U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware

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  • Senator Coons Designates American Technological Innovation Day

    A bipartisan resolution sponsored by Senator Coons declaring October 29, 2013 to be “National Technological Innovation Day” was adopted by the Senate Monday. The declaration recognizes the important role of technological innovation in job creation and the U.S. economy, and was timed to celebrate the anniversary of ARPANET, the Internet’s precursor, created on October 29, 1969. The resolution was led by Senator Coons and co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators, including Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga).

    “America has produced some of the world’s most transformative technological innovations that have helped our economy prosper while advancing societies across the globe,” Senator Coons said. “I hope that National Technological Innovation Day will encourage Americans across the country to pause to appreciate the great work of those who came before, and rise to the challenge of becoming the next generation of inspirational American thinkers and inventors.”

    A significant portion of our economy’s growth can be traced to new innovations. Since our nation’s founding, American innovators have produced the light bulb, the polio vaccine, the transistor (the main component of a computer chip), communications satellites, Global Positioning System, and the Internet, to name just a few. National Technological Innovation Day recognizes the role of America’s innovative spirit in individuals who have started successful companies and pushed the frontiers of science in the lab. More than one-third of Nobel prizes awarded, 347 in total, have gone to American citizens, reflecting the domestic culture of achievement we have created.

    The resolution designating National Technological Innovation Day calls on individuals to observe the day by participating in activities that celebrate the history of innovation in the US, such as educational events and exploration of how modern devices work. It also encourages American youth to continue to enhance the future by pursuing invention and entrepreneurship.

    Tags:
    Economy
    Education
    Entrepreneurs
    Innovation
    Science
    STEM
    Technology
  • Senator Coons, colleagues launch Manufacturing Jobs for America

    Senator Coons and 11 colleagues held a press conference on October 29, 2013 to announce the launch of Manufacturing Jobs for America, a campaign to refocus Washington's attention on manufacturing jobs. The effort comprises 40 bills from 22 senators, many of which are bipartisan, that will help America's manufacturers grow and prepare American workers for careers in advanced manufacturing.

    Chris opened the press conference, discussing the need for progress on legislation that will strenghten America's modern workforce, secure a more level global playing field, expand access to capital for new and smaller-scale manufactuerers, and establish a national manufacturing strategy. Citing the success of Miller Metal Fabrication in Bridgeville, Delaware, which has won manufacturing work back from China, Italy, and other countries, Chris urged renewed bipartisan efforts to accelerate America's manufacturing revival.   

    Participants in Tuesday's press conference included Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

    Watch Chris' opening remarks:

    Watch a highlight reel of senators' remarks at the press conference:

    Watch the full press conference:

  • Senator Coons supports bill to protect U.S. helium supply

    Though most Americans associate helium with balloons, a potential shortage of this critical element would mean more than just the loss of a popular party fixture – it would do real damage to our economy. That’s because helium has important applications in our everyday lives, with uses in arc welding, scientific research, microchip production, MRI scans, fire extinguishers, and tires. It is also used in nuclear reactors, space exploration, superconducting magnets….and yes, blimps and birthday parties. That’s why Senator Coons was proud to support legislation that passed the Senate on September 19th to ensure that a stable supply remains available for critical industrial, medical, and scientific activities dependent on the gas. 

    On October 2nd, President Obama signed the Helium Stewardship Act to guarantee the continued federal management of the nation’s helium reserves, located in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The program was set to expire on October 7th. Chris is pleased that both the House and Senate were able to act in time to provide continued management of this critical resource.

    The existing Federal Helium Reserve (FHR), managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, stores 42 percent of the nation’s supply, about one-third of global helium reserves. The FHR is the world’s only helium gas stockpile, and is located just outside of Amarillo, Texas. The Helium Stewardship Act permits the BLM to continue to sell helium from the national reserve to the private sector, relieving Delaware’s many industrial, medical, and university users of the fear of a national helium shortage.

    The Federal Helium Program was created in 1925 to secure supplies of a safer, non-combustible alternative to hydrogen for use in buoyant aircraft for the military. As further uses were discovered for the gas in the post-WWII period, the U.S. Government began to purchase helium and store it in an empty gas reserve in Texas. The stockpile of unrefined “crude” helium has been stored at the Bush Dome Reservoir in Amarillo, Texas since the establishment of the conservation program with the passage of the Helium Act Amendments of 1960.  The FHR was established as part of the country’s cold war efforts, recognizing helium’s historic strategic importance in lighter-than-air aviation in the 1920’s. The FHR was intended to provide a ready supply of helium for the rapidly expanding needs of defense, the space program, and scientific research.

