Issue: Economy and Jobs

Walorski Leads Bipartisan Call to Provide Targeted Tariff Relief to U.S. Businesses

Walorski Leads Bipartisan Call to Provide Targeted Tariff Relief to U.S. Businesses

More Than 100 Members of Congress Urge USTR to Establish Exclusion Process for Section 301 Tariffs

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today led a bipartisan group of more than 100 members of Congress in urging U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai to provide targeted relief to American businesses by establishing a product exclusion process for Section 301 tariffs.

“While we strongly support tough and effective action to address China’s unfair trade practices, we believe that there must be a meaningful opportunity for American companies to petition for relief from tariffs,” the members wrote. “Many U.S. companies are eager to move supply chains out of China for a variety of reasons and began seeking reliable alternative suppliers over the last several years. However, in many instances those efforts were crippled by travel disruptions and global economic turmoil prompted by COVID-19, particularly for smaller U.S. businesses that do not have a global footprint. U.S. employers need more time to adapt.”

BACKGROUND

USTR recently extended tariff exclusions for products related to COVID-19, but exclusions for other products expired on December 31, 2020. Many of these products are critical inputs for U.S. manufacturing facilities and supply chains

In the letter, Walorski and 101 of her colleagues urged USTR to allow for targeted tariff relief through a process that is “transparent, consistently applied, based on facts,” and includes “expedited procedures for those who had been granted exclusions in the past.” They also said the process should be “administered in a way that would not undermine the broader and critically important bipartisan support to address serious concerns with China’s behavior.”

A signed copy of the letter is available here. The full text is below.

April 27, 2021

The Honorable Katherine C. Tai
United States Trade Representative
Office of the United State Trade Representative
600 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20508

Dear Ambassador Tai:

We write today to express strong support for the establishment of a new exclusion process to allow U.S. importers to request relief from the Section 301 tariffs on imports from China. While we strongly support tough and effective action to address China’s unfair trade practices, we believe that there must be a meaningful opportunity for American companies to petition for relief from tariffs. We appreciate USTR’s recent extension of tariff exclusions for COVID-19-related products. However, we feel that the current exclusions are insufficient to provide the badly needed relief for businesses and workers struggling with the unprecedented economic hardship caused by the pandemic. A new exclusion process would provide support to domestic businesses and their workers as many of the products facing the Section 301 tariffs are critical inputs for U.S. supply chains and manufacturing plants that have sustained U.S. jobs through this crisis. Such a process would also provide American businesses across a variety of industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, fishing, retail, energy, technology, and services, with the opportunity to petition for exclusions consistent with U.S. economic and foreign policy interests.

In the midst of our constituents’ struggle with COVID-19, American producers, employers, workers, and communities have suffered an additional economic burden: the section 301 tariffs. The lapse of critical exclusions, many of which expired on December 31, 2020, handed many businesses and their workers a significant bill while budgets were already tight. We all agree that we need to execute a bold, strategic plan to hold China accountable for its unfair trade practices, while encouraging businesses to manufacture and operate in the United States. However, while we strategically and comprehensively engage with China, including through tough enforcement, we must also support good-paying jobs in the United States. Many U.S. companies are eager to move supply chains out of China for a variety of reasons and began seeking reliable alternative suppliers over the last several years. However, in many instances those efforts were crippled by travel disruptions and global economic turmoil prompted by COVID-19, particularly for smaller U.S. businesses that do not have a global footprint. U.S. employers need more time to adapt.

Further, re-establishing an exclusion process would be consistent with a congressional directive in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (P.L. 116-6) requiring such a process be established. While one was eventually established, many of the same workers and businesses who were successful in getting relief now find themselves with no avenues of recourse, leaving them at a competitive disadvantage despite already having demonstrated the need for relief.

To support American families, we once again urge USTR to create a pathway for targeted relief from Section 301 tariffs. In our opinion, that process should include a streamlined process for stakeholders to seek relief, including expedited procedures for those who had been granted exclusions in the past. Additionally, in our opinion that process should be transparent, consistently applied, based on facts, including how Section 301 tariffs are applied to businesses, workers and communities, and administered in a way that would not undermine the broader and critically important bipartisan support to address serious concerns with China’s behavior.

