Economy & Jobs
More on Economy & Jobs
August 13, 2017 Op-Ed
Last February, President Donald Trump convened a group of manufacturing CEOs at the White House to discuss his administration’s idea of growing American jobs by imposing a border adjusted tax (BAT). As reported the next day, the BAT received lukewarm support at best, and unexpectedly, the CEOs instead pivoted the meeting toward the critical need to close the so-called skills gap preventing companies from filling high quality jobs with highly trained workers. Indeed, the next day, a national newspaper’s headline read: “Factory CEOs to Trump, ‘Jobs Exist, Skills Don’t.’” Fast forward to the present: The BAT was declared dead by congressional leadership at the end of July, but the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 6.2 million job openings exist across the country, one of the highest levels on record.
“Back in February, America’s manufacturing employers told the White House if you want to fix the economy then fix the skills gap. A newspaper headline the following morning said it in a nutshell: ‘jobs exist; skills don’t’,” said Courtney. “The GOP budget passed out of committee last Wednesday willfully ignores that message by eliminating and or butchering job training programs that have a proven track record of success. For Connecticut, these cuts to apprenticeships programs could not come at a worse time. Our state is finally experiencing job growth and new opportunities are being created through increased investment in aerospace, shipbuilding, and healthcare - all of which require a high-skilled workforce."
July 14, 2017 Press Release
“Connecticut Sea Grant is a critical federal program that has aided local fishermen, shellfish farmers, and maritime conservation efforts in Long Island Sound for fifty years,” said Courtney. “Whether it’s jumpstarting a fishery or connecting aquaculture producers to local communities, Sea Grant is a vital part of eastern Connecticut’s maritime economy. I am very glad that House Appropriations Committee recognized how important Sea Grant is for aquaculture efforts across the country and reversed the president’s misguided attempt to eliminate the program.”
June 27, 2017 Press Release
“Connecticut Sea Grant has aided local fishermen, shellfish farmers, and maritime conservation efforts in Long Island sound for fifty years,” said Courtney. “Whether it’s jumpstarting a local fishery or connecting local aquaculture producers to local communities, Sea Grant is a vital part of our region’s maritime economy. I am very glad that we were able to secure this funding to help CTSG’s research and education efforts.”
May 23, 2017 Press Release
“While Donald Trump built his campaign message around standing up for middle class and working class families, the draft budget he released today clearly shows that he is intent on doing the opposite,” said Courtney. “The budget he proposed today would make unprecedented cuts to public education and after school programs, undermine higher education affordability, decimates USDA Rural Development funding that is vital for infrastructure improvements in eastern Connecticut, cuts job training funds which are helping to close the skills gap in manufacturing, and most appalling, eliminates thousands of medical research grants at the National Institute of Health aimed at curing a wide range of illness and disease. If the framework the President proposed today were ever to become law, it would deliver a devastating blow to our economy and working families across this country.
“A college education is one of the most valuable investments a family can make but rising costs often make it difficult for students to attend without borrowing enormous amounts of debt,” said Courtney. “Compounding the issue for families is the fact that student loans often come with higher interest rates than mortgages, car loans, and other forms of consumer lending which can be refinanced. This bill will help ease the burden of student debt by finally allowing undergraduate borrowers to refinance their loans and take advantage of today’s new lower rates. Student debt hinders our economy because it delays or prevents borrowers from making other major investments including purchasing a home, starting a business, or simply saving for retirement. A college degree has become a critical part of securing a good-paying career and that is why keeping college affordable must be a top priority in Washington. I will continue to work to keep the dream of college within reach for Connecticut families.”
May 3, 2017 Press Release
“While this should have been finalized last year, I am pleased that members from both sides of the aisle finally came together to pass a fair and bipartisan spending bill to close out the fiscal year,” said Courtney. “The bill that passed today is good news for Connecticut’s defense industry and our economy as a whole. It contains funding for all of Connecticut’s top-defense manufacturing priorities, including $85 million in advanced procurement funding for Virginia-class submarines produced at Electric Boat. Additionally, despite the Trump administration’s directives to cut funding for domestic priorities such as the National Institutes of Health, Meals on Wheels, SeaGrant, and after school programs, Republicans joined with Democrats in rejecting those harmful cuts. There is little doubt that many of the domestic priorities that Americans rely on will come under attack again during future budget negations with the White House, but I hope the bipartisan framework passed in the House today can serve as a model as we begin to get a very late start on the 2018 budget.”
“With imported seafood making up 90% of American seafood consumption, our nation should be focusing on programs to expand and improve our domestic aquaculture industry,” wrote the members. “Sea Grant is a program that does just that- helping fishermen and shellfish farmers navigate a complex patchwork of state and federal coastal zone management regulations through technical assistance. Sea Grant works with local producers to grow and sustain their business models while connecting them to local resources to share best practices.”
“Today is the seven-year anniversary of the devastating 2010 Kleen Energy Plant explosion in Middletown, Connecticut that cost six workers their lives, including my friend Ron Crabb, and injured dozens more.” said Courtney. “As the 2010 incident in Middletown and the catastrophic explosion in 2013 at the West Fertilizer plant in Texas demonstrate, the benefits of ensuring a safe and healthy workplace are not just confined to the facility’s property - local communities also have a major stake in the safety of these workplaces. Since OSHA was first created, great strides have been made in protecting American workers, but too many workers are injured, falling ill, or even killed when working in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. We need to make sure OSHA can continue its vital mission to protect America’s workers so that moms and dads across this country will safely return home to their families after a hard day’s work.”
January 10, 2017 Press Release
“Today’s action by OSHA sends a clear signal to the 15 million people working in the health care sector that the federal government is focused on providing a safe and secure workplace for them,” said Courtney. “We have known for some time that our health care workers face unique challenges and risks to their personal safety, and I urge the incoming administration to continue to press for stronger protections and safety standards for this sector.”