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Jobs and the Economy

The recession has been brutal to American workers and small businesses alike. Add to that the United State’s failed trade policies and the last few years have been frustrating and painful. Wall Street has recovered handily, but the real economy continues to stymie job creation.

There are no quick fixes, but Congressman DeFazio is working hard to turn our economy around, create jobs, and improve the lives of hard working Americans. The special interests in Washington frequently claim their self-serving pet project will create jobs or save the economy. This strategy has not worked. DeFazio voted against the Wall Street Bailout and the American Recover and Reinvestment Act (better known as the stimulus package). Instead he has been continually fighting for investment in infrastructure, reform of our failed trade policies, and reform of Wall Street, all of which will strengthen our economy and put regular Americans back in living wage jobs.

Jobs on Main Street

Congressman DeFazio voted against the $789 billion economic stimulus package signed into law by President Obama because every penny of it was borrowed and it was not spent on effective job creation programs.  Instead, Congressman DeFazio has made it a priority to come up with legislation that will actually put Oregonians back to work and restore America’s economy.  As Chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee he co-authored a transportation bill that would bring back millions of private sector jobs that cannot be exported to China or anywhere else. Strengthened with Buy America provisions, this legislation would put millions of Americans to work on projects updating our decrepit transportation infrastructure. This investment would provide for private much needed sector jobs in construction, engineering, design, manufacturing, shipping, and have a significant job multiplier effect.  Unfortunately the President’s economic team has thus far been more concerned with coddling Wall Street than rebuilding infrastructure to create jobs on Main Street.

In the mean time, Congressman DeFazio voted in favor of H.R. 2847, the Jobs for Main Street Act of 2009. Besides providing funding for infrastructure spending and supporting public service jobs, funds from this bill went to provided emergency funds for such things as a 6-month unemployment benefit insurance extension and an extension of COBRA health benefits.

Failed Trade Policies

Congressman DeFazio has also consistently advocated for removing the burden businesses and workers face from unfair trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and most-favored nation trading status for China.  All of these failed trade policies have led to the wholesale export of millions of American jobs and severely eroded our manufacturing base.  Congressman DeFazio has called for the repeal or renegotiation of these trade deals. 


Reining in Wall Street

In 2008, when Wall Street executives came asking for a bailout, Congressman DeFazio was one of the first Members of Congress to stand up and say no.  He voted against the $700 billion taxpayer funded Wall Street bailout all three times that it came up in the House of Representatives.  As an alternative he introduced legislation that would say “never again,” and force Wall Street to pay for its own bailout.  Congressman DeFazio firmly believes that if Wall Street wants to sets its own rules and engage in risky gambling, it should live or die by those rules rather than running to Congress, bonuses in one hand and the other stretched out for a taxpayer bailout.

Over the past two decades Wall Street lobbied for, and won, drastic deregulation of the financial sector.  This lauded “free market,” however, only served to foster a grotesque lack of restraint and foresight among financial executives.  Congressman DeFazio has always been a staunch opponent of such deregulation, and consistently voted against it during his time in Congress.

With the support of Congressman DeFazio, Congress passed The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The bill takes meaningful steps toward addressing many of the problems that created our current financial crisis.  However, Congressman DeFazio had advocated for stronger protections for working class families from Wall Street greed and stricter safeguards against any future taxpayer funding of bailouts.

In response to the bailouts, Congressman DeFazio also introduced separate legislation, H.R. 4191, the Let Wall Street Pay for the Restoration of Main Street Act  His bill would levy a small tax on Wall Street financial transactions and would help pay for restoring the Main Street economy.  In recent years rampant speculation and high speed trading have come to dominate Wall Street.  Focusing on very short-term gains, rather than long-term stability, this kind of trading has severely threatened our economic stability.  A minimal tax on financial transactions would steer Wall Street back toward its traditional role of making long term investments and loans to American businesses.  A similar tax existed from 1914 to 1966 and was doubled during the Great Depression. Warren Buffett and many other prominent investors have supported bringing back a similar transaction tax.  In order to ensure that the tax is properly targeted at high volume speculative traders on Wall Street, H.R. 4191 specifically exempted average investors and pension funds.

More on Jobs and the Economy

Feb 5, 2020 Press Release

Today the House of Representatives passed decisively bipartisan legislation authored by Rep. Peter DeFazio that would provide the United States Postal Service (USPS) with much-needed financial relief by ending the agency’s burdensome prefunding mandate on future retiree health benefits. The legislation passed by a vote of 309 to 106, with 87 Republicans voting in favor of the bill. 

Feb 4, 2020 Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio today released the following statement in response to President Trump’s State of the Union address:

Nov 21, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC- Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) announced the Corvallis Municipal Airport received a $2.15 million Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The grant is made possible by funding approved by Congress.

Nov 18, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today, announced he is an original cosponsor of The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, legislation that aims to retrofit, rehabilitate, and decarbonize the nation’s public housing stock.

Nov 13, 2019 Press Release

Washington, D.C.Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio (OR-04), today released testimony from Oregon State Representative, Nancy Nathanson (Eugene, District 13) delivered at a committee hearing titled: “Amtrak Now and Into the Future.” Nathanson advocated for increased federal funding for passenger rail operations, more reliable capital funding, attention to freight train length and freight interference in order to improve passenger rail service and increase on time performance.

Oct 22, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio today was joined by a bipartisan group of 72 members in a letter to House Leadership urging Congress to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Program for at least two years.

Oct 1, 2019 Press Release

Eugene, OR—U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio in a statement today urged University of Oregon leadership to resolve the labor negotiation impasse with a strong contract that honors the contributions of graduate teaching fellows and provides basic benefits and a living wage. The University and Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF), AFT Local 3544, have been in contract negotiations since November 2018.

Sep 19, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-4) announced the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded multiple grants exceeding $1.7 million to jurisdictions in Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District to assist local firefighting efforts. An additional $1.9 million was awarded to statewide programs.

Sep 19, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-4) announced the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has awarded the state of Oregon a $251,600 hazardous materials emergency preparedness grant. Funds will be provided to the Office of State Fire Marshal to invest in emergency response training and plans to deal with accidents involving the transportation of hazardous materials.

Aug 28, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $16,495,000 to the Douglas County Bridge Replacement Project, which includes work to improve the Conn Ford and Oakland Bridges. This federal grant is made possible by the Competitive Highway Bridge Program. Rep. DeFazio, the Chair of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, has long supported the Douglas County Bridge Replacement project.