#SteelBriefs Profile - Representative Pete Visclosky (D) IN-1

Representative Pete Visclosky (D) IN-1

The American steel industry employs nearly 140,000 workers, supports about a million jobs in the larger economy and is vital to nearly every aspect of modern life. #Steelbriefs highlights the opinions of steel advocates in Congress on key issues critical to the steel industry by profiling members of Congress who have worked to curtail the unfair foreign trade practices that have impacted the industry, and championed other issues critical to steel like transportation, infrastructure and energy. You can follow #SteelBriefs on the American Iron and Steel Institute Twitter (@AISISteel) and Facebook channels, as well as here on steel.org.



 


As the Vice-Chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus, Representative Pete Visclosky (D) IN-1 is a leader of Congressional efforts to support and defend the American steel industry. The following is Rep. Visclosky's statement to #SteelBriefs:

Hardworking men and women in my district work every single day to manufacture steel, and they are doing it more efficiently than anyone else in the world. I want to convey the concerns I hear when I talk to steelworkers and steel industry officials in my district. They know they are doing their part to remain competitive, but in the back of their minds, the threat of illegal imports is unrelenting. When our foreign competitors cheat and choose to continually disregard our trade laws, they are threatening the existence of the American steel industry and good-paying jobs that allow our workers to support their families.

Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to tour the steel mills in my district. Each time I visit, I am always deeply impressed by how quickly steelworkers are able to evolve their skill set and operations to keep up with new technology. In the early 1980s, it took an average of 10.1 man hours to produce a finished ton of steel. Today it is only 1.9 man hours.

Yet despite being on the cutting edge of technology, American steel companies are faced with constant layoffs, idling, and closures. It is clear to me that these wounds are not self-inflicted. The problem is not that our workers can’t keep up with the capabilities of other countries, it’s that they’re being cheated out of the opportunity to compete fairly.

The world is watching to see if the United States will send an irrefutable message to repeat offenders that illegal trade will not be tolerated. It is past time to stop illegal trade.

It is past time that we fully enforce our laws. The steelworkers and steel companies in my district and throughout the nation are playing by the rules. They are following international trade laws. They are following labor and environmental laws. They are ensuring their workers are safe, efficient, and earn a fair wage for the work they do. They deserve to know that foreign competitors who cheat and circumvent our laws will be held accountable.