Senator Shelby's "Holds" Show Need For National Industrial Policy

Sen. Shelby's filibusters show why we need a national industrial policy. Currently, members of Congress are forced to do things like this to try to keep manufacturing in their district or state.
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Shelby is frustrated over the Pentagon's bidding process for air-to-air refueling tankers, which could lead to the creation of jobs in Mobile, Ala.

Over at firedoglake, emptywheel writes,

The key issue is that Shelby wants the Air Force to tweak an RFP for refueling tankers so that Airbus (partnered with Northrup Grumman) would win the bid again over Boeing. ... Airbus calculated that it would not win the new bid, and started complaining.

Essentially, then, Shelby's threat is primarily about gaming this bidding process to make sure Airbus-and not Boeing-wins the contract (... this is the truly huge potential bounty for his state).

... But underlying the refueling contract is the question of whether the US military ought to spend what may amount to $100 billion over the life of the contract with a foreign company, Airbus. Particularly a company that the WTO found preliminarily to be illegally benefiting from subsidies from European governments.

$100 billion contract to build air to air tankers -- that's a lot of jobs and lots of them in Alabama.

This shows why we need a national industrial policy. The country has no policy to promote jobs and manufacturing so members of Congress are forced to do things like this to try to keep manufacturing in their district or state - competing with every other district or state. And in this case, even fighting to lose the contract for an American company!

Senator Shelby is fighting for jobs in his state, because the country is not. It is time for a coordinated national economic/industrial strategy -- just like every other country has -- so we're all working together instead of fighting over the scraps that are left behind.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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