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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Joe Biden owes steelworkers a straight answer

While Joe Biden’s limited public appearances may help his campaign hide some of his gaffes, his invite-only campaign also serves to hide something far more dangerous to American workers: his desire to reverse President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum.

In May, the Biden campaign answered a series of questions posed by the United Steel Workers. Despite leading decades of failed trade policy in the Senate and as vice president, Biden has learned nothing. Most of his answers could have been written by the Hillary Clinton campaign that American workers rejected in 2016.

Most troubling was Biden’s answer on whether he would continue the tariffs on steel and aluminum, which spurred a manufacturing resurgence prior to the pandemic and allowed U.S. Steel in Gary, Indiana, to invest nearly a billion dollars into its facilities in the Hoosier State. When asked if he would keep these tariffs in place, Biden declined to answer directly, stating that he will “review” them.

This is just unacceptable. American workers deserve a straight answer about Biden’s real plans. As the Democratic National Convention kicks off this week, Biden has yet to take a position on this issue, which is central to so many Hoosiers’ livelihoods.

Contrast Biden’s disregard for steelworkers with Trump. By June 2016, candidate Donald Trump had already outlined his seven-point plan on trade, and once in the White House, he kept his word.

He promised to appoint tough trade negotiators and renegotiate the failed NAFTA agreement. Check and check.

He promised to label China a currency manipulator and strictly enforce U.S. trade laws. Check and check.

He promised to take a hard line toward China on trade and use new authorities to tackle unfair trade practices across the globe. Check and check.

And finally, Trump promised to withdraw the United States from the failed Obama/Biden Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. Trump fulfilled that promise on day one.

Trump stood up to the failed Biden trade doctrine that filled our shelves with Chinese goods and loaded our ships with American jobs headed overseas.

During their convention this week, Biden and the Democrats will have plenty of opportunities to tell people if they plan to dismantle the steel protections that have saved thousands of American jobs. Biden’s non-answer to that question so far speaks volumes.

Mike Braun, a Republican, is Indiana’s junior U.S. senator.



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