Loss of U.S. jobs to China becomes powerful election issue
In Pennsylvania, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, Joe Sestak, accuses his Republican foe Pat Toomey of favoring China over hard-working Americans.
In a new website, the AFL-CIO pointedly tracks the loss of U.S. jobs to China and other cheap-labor countries.
With about a month to go more the Nov. 2 election, Democrats and their friends are pushing as a potentially pivotal issue the export of U.S. jobs.
They believe, or at least hope, it will resonate with American voters worried about the economy and their own financial futures.
A memo by consultants Stanley Greenberg and James Carville suggests Democrats could use concern about the outsourcing of U.S. jobs to help stage an “October surprise” and retain control of the House and Senate in next month’s election.
Campaign messages on behalf of protecting U.S. jobs — while ripping into Republicans who support trade pacts and tax breaks that jeopardize them — can be powerful.
In one of its lasts votes at the end of September before taking a recess for final election campaigning, the House overwhelmingly passed legislation that would allow the United States to seek sanctions against China and other countries that gain trade advantages by through currency manipulation.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin, who helped write the legislation, has been touting it in appearances with House Democratic candidates in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, as part of a new Democratic agenda called “Make it in America.”
Toomey and Sestak are said to be locked in a tight race to replace Senator Arlen Specter in the U.S. Senate. But polls suggest Toomey is running ahead of his Democratic rival.
Toomey has said he opposes the currency manipulation legislation because it could spark a trade war that would end up hurting U.S exports and making imports cost more.
Sestak argues that China’s cheap currency puts American companies and workers at an unfair disadvantage that costs jobs.
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Reuters photos by Hyungwon Kang ( Reps Timothy Ryan and Sandy Levin after House vote on currency legislation) and Benjamin Myers ( Levin outside his office at the U.S. Capitol).