Regarding this important matter, we thank you for your full and fair consideration consistent with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

Sincerely,

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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Walorski Helps Reintroduce Return to Work Bonus Legislation After Hosting Roundtable with Main Street Job Creators

Walorski Helps Reintroduce Return to Work Bonus Legislation After Hosting Roundtable with Main Street Job Creators

Discussion on Reopening America Included Hoosier Small Business Owner Struggling to Hire Workers Needed for Recovery

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today joined Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Kevin Brady (R-Texas) in reintroducing legislation to help businesses rebuild their workforce by turning enhanced unemployment benefits into a return-to-work bonus. As the top Republican on the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee, Walorski earlier this week hosted a roundtable discussion with Main Street job creators on challenges they face in hiring the workers they need.

“Last spring, increased unemployment benefits played an important role in helping those who lost a job and – at the time – made sense as a way to reduce the economic impact of stay-at-home orders while businesses were closed,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “More than a year later, we are facing a much different situation. The U.S. economy is on the brink of a strong recovery, and Main Street businesses shouldn’t have to compete with federal unemployment benefits for workers. To rebuild our economy, we need to make sure temporary job losses don’t turn into permanent ones. As safe and effective vaccines roll out and states roll back restrictions on businesses, now is the time to reconnect workers with jobs.”

The virtual roundtable held on Wednesday featured nine Main Street job creators from across America, including Mark Owens from Argos, Ind., who has struggled to hire the workers necessary to rebuild and grow his small business. Owens is the owner of a USA Insulation franchise that serves North Central Indiana and employs six workers. He also farms 8,000 hogs and manages five semi-trucks that haul products around the country.

“We are short on workers, and I think this has a direct impact from the stimulus package and unemployment that’s out there,” Owens said. “The inability to hire people has put a burden on our business. It’s been quite the burden to have all these tools on hand and not be able to put people in the seats because nobody wants to come and work. We are fighting, today, to keep our businesses alive.”

Video of the full roundtable can be found here.

The partisan, $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act recently signed into law extended supplemental unemployment benefits of $300 per week until September 6th. The American Action Forum estimates nearly 40 percent of workers could make more on unemployment at this level than they would earn by returning to work.

According to Holly Wade, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses Research Center, businesses are having trouble filling available jobs across the country. “Job openings in February reached an all-time record high for our survey, as 40 percent of small firms have an open position that they aren’t able to currently fill,” Wade said.

The Reopening America by Supporting Workers and Businesses Act of 2021, reintroduced by Brady, Walorski, and 13 other original cosponsors, would allow states to turn enhanced unemployment benefits into a one-time return-to-work bonus of either $1,200 or $600. It would also provide support for reemployment services for laid-off workers and reinstate the federal requirement that those receiving unemployment be engaged in actively searching for a job. Walorski cosponsored similar legislation last Congress.

The Reopening America by Supporting Workers and Businesses Act would:

  • Allow states to make a one-time payment of either $1,200 (full-time) or $600 (part-time) to unemployed workers who return to work prior to July 1st. The bonus would require verification of hours and earnings by the individual’s employer.
  • Provide additional support for laid off workers by accelerating a scheduled increase in funding for Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments (RESEA) and expanding the pool of eligible workers.
  • Reinstate the federal work search requirement for individuals receiving unemployment benefits. Last March, when many businesses were closed by government orders, Congress provided flexibility for states to waive this requirement, and waivers remain in place in 32 states.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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Walorski Applauds $4 Million Workforce Development Grant for Wabash County

Walorski Applauds $4 Million Workforce Development Grant for Wabash County

U.S. Department of Commerce Investment in Heartland Career Center Will Expand Career Training in Health Care, Advanced Manufacturing

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to expand the Heartland Career Center in Wabash County. The investment will establish a new facility to provide adult career training in health care and advanced manufacturing.

“Indiana is in a strong position to rebuild our economy because the Hoosier workforce is second to none,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “This investment in career training in Wabash County will open new opportunities in good-paying health care and advanced manufacturing jobs for Hoosier workers and drive new investment in our communities. I was honored to work with Heartland Career Center to ensure this grant was awarded where it will make a real difference in people’s lives, and I look forward to continuing to work together to renew the American Dream.”

