Jobs & the Economy
My number one priority in Congress is to invest in the foundation of long-term economic growth that creates jobs and opportunity in the Pacific Northwest by increasing at-home manufacturing, innovation, and investments in our infrastructure. I am working to make sure people have access to more good-paying jobs and more skills training to succeed in the workforce. I champion bills that will improve our country’s transportation infrastructure and make sure businesses can get their goods to market. I also advocate for investments in education so the next generation of workers is prepared to succeed in the jobs of the future.
Supporting small businesses is a key way I am working to grow our state’s economy, as well as helping our businesses find new markets for their goods overseas. Exports from Northwest Washington create jobs and connect us to the rest of the world. About 40 percent of jobs in Washington are tied to trade, and the pay for these jobs is between 13 percent and 18 percent higher than average. I established a District Export Promotion Program to help link small businesses with local, state, and federal resources that help companies sell their products to other countries. And I am a champion of the State Trade and Export Promotion program to help our small businesses create jobs here at home by selling their goods overseas.
Even as our economy recovers from the recession, not all are sharing in the benefits of economic growth. This is why I support efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour and tie future adjustments to the median hourly wage. Families with parents working full-time should not be living below the poverty line. And our economy will be stronger when women get equal pay for equal work, which is why I support a bill to make pay disparities based on gender illegal.
Helping Businesses Expand to New Markets
- Championed the State Trade and Export Promotion program (STEP) to help small businesses create jobs here at home by selling their goods overseas.
o The trade enforcement bill that Congress passed in 2016 included $30 million annually for STEP for five years, a provision I pushed for.
o Introduced a bill to make the STEP program permanent.
- Worked successfully to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. The bank provides critical financing to help businesses of all sizes sell their goods overseas. Since 2007, the bank has supported more than $78 billion in exports in Washington’s Second District.
- Passed a bill to help small- and medium-sized businesses grow by equipping them with tools to compete for federal, state and local government contracts through Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs), and continue to push for increased funding for the program.
- Supported funding for National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The program works with small and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers to help them create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money.
Supporting Skills Training for Workers
- Supported local programs such as the Regional Innovation Program, Job Corps and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, connecting businesses and workers with the funding and training they need to succeed.
- Cosponsored the Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act to accelerate skills training for veterans seeking to work in the manufacturing industry.
- Push for increased funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which is the main federal funding source for Career & Technical Education (CTE). This program provides education and training to more than 14 million students and displaced workers and addresses the skills gap by providing the retraining adults need to access the jobs that are available in today’s market.
Fighting Income Inequality and Workplace Discrimination
- Cosponsored the Raise the Wage Act, to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020 and tie future increases to the median hourly wage.
- Fought employee discrimination by cosponsoring bills to make the workplace more fair, including the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Employee Protection Act.
- Cosponsored Schedules that Work Act, which allows low-wage workers to request for predictability and flexibility of their schedules without retaliation.
- Cosponsored the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to help end discrimination against pregnant women and mothers in the workplace.