A key lawmaker reacted in disbelief Tuesday when a Biden cabinet official said the climate change agenda took priority over the livelihoods of blue collar workers because “there’s a lot of jobs.”
The exchange between Sen. Josh Hawley, (R-MO), and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland came Tuesday as Hawley noted that manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for the electric vehicles being pushed by the Biden Administration causes environmental damage. When a stumped Haaland admitted she didn’t know China was the world’s leading producer of refined lithium and cobalt, and chief exporter of graphite to the U.S., Hawley said dependence on an adversary for such electric car components posed a threat to the U.S.
“Your decision to trade off our energy security in favor of a radical climate change agenda is making us more and more dependent on China,” Hawley said. “And at the same time you are denying mining, blocking mining, blocking permits for mines in this country that would allow us to develop nickel and copper and cobalt. Why? Why block the development of these resources in our own nation in favor of making us dependent on China?”
Earlier this year, the Biden Administration banned mining across 225,504 acres near Duluth, Minnesota. Haaland asked if Hawley was referring to the Boundary Waters that lie near the Twin Metals mine in northeast Minnesota, commenting that they were an “iconic place, of course, a very valuable ecological system to many plants, animals, species.”
“Jobs for blue collar workers in this nation are valuable resources,” Hawley replied. “The livelihood and well-being of American families are valuable resources. The ability of America to have our own industry and not be dependent on China is a valuable resource. Why should those things for millions of Americans be sacrificed in favor of your agenda for radical climate change?”
“Senator, I know that there’s like 1.9 jobs for every American in the country right now. So, I know there’s a lot of jobs,” Haaland replied.
“Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. … You’re telling me we’ve got too many jobs in the country?” Hawley asked.
“Well, I’m saying that we don’t have enough people,” Haaland answered. “That’s why we are having a hard time finding folks to work at our department.”
“You’re telling me that we have too many jobs for blue collar workers?” Hawley shot back. “Have you seen the number of jobs we have lost in this country to China in the last 20 years? Do you know where those jobs come from? Over three million jobs have gone to China. Do you know where those jobs have come from? They’ve come out of Midwestern towns like the ones I represent. They are blue collar workers, and you’re sitting here and telling me that we have too many jobs in this country? Are you serious?”
Hawley accused the Biden administration of dismissing blue-collar workers while pursuing a dubious environmental policy.
“Trading off American energy security in favor of your radical climate change agenda, shutting down good-paying jobs in our energy sector and then saying we’ve got plenty of jobs in this country I think is the most, potentially — and this is quite a high bar, I might add — the most unbelievable statement I have heard from a member of this administration maybe in my time in the Senate,” Hawley said.