Jobs and Economy
Pete’s number one priority is creating jobs for the hardworking people of Northwest Indiana. Pete knows that there is still a great deal that needs to be done in order to put people back to work, and he believes that task begins by revitalizing and reinvesting in Northwest Indiana’s economy.
Raising the Minimum Wage
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in Indiana, over 108,000 workers are making at or below the federal minimum wage. That is why Pete is an original cosponsor of H.R. 1010, the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over three years. The measure would then require the federal minimum wage to be indexed for inflation each year thereafter and increase the required cash wage for tipped workers by 85 cents each year, until that wage is 70 percent of the regular federal minimum wage.
As nearly three-quarters of minimum wage workers in Indiana are women, increasing the minimum wage is also of particular importance to advancing women’s equality. Specifically, there are 55,000 individuals in the First Congressional District of Indiana that would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10, including 33,000 working women.
Advancing Buy America
Pete understands that Buy American policies create jobs in Northwest Indiana and across America. That is why Pete pushed the Department of Defense to use American-made steel in its procurements. Pete is proud that the agency heeded his request and, in April of 2013, announced a decision to require made-in-America steel armor plates for our troops. This will ensure that our fighting men and women are kept safe in the field of battle by the best products available, made right here at home.
Preventing Unfair Trade Agreements
Pete fights to ensure that our trade negotiations do not lead to the loss of jobs in Northwest Indiana. For example, in 2011, Pete opposed the trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, because he believed that these agreements included inadequate provisions related to labor standards and the environment, and that they will cause long-term harm to our economy. Most recently, Pete joined 151 other members of Congress in signing a letter to President Obama that urged him to consult with Congress on any negotiations related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Pete knows how essential fair trade practices are to the manufacturing economy of Northwest Indiana, and will continue to advocate on behalf of the region’s industry in trade related matters.
Investing in Infrastructure
The United States has crumbling infrastructure and it has to start rebuilding. From water treatment facilities to roads, bridges, airports, and ports, America needs renovating. The American Society of Civil Engineers has indicated that it would cost about $2.2 trillion to bring America’s infrastructure up to good working order. In the State of Indiana alone, more than 1 in 5 bridges—a total of 4,091—are labeled either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. It is by reinvesting in its physical infrastructure that the United States can begin on the road to economic recovery and fiscal health.