The incoming Senate minority leader along with other Democrats and organized labor are trying to drive a wedge between congressional Republicans and President-elect Donald Trump over the issue of outsourcing.
The potential for common ground between Trump and Democrats is getting an early test, with Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York pushing Trump to weigh in against the move by House Republicans to exclude “Buy America” language from a water infrastructure bill.
“The simple question before our Republican colleagues was, ‘Should American steel be used to rebuild America’s infrastructure?’ They up and said no,” Schumer said. “Those are not the kind of policies the president-elect talked about in his campaign. We’re asking him to weigh in on this issue, to tell the Republicans in the House and Senate, put back the ‘Buy America’ provision, plain and simple.”
Schumer appeared with Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters, as well as Center for American Progress Action Fund CEO Neera Tanden and Leo Gerard of the United Steelworkers at the Capitol to launch a new effort to keep track of American jobs eliminated as a result of moves overseas.
“There is no question that is something that the caucus is united in — the ‘Buy America’ — that if you are using federal dollars, those federal dollars should go to American workers, and is something that will be a focus of my caucus on this bill and other bills as well,” Peters said.
The House Rules Committee on Wednesday rejected language that would have required drinking water projects authorized by the water bill to use U.S.-made steel and iron.
Peters will nonetheless vote in favor of limiting debate on the water resources package since it appears to be the only vehicle for authorizing $170 million in assistance that the city of Flint, Michigan, needs to replace its lead-tainted pipes.
“The president-elect has talked about Buy America in the past, it would be excellent to have his leadership with Republicans,” Tanden said. “It shouldn’t be up to Democrats to hold this bill up.”
“Donald Trump promised that he would keep American jobs from being shipped overseas, and we really just want to keep him to that promise. It’s hard to trust that talk on outsourcing when so many businesses he’s had have actually shipped jobs overseas,” Tanden said.
Tanden said the new tracking effort seeks to use publicly available data to track U.S. jobs that are transferred overseas during the Trump administration, and suggested that Trump himself could use it to call out companies that are outsourcing processes and services.
Speaking separately, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward J. Markey said the emphasis on manufacturing could be the basis of an alliance with the incoming administration.
“‘Buy America’ is the heart of what the Democratic Party stands for and Donald Trump says he stands for as well. So this gives us a chance to kind of pair up Democrat with Trump philosophy in order to advance that goal,” Markey said.
Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.