Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman will yield, I do not have any comments. I would make a point of order, though, if the gentleman is not prepared to withdraw his amendment.
Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
This tri-partisan amendment has widespread support across the ideological spectrum, from Democrats and Republicans, from progressives to conservatives. It is being cosponsored today by the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher), the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Ryan), the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul), and the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Kucinich). It also is being supported by a number of leading national organizations including the National Taxpayers Union;
Friends of the Earth; Citizens Against Government Waste; the Green Scissors Coalition; Taxpayers For Common Sense; and U.S. PIRG, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Mr. Chairman, this amendment is simple and straightforward. It would prohibit the Export-Import Bank from providing corporate welfare for the construction of nuclear power plants in China.
Mr. Chairman, I think the rationale for supporting this amendment is obvious. At a time when we have a $7.7 trillion national debt and a record-breaking Federal deficit, it is not only absurd, but it is dangerous for the taxpayers of this country to be subsidizing the construction of nuclear power plants in China.
Mr. Chairman, amazingly enough, the company involved here, Westinghouse Electric, which builds nuclear technology is owned by British National Fuels which itself is a company wholly owned by the British government. So we are dealing with the absurdity of American taxpayers who are in the midst of a record breaking deficit, subsidizing the British government, a nation which, to the best of my knowledge, is not made up of starving, desperate people in the developing world.
Mr. Chairman, there is no debate, but that when these four nuclear power plants will be built at a cost which involves an Export-Import loan of some $5 billion, that when these nuclear power plants will be built, the Chinese will own the technology. And a question that every Member of this Congress should be asking is, is it really in the best interest of the United States of America to provide advanced nuclear technology to China. Furthermore, the Chinese company which is building these four
nuclear power plants, the Chinese national nuclear company has been tied to at least three instances of weapons proliferation involving Iran and Pakistan.
Mr. Chairman, I do not always agree with the National Taxpayers Union. But let me briefly summarize what they say in a letter that they sent to me today.
NTU has long advocated total elimination of taxpayer funding of the Export-Import Bank for the simple fact that American taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the overseas operation of U.S. corporation or foreign governments. Considering the rapid pace of economic growth in China and its emergence as a strong force in the global business environment, it is particularly egregious to waste taxpayer dollars on such a project.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the gentleman's amendment. As he said, this amendment would prohibit the Export-Import Bank from supporting the sale of nuclear power plant and technology in China.
It was 6 years ago in 1998 during the Clinton administration that the U.S. lifted the ban on the export of civilian nuclear power plants and fuel to China. After we became satisfied that China had met the conditions of the 1985 U.S.-China agreement on peaceful nuclear cooperation.
Last September the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Commerce expressed their support for increasing trade with China in nuclear energy technology and for the export of U.S. civilian nuclear power plants. In February of this year the Ex-Im Board of Directors approved a preliminary commitment of $5 million from Westinghouse Electric Company to enable it to make a bid on the design and construction of four 1,000 megawatt commercial power reactors on two sites in China.
These reactors will be the first in a series of 26 new commercial power plants planned for construction through the year 2020. So we are looking at a very large possible export in business for United States businesses. We are in heavy competition. Westinghouse is in heavy competition with companies from France and from Russia to provide the same or similar kind of technology. This order would create or sustain, according to Westinghouse, about 5,000 jobs; 5,000 jobs in the United States at Westinghouse
and its American suppliers.
Because I have heard the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) on the floor railing against outsourcing and the China trade deficit, I thought, here is an opportunity for us to do something about that, to create jobs here at home for us to make sure that we are selling things to China. But this amendment of course would make it impossible for Westinghouse conduct this business while, other countries would get the kind of commitments that they need from the government to protect those
kind of investments. We, the U.S. Government, would not be doing so for Westinghouse.
There can be no question about it. Prohibiting the Export-Import Bank from supporting this and future transactions is going to have a tremendously negative impact on U.S. exporters and U.S. employment. And it is going to send a signal to businesses that they better not be doing business in China. Nothing could be worse for us.
I strongly urge us to defeat this amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of this amendment. And with all due respect, we have been hearing this type of argument for 20 years. When are the American people going to demand that the Members of the United States Congress start watching out for the interests of the people of the United States and not some small group of elite Americans and international financiers who will make a profit off this in the short run, but in the long run will create the situation that we
have found in China today and the situation we find ourselves in here.
For 20 years we have been told by trading and having economic relations with this monstrous dictatorship that we would see liberalization, that we would see a change in the policies that the Chinese government has towards its own people. What have we seen instead? It is the same massive dictatorship. This is the world's worst human rights abuser, and it is the last country in the world that we should be subsidizing American business in order to create business in that country.
The fact is we have seen jobs and businessmen in this country go to China because business leaders in this country will personally make a quick buck by betraying the American working people. That is what is happening here. How can we think they would do anything else?
This government, as we are hearing today, is subsidizing this. Now, when it comes to Westinghouse, when it comes to Westinghouse, this is not even an American company. And we are going to have the United States taxpayers subsidizing a British company in order to build a nuclear power plant or a series of nuclear power plants for communist China? This makes no sense at all. We should not be subsidizing it even if it was an American company.
What are the Chinese going to do when they get this technology from Westinghouse? I can tell you right now, it is certainly something that is [Page: H5337]
acknowledged in the business community, they will start building those plants and they will copy every piece of technology that we have spent, the American taxpayers have spent, developing the technology, and the Chinese will just take it and copy it. That is why today the greatest threat to our freedom, the greatest
threat to America's prosperity is not radical Islam, although that is a challenge we have to face, but in the long run it is a China that is emerging on the scene that is belligerent to everything we stand for as a people.
