By Jamie Brackman, Contributing Writer
Representative Mark Critz (D-Cambria) is leading the push for currency manipulation legislation that he believes will protect US jobs. For a conservative, union-backed Democrat like Critz, trade issues are a sort of policy wheelhouse.
Critz is currently circulating a discharge petition that would force consideration of the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, which passed the House by a margin of 348-71 last fall. Michigan Rep. Sandy Levin’s bill aims to level the playing field for the US dollar by regulating undervalued currencies. The bill has waited in the Committee on Ways and Means without action for over four months since the new session began.
In the six days since his effort began, Critz has collected 146 of the 218 signatures needed to bring the bill up for debate. Of Critz’s Pennsylvania colleagues, Reps. Mike Doyle, Jason Altmire, Chaka Fattah, Tim Holden and Bob Brady have each signed on.
“It is time for action in Washington to create good paying jobs here in America,” said Critz in a statement. “For years, countries like China have engaged in massive, government intervention to keep the value of their currencies artificially low compared to the U.S. dollar. This currency manipulation makes Chinese imports cheaper, U.S. exports more expensive, and costs the United States between 500,000 and 1.5 million jobs.”
According to the Economic Policy Institute, fair trade and a level playing field would produce 2.25 million American jobs; reduce the budget deficit by $71 billion per year; reduce the unemployment rate a full percentage point; increase GDP by $286 billion; and reduce the trade deficit by $191 billion.
This legislation is part of House Democrats “Make it in America” manufacturing strategy to create the high-skill, high-wage jobs of the future—promoting American competitiveness, innovation, and exports.