Brown Fighting to Put Ohio Workers at the Center of Covid-19 Economic Recovery Efforts


Senator Pushing Biden Administration to Put American Companies First for Projects Funded by the American Rescue Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 17, 2021 – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will host a news conference call as he’s fighting to put Ohio workers at the center of COVID-19 recovery efforts. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Brown has called on both the Trump and Biden Administrations to invest in American workers, ensuring they have the help and support they need to get the economy moving again and to keep themselves healthy and safe.

“I’m leading efforts to ensure we put workers at the center of our economic recovery,” said Brown. “That means putting American workers and businesses first as we make these investments, and it means reforming the trade and tax policy that we know hurt Ohio manufacturing, even before the pandemic.”

On Monday, Brown and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) led their colleagues in calling on President Joe Biden 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 American Rescue Plan. Currently, the President has authority under the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 to waive Buy American and other domestic preference restrictions for countries with which the United States has a trade agreement or procurement agreement. Sixty countries currently qualify for such a waiver, despite that these firms do not have American workers or pay American taxes. The full letter is available here.

Brown was joined on today’s call by Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga to discuss the importance of investing in Ohio workers and putting workers at the center of COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.

“Suspending these trade waivers would help maximize the economic impact of the American Rescue Plan by ensuring that the funds provided would be reinvested right here in Ohio. This move will also help to shore up our domestic supply chains as an overreliance on foreign supply chains caused critical supply shortages during the pandemic. The domestic spending commitment will boost domestic industries and help unemployed workers in Ohio and across the country,” said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga.

In January, Brown wrote to President Biden, calling on the Administration to prioritize purchasing fully made in America Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Brown outlined four steps the Administration can take now to ensure our frontline workers have products needed to effectively carryout their critical responsibilities and to support domestic manufacturers who are ready to scale up production and help keep workers healthy and safe. A full copy of Brown’s letter can be found here.

Today, Brown voted to confirm Katherine Tai to serve as U.S. Trade Representative after securing a commitment from her to put workers at the center of U.S. trade policy, especially important amid COVID-19 economic recovery efforts. Brown and Tai worked together to negotiate the new NAFTA that included the Brown-Wyden Provisions that Brown helped secure to benefit workers by including the first-ever overhaul of labor enforcement standards in a trade agreement since the U.S. started negotiating trade deals.

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