Energy Sec. Granholm: Infrastructure Bill Vital for U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm speaks during a daily press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House April 8, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Thursday, 08 April 2021 02:52 PM
President Joe Biden has been saying he wants to see compromise on his $2.5 trillion infrastructure bill so that it can be passed as a bipartisan measure, but at the same time, there are elements in the bill that have been voted for in past measures including the Energy Act passed in late 2020, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Thursday
"Who doesn't want America to create the supply chains for our own energy security?" Granholm said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "To have manufacturing in this country? Who doesn't want to have a safe electric grid? Who doesn't want to make sure that we are building the technologies of the future and not allowing our economic competitors to eat us for lunch?"
There is so much in the bill to like, she added, and she hopes people "don't take positional arguments" against it, considering that the American people "seem to like so much of it."
In a recent PBS interview, Granholm said there are many more jobs in clean energy than in fossil fuels. She was asked on the program if by pushing so-called green jobs, the bill would push traditional fossil fuel jobs from the United States to China.
"That's why we need to bring manufacturing here," she said. "Why are we allowing our economic competitors to take battery manufacturing for electric vehicles and we've got to rely on supply chains elsewhere? Whether it's the critical materials that are in those batteries or the batteries themselves, why are we standing by the side of the road and allowing China to come in and swoop up all of the manufacturing of solar panels?"
Such materials, she said, should be made in the United States.
"Why should we be buying solar panels from a country with human rights violations?" she said. "Why wouldn't we be making them here and the supply chain for those solar panels here? It is insane we have allowed it. We've stood by and watched those jobs go away. This, American Jobs Act has a huge investment in our manufacturing and our supply chain. I say this from Michigan, I say this as somebody who has seen these jobs go. This is our moment to take it back and create that infrastructure."
Thousands of workers lost their jobs after Biden canceled the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and were told by climate czar John Kerry they could get jobs in clean energy, but they could not. Granholm said that it's important that in the core of the infrastructure plan, jobs for plumbers, pipefitters, and sheet metal workers are embedded.
"That's what the infrastructure pieces are all about," she said. "They will get jobs. The money will flow as soon as Congress acts and why this is an urgent moment. We're 8.4 million jobs shy of where we were before the COVID crisis began.
"It is why we have to act on this now and move on it so we can put the construction workers to work building pipelines for CO2 and hydrogen, making sure we repair pipelines leaking methane. So many jobs that could be in this infrastructure package are supported by both sides of the aisle, at least historically have been."