The last thing we should be doing is building up their economy as we have been doing as a policy of this government for the last 20 years. And let me note, nuclear power plants? Has anyone looked at the proliferation record of the communist Chinese? Why do you think we are having a challenge right now to the world peace in Korea? Do you think the North Koreans just discovered all this technology on their own.
No, the fact is that the Chinese are the ones who are behind the nuclear development in Korea and the development of weapons that threaten Japan and the United States. The last thing we should be doing is helping them develop and perfect their technology that deals with nuclear energy.
This is, again, a no-brainer for me, but the American people need to find out whose side the Congress is on. The policies we have had to China in these last 20 years have created a Frankenstein monster that threatens not only the peace on the world, but threatens the prosperity of our people and the freedom of those who would seek freedom in China itself.
We have been cutting a deal with the devil and we are now coming to a point where everybody recognizes that threat, except perhaps the leadership, unfortunately, in the United States Congress.
So I would commend the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders). I look forward to working with him on this.
Let us get the word out to the American people whose side we are on.
Mr. TIAHRT. Mr. Chairman, I thank the chairman for yielding me time. I appreciate the good job of leadership that he is providing on this issue.
I think a question seems to be resonating here and that is, who is going to look out for U.S. jobs? I think that is a very good question. Here we have on one side Westinghouse, who is working as an American company, a conglomerate, with other corporations trying to build some of the product to be able to export that product in order to create jobs here in America and provide something to China that they are going to get one way or another.
What are the options of that? Well, we can ignore the opportunities we have for American jobs. We can say, let us give the jobs to France. France is also bidding on this. Let France have the jobs.
We have a good example of how France is gaining ground on us in the aircraft industry. They have a government that is willing to do what is necessary in order to move the aerospace industry in France forward. And here we have an opportunity to move forward with the technology that we happen to have that other countries want. So we can either create the jobs here or we can allow them to be created in France. Or there is the other Russia company that is bidding on it as well. We could let the jobs
be created in Russia.
So who is looking out for U.S. jobs? This supply of finance from the Export-Import Bank would meet all the guidelines that have been established and it would provide the funding for an American company to move forward and make jobs for here in America. And that is a good motive. But the overall question is, what is Congress going to do about United States jobs?
We hear a lot about outsourcing American jobs. Nobody ever stops to say, why are we outsourcing American jobs? We keep putting barriers in place for American jobs to be created. Here is a good example. We could have Westinghouse jobs or we could have French and Russian jobs. But it goes beyond that.
Congress has created barriers over the last generation that have driven this economy to a very difficult point. Our trade deficit was $670 billion last year. Our Federal deficit is going to be about $300 billion this year. And we are seeing the loss, the outsourcing of high-quality, high-paying jobs.
If you look at what we have done here in Congress, we have created barriers that have made it difficult for people who create jobs. Health care policy, driven largely by Medicaid and Medicare, is a socialist health care policy that has driven a whole lot of paperwork and a whole lot of unnecessary practices. For example, the Hospital Association in Kansas says for every hour of health care it takes an hour of paperwork to comply with it.
We have litigation here that drives up the cost of building products here. We have regulation that costs $8,000 for every American worker, 12 percent of every product driven up by Congress' rules, and that pushing jobs overseas.
Our tax policy ends up on the bottom line of our products. Our energy policy, that cannot to make law. We could create 700,000 American jobs but we cannot get an energy bill through the Senate. We have trade policy that is unenforced. When there is a violation of our trade policy, we do not get the proper support.
The one thing that we have a surplus of in this country that we do not export is lawsuits. The only way you export lawsuits is through trade policy. You have got to have a trade policy in place to do that.
We also need to improve our research and development and our lifelong learning, but we have got to protect American jobs and this is one way to do that.
I just want to finish this up by saying, we could do a lot in Congress to create an environment here in the U.S. that would keep and create jobs, but we put barrier after barrier in place, and here is one more opportunity for us to drive jobs to France, give the jobs to France.
Let's say no, let us not do it this time. Let us oppose this amendment. Let us support Westinghouse. Let us do something for an American company for once. Just because it has the name China as the destination for the product we shouldn't go into shock. That is not the point.
The point is American jobs, either you will have them in Westinghouse, or you will have them in Russia or you will have them in France. I say bring the jobs back to America. Let us remove these barriers that we have put in place. Let us create jobs in America. We can do it and we can do it today by defeating this amendment.
I thank the Chairman Kolbe for doing a fine job.
Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of the time.
The American middle class is shrinking, and one of the reasons that we are losing good-paying jobs is that corporation after corporation is throwing American workers out on the street and moving to countries like China where desperate people are paid 30 cents an hour, 20 cents an hour and go to jail when they stand up for their political rights or stand up for their right to form a union.
There is increasing concern by people from all walks of life that the economy of China, which is growing in leaps and bounds, is threatening the American standard of living. Whether it is blue collar jobs or white collar, information technology jobs, China is growing while our jobs are shrinking; and we are losing good-paying jobs and providing our young people with low-wage jobs, with minimal benefits.
If it makes sense to anybody in this country to be putting $5 billion of American taxpayer money at risk, to be subsidizing the development of nuclear power plants in China, providing them with the technology that can be used for military purposes, with a company that is owned by the British Government, if somebody got up here and proposed subsidies for a federally owned company, people on the other side would go ballistic; but it is okay to be subsidizing a nationalized company in Great Britain
providing and building nuclear power plants in China.
I think that the time is long overdue that the United States Congress took a very hard look at Export-Import Bank in general. Over the years, what we have seen is they are providing huge subsidies to large corporations who are outsourcing American jobs. In this instance, they are providing a subsidy to a British company owned by their own government building nuclear power plants in China.
I think that is a very bad deal. I think the American people would be shocked if we allowed this to go through, and I hope that we can support this tri-partisan amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.