BACKGROUND

According to the Commerce Department, which announced the grant on Monday, the funding will be matched with $1 million in local funds to help create or retain nearly 150 jobs and spur private investment in a nearby Opportunity Zone. Created under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Congress passed and President Trump signed into law in 2017, Opportunity Zones drive private investment toward economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Introduces Bill to Double R&D Tax Credit

Walorski Introduces Bill to Double R&D Tax Credit

Legislation Would Boost Investment in Innovation, Expand Access to Tax Credit for Small Business Startups

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today introduced legislation to double the R&D tax credit and allow more small business startups to access the credit.

“America’s recovery from the unprecedented crisis we are facing will be driven by our innovative and entrepreneurial spirit,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Doubling the R&D tax credit will encourage companies – especially small businesses and startups – to invest more in research and development that will unleash economic growth and prosperity. This commonsense measure will go a long way toward keeping America ahead of our global competitors and ensuring we continue to lead the world in scientific discoveries, technological breakthroughs, and cutting-edge manufacturing.”

“America can be the world leader in innovation if we focus on economic growth and making the U.S. medically independent. We have an agenda for a healthy American economy, and it starts with bringing manufacturing back to the United States–particularly on the very medical supplies and drugs we need today,” Ways and Means GOP Leader Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said. “America is going to harness innovation to cure coronavirus, return drug manufacturing to the United States, and make America healthy again. I want to thank Rep. Walorski for her leadership on this bill.”

BACKGROUND 

H.R. 7766 would double the rate for each of the options businesses have to access the research and development (R&D) tax credit.

  • Double the “Traditional” Credit to 40 Percent: For more established companies, the existing traditional credit rate – which uses a complicated formula – would double from 20 percent to 40 percent of the increase in R&D spending.
  • Double the Alternative Simplified Credit (ASC) to 28 Percent: The existing ASC rate – which uses a simpler formula – would double from 14 percent to 28 percent of the increase in R&D spending.
  • More than Double the Credit for Firms with Little Research History to 14 Percent: For companies with no history of U.S. research in the past three years, the credit would more than double from 6 percent to 14 percent of R&D spending. (The current rate would have been 7 percent if not for a prior drafting error.)
  • Double the Startup Limit to $500,000: Companies with relatively low income in the past five years can take one of the above credits as a credit against Social Security payroll taxes. The limit on the amount they may claim would double from $250,000 to $500,000.

This proposal is supported by the National Association of Manufacturers.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski: Great American Outdoors Act Will Boost RV and Boat Manufacturing, Protect Natural Resources

Walorski: Great American Outdoors Act Will Boost RV and Boat Manufacturing, Protect Natural Resources

Bipartisan Legislation Will Revitalize National Parks, Enhance Access to Public Lands, Strengthen Outdoor Recreation Industry

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today voted for the Great American Outdoors Act, bipartisan legislation that will revitalize our national parks, strengthen conservation efforts, support RV and boat manufacturers, and create Hoosier jobs.

“Our nation’s public lands have long been treasured sources of respite, enjoyment, and beauty available to every American, and they play a critical role in our economy,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Hardworking Hoosiers know that better than anyone: manufacturers in northern Indiana build made-in-America outdoor recreation products, including 80 percent of the nation’s RVs. The Great American Outdoors Act will support RV and boat manufacturers and their workers, promote conservation, and revitalize our national parks so Americans can enjoy them for generations to come.”

Video of Walorski speaking on the House floor in support of the legislation is available here.

The House passed the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1957, the Great American Outdoors Act, by a bipartisan vote of 310 to 107. The bill now heads to the president’s desk for his signature. President Trump has expressed support for the legislation.

Walorski last week authored a guest post for the RV Industry Association in support of the Great American Outdoors Act.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski, Peterson Introduce Bill to Extend China Tariff Exclusions

Walorski, Peterson Introduce Bill to Extend China Tariff Exclusions

Measure Would Grant U.S. Businesses One-Year Renewal of Existing Product Exclusions from Section 301 Tariffs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to provide American businesses another year of relief from Section 301 tariffs by extending product exclusions currently in effect.

