Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Leader-elect Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Leader Pelosi:
We write today to urge immediate action in the 115th Congress to expand economic opportunity in communities harmed by the outsourcing of American jobs.
Our states encompass communities that once served as thriving hubs for manufacturing and development, providing the opportunity for working class families to achieve the American Dream. In recent decades, the livelihoods of these workers have been pulled out from beneath them. We have watched too many factories shutter their doors and too many workers lose their jobs, decimating these neighborhoods and leaving families behind.
The frustration and despair felt by workers in our region is palpable, and the discourse during the year's election detailing the lack of opportunity for the working class underscores the need for solutions to these challenges. Congress has a responsibility to address their concerns and work together to strengthen the economic stability of these communities.
For these reasons, we urge Congress to prioritize the consideration and passage of legislation consistent with the following principles:
1. We should close loopholes in our tax code which reward companies that ship jobs overseas and punish companies that stay in the United States and invest in American workers.
2. Federal contracting and procurement policies should give preference to American labor and domestic-made goods so our taxpayer dollars benefit working class families in the United States.
3. We should increase investments in education and prepare workers for careers in advanced manufacturing and other industries that will be pivotal in the 21st century economy.
4. Trade Adjustment Assistance and retraining programs should be improved and expanded to give workers the opportunity to get back on their feet when confronting job displacement.
5. We should expand access to quality broadband services and increased telecommunications connectivity so all communities have the digital resources that are necessary to compete in our digital economy.
6. The promise of a secure retirement must be upheld by preserving benefits that workers have paid into and earned, including Social Security, Medicare, and workplace pension guarantees.
Too many working class families in our districts have been left behind because of the outsourcing of American jobs. It is critical Congress takes immediate action to jumpstart the economic prosperity of these communities by passing legislation that adheres to the principles listed above.
We hope you will stand with us and our constituents during the 115th Congress to advance these goals and revive the American Dream for workers across the country.