and across the nation. He noted there is a need to convince policymakers about the importance of supporting American employees especially during these challenging economic times.
"We fight this battle every day, we fight it in trade bills. There's a Trans-Pacific Partnership bill, guess what they want to do? Take out buy America. We fight the Pentagon, the military wants to take out buy America. What do they want to do, get their tanks from China? What are they thinking out there? And we have to basically make it stronger and mobilize people in the Congress and House and Senate, and the people, the good people of Texas, to make a stand to say, hey, let's buy American, let's put America to work, let's be proud of who we are."
One such opportunity to get more American workers on the job is to further invest in U.S. infrastructure by rebuilding roads and bridges, Hoffa said. He issued his support for President Obama's call to do so, saying it would benefit the entire nation.

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