“China has a long record of unfair trade practices, and we need to continue holding them accountable while at the same time protecting American farmers, manufacturers, workers, and families,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “The product exclusion process has brought much-needed relief to those paying the cost of tariffs, but many U.S. companies will face serious economic harm if their exclusions are not renewed before they expire. Extending these exclusions for another year is a commonsense way to provide businesses with the long-term certainty they need, especially during the coronavirus crisis.”

“Minnesota manufacturers have been weathering all sorts of disruptions to their business over the past year,” Congressman Peterson said. “We need to do all we can to offer them some flexibility to stay competitive with foreign manufacturers. This effort to extend China tariff exclusions will put manufacturers in a better position to continue to recover and rebuild by extending needed tariff relief.”

BACKGROUND

H.R. 7665 would extend for one year any Section 301 tariff product exclusions currently in effect, unless the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) finds the product is strategically important or related to “Made in China 2025” or other Chinese industrial programs and extending the exclusion would cause severe harm to the United States. In such cases, USTR would be required to provide detailed justification of the determination.

The bill text is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on USMCA Entry Into Force

Walorski Statement on USMCA Entry Into Force

Deal to Modernize North American Trade Dismantles Barriers for Manufacturers and Farmers, Levels Playing Field for American Workers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) entered into force:

“America is facing unprecedented challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, but our nation is resilient and our economy is safely reopening. With USMCA entering into force today, we are now in an even better position to recover and rebuild. President Trump’s deal to modernize North American trade will dismantle barriers for Hoosier manufacturers and farmers, level the playing field for our workers, and expand markets for made-in-America exports. This is a major victory for the American people.”

BACKGROUND

USMCA replaces the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with a modernized, improved set of rules for trade with Canada and Mexico. The new agreement:

  • Includes a new chapter on digital trade that sets a global standard to ensure American innovators and e-commerce businesses can compete fairly;
  • Expands exports of agricultural commodities, including soybeans, corn, and pork;
  • Opens access to the Canadian market for American farmers to sell dairy, poultry, and eggs;
  • Streamlines customs procedures in order to reduce inefficiencies and get American products to market faster;
  • Levels the playing field for American workers by requiring Mexico to overhaul its labor system; and
  • Ensures the U.S. can hold Mexico and Canada accountable through strong enforcement mechanisms.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski: Back-to-Work Bonus Could Help American Workers, Boost Economic Recovery

Walorski: Back-to-Work Bonus Could Help American Workers, Boost Economic Recovery

Calls for Bipartisan Proposals to Support Safe Reopening, Incentivize Return to Work

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) this week called for bipartisan proposals to support safely reopening our economy and to incentivize Americans who return to work, such as replacing temporary supplemental unemployment benefits with a back-to-work bonus.

“Businesses are reopening and rehiring, and they shouldn’t have to compete with a temporary government benefit,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “That’s why Ways and Means Ranking Member Brady and myself have supported looking at a back-to-work bonus proposal that would make work pay by allowing workers to keep up to two weeks’ worth of that additional benefit after accepting a job, essentially amounting to a $1,200 hiring bonus.”

Walorski is a cosponsor of the Reopening America by Supporting Workers and Businesses Act, which would turn temporary supplemental unemployment benefits into a back-to-work bonus. Workers would be allowed to keep up to two weeks of the benefit after accepting a job, comparable to a $1,200 hiring bonus.

Video of Congresswoman Walorski speaking at Thursday’s hearing of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis can be found here, and her remarks as prepared for delivery are below.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thanks to our witnesses for being here.

“The CARES Act provided $600 per week in temporary supplemental unemployment benefits to support public health by allowing businesses and workers to get through closures and stay-at-home orders and to flatten the curve. This was a necessary step back in March. But if we want a V-shaped recovery as states and cities safely reopen, we need to take a different tack on this benefit so that it doesn’t inadvertently disincentivize people from returning to work.

