Workers to Congress: Delayed National Security Investigations Threaten Jobs, U.S. Defense

Industry Representatives Arrive on Capitol Hill to Demand Action on Steel and Aluminum Imports

Washington, D.C. — America's military is under attack by steel and aluminum imports that threaten to wipe out jobs, put U.S. manufacturers out of business, and make national defense more dependent on potential adversaries to equip our troops – if a stalled national security investigation does not conclude. 

That was the message delivered by dozens of steelworkers to Members of Congress Tuesday as they descended on Capitol Hill, calling for action to shore up the beleaguered domestic steel and aluminum industries.

The purpose of the Trump administration’s delayed investigations, each known as a Section 232, is to determine the effect of steel and aluminum imports on national security. President Trump promised to unveil the findings of the two separate investigations by the end of June but still hasn’t taken action. Meanwhile, steel imports are up more than 21 percent since the investigations were announced, and China’s steel output continues to grow.

“We’re pretty much at a make or break point now,” said steelworker Calvin Croftcheck, a 40-year industry veteran and chief safety inspector for U.S. Steel. “If we don’t get some relief quickly, and if it’s not substantial relief, that’s not going to help us any.”

Croftcheck was among workers who came to Capitol Hill from steelmaking facilities in eight states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Alabama, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Michigan.

The workers were there to press the importance of the outstanding investigations. A surge of steel and aluminum imports, often heavily subsidized and produced by state-owned enterprises in China and Russia, are among the chief causes behind American plant closures and thousands of layoffs in recent years. This instability puts the reliable supply of these important commodities under tremendous strain, and raises national security concerns. Steel and aluminum are crucial inputs in numerous military platforms and public infrastructures, from battleships and troop carriers to our domestic electric grid.

“We’ve seen an increase in the amount of imports since President Trump made these promises, and lacking the actual action by President Trump, this is actually hurting us,” said Cliff Tobey, a worker at U.S. Steel’s Keetac mining facility on the Minnesota Iron Range. “I really do hope the president stands by his word and does it relatively quickly, because we’re actually seeing an increase (in imports), and that’s not good for the steel industry in the United States.”

In their meetings, the workers urged lawmakers to support President Trump’s investigations and, if necessary, pressure him to follow through on his promises.

"President Trump won industrial states last year by promising a new path on trade and said he'd look out for America's steelworkers," said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing and former member of President Trump's Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. “But his delay in action on steel and aluminum has actually made matters worse for these workers and their communities – to say nothing about the serious national security implications created by this ambiguity. The president needs to act now on these investigations.”

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