The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sanders to Steelworkers: No. 1 Challenge America Faces Is a Jobs Crisis


Sen. Bernie Sanders will address the urgent need to create jobs to both jumpstart the economy and reduce the national debt during the United Steelworkers "Stand Up, Fight Back" convention in Las Vegas this afternoon.

Shortly before Sanders speaks to more than 3,000 union leaders throughout North America today, President Barack Obama is scheduled to make remarks to the steelworkers' convention by video. On Monday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) addressed the steelworkers' convention and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) delivered his own remarks in a video address.

"While everyone understands that we have got to reduce the deficit, the number one challenge America faces right now is a jobs crisis," Sanders said, noting that over 16 percent of American workers, 25 million Americans, today are either unemployed or underemployed. "Creating the millions of new jobs that we desperately need is not only vitally important to our economy but will be the means by which we reduce the deficit over the long term. New jobs mean more government revenue, which makes a lot more sense than having to spend billions on unemployment compensation, food stamps, and other programs needed during a severe recession."

During his speech, Sanders will outline his own vision to put millions of Americans back to work. His plan calls for rebuilding the nation's crumbling infrastructure, transforming our energy system, and rewriting our trade policy so that American products -- not jobs -- are our number one export.

Sanders said, "Everyone in Vermont and across the country understands that we can put millions of Americans back to work rebuilding the nation's bridges, roads, schools, dams, culverts, rail systems and public transportation, among other vital needs. We must also transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. A significant number of jobs can be created through weatherization, and the manufacturing of American-made wind turbines, solar panels, and heat pumps. Also, we must make fundamental changes in our trade policy so that we rebuild our manufacturing sector. Corporate America must invest in the United States and stop the outsourcing of jobs to China, Vietnam, and other low-wage countries."

In his remarks, Sanders will also call on the recently created congressional Super Committee to find $1.5 trillion in savings by reducing the deficit in a fair and responsible way, in part, by aggressively eliminating tax loopholes for the wealthy and large corporations and taking a hard look at excessive military spending.

Sanders will also emphasize that he plans to vigorously oppose efforts to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits.

"Social Security has not contributed a nickel to the deficit, it has a $2.6 trillion surplus, and it can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 25 years. It must not be cut," Sanders said.

"Instead of balancing the budget on the backs of working families, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the most vulnerable, it is time to ask the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in this country to pay their fair share," Sanders said.

United States Senator for Vermont

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