“For instance, in my home state of Indiana, workers receiving the $600 federal supplement would be getting about three times as much as they otherwise would on unemployment. Factor in the comparatively low cost of living in my district, and in many cases a worker would make more on unemployment than they would if they returned to work. In fact, the University of Chicago estimates that over two-thirds of unemployment insurance recipients nationwide are in this situation, and that over 20 percent are receiving double their salary.

“I want to be clear: I have no issue with any worker who took this benefit. Congress made it available at a time when much of the economy was going to be shut down for an undetermined amount of time. That additional benefit helped workers pay rent, put food on the table, and have peace of mind as they found themselves unemployed or furloughed through no fault of their own.

“But now businesses are reopening and rehiring and shouldn’t have to compete with a temporary government benefit. That’s why Ways and Means Ranking Member Brady and myself have supported looking at a back to work bonus proposal that would make work pay by allowing workers to keep up to two weeks’ worth of that additional benefit after accepting a job, essentially amounting to a $1,200 hiring bonus. We also want to make sure that states provide clear notice to unemployment claimants about return to work obligations and good cause exceptions.

“This is a better policy than the Democrats’ partisan bill, the HEROES Act, which would extend the $600 work disincentive through January 2021. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said that doing this would weaken incentives to work, decrease economic output, and decrease employment. In short, it would kill our economic recovery.

“Another misguided policy in the partisan HEROES Act is restoring unlimited deductions for State and Local Taxes, or SALT. The non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation has found that only 1 percent of the benefits of this policy would go to those making less than $100,000 a year. Instead, over half of the projected benefits would go to those with annual incomes of $1 million or more. This does nothing to rebuild our economy. It gives the wealthiest a whole cake, while the middle class is stuck with crumbs.

“Tax experts on the left and right agree that restoring an unlimited SALT deduction is bad policy. Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Furman, who is with us today, reportedly said restoring SALT was a “waste of money” that would not help economic recovery.

“As we climb out of this crisis, we need serious, substantive, bipartisan proposals that incentivize people to get people back to work and rebuild our economy, not bloated, partisan bills that disincentivize work and provide giveaways to the rich.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on May Jobs Report

Walorski Statement on May Jobs Report

Unexpected Gain of 2.5 Million Jobs Shows Positive Signs for Economic Recovery

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement on the Department of Labor’s May jobs report, which showed an increase of 2.5 million jobs last month:

“The latest jobs report is great news for Hoosier workers and a positive first step as we begin to safely reopen and rebuild our economy. Recovering from this unprecedented public health and economic crisis will not be easy, but I know our workers, small businesses, manufacturers, and farmers are up to the task. I look forward to working with my colleagues and President Trump to continue building on the success of emergency relief measures like the Paycheck Protection Program and get Americans safely back to work.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski, Kind Introduce Bipartisan Fix to Ensure Dependents Receive Coronavirus Relief Payments

Walorski, Kind Introduce Bipartisan Fix to Ensure Dependents Receive Coronavirus Relief Payments

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) today introduced legislation to ensure college students and adult dependents are eligible to receive federal relief funding in the form of direct payments. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, most families will receive an economic stimulus payment of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. However, no credit is available for dependents older than 16, meaning that many college students and other dependent adults, such as those with disabilities who are cared for by a family member, are not eligible for relief. This legislative fix will allow thousands of Hoosiers who were previously excluded, to receive direct economic impact payments.

“Coronavirus relief payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per eligible child are already helping workers, families, and seniors get through this unprecedented crisis,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “However, I believe it’s only fair to include all adult dependents – not just children under the age of 17 – in families’ direct payments. Providing these extra payments to parents with college-aged children, grandparents raising grandchildren, and families caring for a disabled relative is a commonsense way to get assistance to those who need it.”

“With so many experiencing economic hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure all Wisconsinites receive the support they need,” said Rep. Kind. “College students’ lives were particularly uprooted by this crisis, often losing not only their homes but in many cases jobs as well. These students, those with disabilities, and their families cannot be left without a financial lifeline during these challenging times. This legislation will fill in gaps in the CARES Act by expanding eligibility for economic impact payments and take an important step towards providing further relief.”

The bill text is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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