Sherrod Brown proposes $3,500 discount on U.S.-made cars, tax hike on automakers’ foreign profits

Sen. Sherrod Brown speaks at a press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at the United Steelworkers Local 979 union hall in Cleveland.
Sen. Sherrod Brown speaks at a press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at the United Steelworkers Local 979 union hall in Cleveland.  (Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland.com)

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Sen. Sherrod Brown wants the federal government to give a $3,500 discount to buyers of American-made cars and trucks, under legislation he introduced last week.

The price cut would be paid for by doubling the tax rate on foreign profits from some auto companies to 21 percent, the full U.S. corporate tax rate. The 21 percent corporate tax rate, and the lower rate on foreign corporate profits, both were part of the sweeping GOP congressional tax plan President Donald Trump signed last December.

On Tuesday, Brown pitched his bill as a way to unwind some of the economic forces that led General Motors in June to lay off 600 workers at a plant in Lordstown, near Youngstown. The layoff, which eliminated the plant’s second shift, went into effect the same day the company announced it would build a new assembly plant in Mexico to make the Chevy Blazer, an SUV.

“I contend that if this bill were law right now, I don’t think GM would be going to Mexico to make its Chevy Blazer and build a new plant,” Brown said. “I contend they’d re-tool the plant in Lordstown or elsewhere, and make the Chevy Blazer here.”

Brown, a Democrat, is being challenged in the November election by Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, of Wadsworth. Brown’s proposed legislation is targeted at an issue important to some of the blue-collar areas that voted for Trump in the 2016 election, and that Brown now is courting for support.

In a statement, Renacci campaign spokeswoman Leslie Shedd called Brown’s legislation, which stands little chance of passing in the GOP-controlled Congress, a “campaign stunt.”

“It’s no surprise that liberal career politician Sherrod Brown is pretending he cares about Ohio’s auto workers in an election year – that’s what career politicians do,” Shedd said. “But for the last 25 years in Congress, Brown has consistently voted for job killing regulations, including supporting dramatic EPA overreach that directly hurts Ohio’s auto workers. Campaign stunts like this don’t actually help Ohioans.”

Brown’s proposed program would be voluntary for auto dealers, and the $3,500 discount would be applied through government vouchers.

Auto industry analysts say the Lordstown plant is in danger of closing, having lost two of its three shifts, totaling 3,000 jobs, since the beginning of last year. The plant manufactures the compact Chevy Cruze, demand for which is lagging compared to GM’s trucks and SUVs. Potentially complicating GM’s decision whether to close the plant is the possibility that Trump may retaliate by following through on his campaign pledge to impose a 25 percent tariff on autos imported from Canada and Mexico.

“I support the president’s idea on these tariffs… I think we need to do them in a way that works. It’s too early to tell, because they [the Trump administration] kind of keep changing on where they’re going,” Brown said.

Among those who joined Brown on Tuesday were Dan Boone, the president of the United Steelworkers union chapter that represents workers at the ArcelorMittal plant in Cleveland, Mark Payne, the president of the United Auto Workers chapter that represents workers at the Brook Park Ford engine plant and Brook Park Mayor Mike Gammella, a former UAW local chapter president.

In an interview, Boone said many of the 1,400 steelworkers his union represents supported Trump because of his rhetoric on trade. Payne compared Trump to a persuasive salesman who co-opted an approach used by Brown and other Democrats, but who hasn’t necessarily followed through.

“I would say something like 40 percent of our members supported President Trump,”Boone said. “But I would say they voted for him based on what he said.”

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Tell Betsy DeVos: Our Students Deserve Better by Sherrod Brown

By: Team Sherrod

“Betsy DeVos proposes rules that would cut student loan relief by an estimated $13 billion”
LA Times; 7/25/2018

A college education is already too expensive for many students. Every year, many students graduate with debilitating debt, causing them to put off life goals.

Now, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is trying to make it even harder for college graduates to succeed.

DeVos is proposing a rule that will make it harder for people to gain relief after they’re hit with massive student loans. It’s a move that lines the pockets of for-profit college executives at the expense of hardworking students. She’s putting profits ahead of our students’ educations. Join me and tell DeVos: Students deserve better.

Students are already struggling to afford the cost of tuition and living in college. New studies show that around 40% of students work in addition to attending school. About one in four are parents. Many struggle to even afford adequate nutrition. And even though costs and fees keep rising, financial aid has not kept pace.

A college education is practically necessary in today’s global economy. Any student with college ambitions should be able to afford it — without struggling with overwhelming debt.

Betsy DeVos is supposed to be working for our students, not special interests. But right now, it’s the other way around. Help me remind her where her priorities should lie. If you agree that our students deserve better, add your name to mine right now.

With gratitude,

Sherrod

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Fighting like hell for American Workers, Sherrod Brown

Fighting like hell for American Workers

News

By: Team Sherrod

We need policies that serve the American workers and their families. I’m not talking about the tax “reform” plan forced into law earlier this year.

I’m talking about real solutions that will keep jobs and companies in the United States. I’m talking about a plan that goes beyond giving a huge tax cut to billionaires and will benefit you and your neighbors.

Workers deserve better than outsourcing, low wages, and poor working conditions. That’s why I’m fighting like hell, and why I need you to join me.

With gratitude,

Sherrod

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Bring it on Renacci: Sherrod Brown announces a $9.8M bankroll

By Jessica Wehrman
Dispatch Washington Bureau
Posted Jan 10, 2018 at 5:59 PM Updated Jan 11, 2018 at 6:00 AM

Sen. Sherrod Brown raised more than $2.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 and entered this year with $9.8 million in the bank, his campaign announced Wednesday.

Brown, an Ohio Democrat seeking his third term in the U.S. Senate, currently faces Republican Mike Gibbons. Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, once considered the front-runner among Republicans, dropped out of the race last week, citing his wife’s health problems. U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, is expected to announce his bid for the seat Thursday, while “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance also is considering a run.

Brown’s campaign said Brown had his best off-year of fundraising ever and said 113,806 individual donors gave an average contribution of $44 to his campaign.

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