  • Fitch Ratings warns of U.S. credit downgrade

    As the United States lurches closer to the debt ceiling deadline, Fitch Ratings, one of three major ratings agencies, has placed the United States credit rating on a Rating Watch Negative.  Ratings are placed on rating watch to notify investors that there is a reasonable probability of a ratings change.  According to Fitch, the federal credit was placed on negative watch because “political brinkmanship and reduced financing flexibility could increase the risk of a U.S. default.”  Some of the other reasons include:

    • The United States Treasury Department may have a limited capacity to make payments after October 17th, but the inflows and outflows will be volatile.  Delays in payments of obligations would damage U.S. creditworthiness and the economy.
    • The prolonged negotiations are undermining confidence in the role of the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency.
    • The repeated brinkmanship over raising the debt ceiling damages confidence in the U.S. government and political institutions. 

    Asked about the possibility of a first time U.S. default, Senator Coons told reporters Tuesday, "We are coming bracingly close to the edge. I think we're looking over it now. We're in very dangerous territory."

    During the last debate over paying our bills in July 2011, another ratings agency, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) issued a Negative Credit Watch.  Following a protracted debate which extended into August 2011, S&P announced a downgrade from AAA to AA+, where our credit rating stands today. 

    According to S&P in 2011, “The political brinkmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed.  The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.”  In response to S&P downgrading the United States’ creditworthiness, the S&P 500 dropped 6.7 percent in a single day, marking one of the largest drops in history.  Globally, investors lost $1.35 trillion in one day.

    United States Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said that the government will exhaust its ability to reliably pay our obligations on October 17th.  If the debt ceiling is not raised, nonpartisan analysts expect the U.S. Treasury to run out of cash to pay our bills sometime in the two weeks following October 17th

    "I'm stunned," Senator Coons said. "I think this is really reckless. There is no better option for us going forward than to reopen the government, pay our national debt on time, raise the debt ceiling, and honor our obligations as a country.”

    Tags:
    Credit Rating
    Debt
    Debt Ceiling
    Default
    Economy
    Government Shutdown
    Treasury
  • Video: Senator Coons warns about threat of default

    Senator Coons spoke on the Senate floor again on Monday, this time warning Delawareans about the looming threat of defaulting on our nation's debts. It was a sober and, at times, chilling look at what will happen, when it will happen, and what our potential paths forward really look like. He explains why "prioritizing" our debt, as some in Congress have recklessly suggested was a way to bypass the debt ceiling, would actually do more harm than good to our economy and our communities.

    Tags:
    Debt
    Debt Ceiling
    Default
    Economy
    investment
    Medicaid
    Medicare
    Social Security
    Treasury
    Veterans
  • Video: Senator Coons speaks about the government shutdown

    Senator Coons spoke on the Senate floor Tuesday about the consequences of Congress' inability to avert a federal government shutdown. In his speech, Senator Coons shared three letters he's received from Delawareans affected by furloughs and the suspension of important government services and called on Speaker Boehner and House Republicans to take up and pass the bill that would reopen the government.

    Tags:
    Affordable Care Act
    Economy
    Government Shutdown
  • Senator Coons salutes National Employ Older Workers Week

    The week of September 22-28, 2013 is National Employ Older Workers Week. As the number of Americans aged 55 and older continues to increase, it is important to recognize the growing role that older workers will play in Delaware’s economy and in the labor force across the country. In fact, older workers are the fastest-growing sector of the American workforce, and by 2014, Americans aged 55 and older will make up over 21 percent of the U.S. labor force. These hardworking men and women bring a tremendous amount of experience, dedication, and skill to their jobs and serve as role models for all workers.    

    To recognize National Employ Older Workers Week, and to honor and support older workers in Delaware, Senator Coons intends to cosponsor the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (S. 1391). This bipartisan bill would help protect older workers by reversing a recent Supreme Court decision that raised the burden of proof for employees bringing discrimination claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. This critical piece of legislation is essential to ensuring that older workers have the same rights as other Americans under the law and to creating an equal playing field in the workplace for older Americans.

    Senator Coons is also a proud cosponsor of the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2013. This bill would reauthorize the original Older Americans Act of 1965, which provides federal funding to support a wide range of social services and programs for older persons. The Older Americans Act includes the Senior Community Service Employment Program, our nation’s only federal program specifically dedicated to helping low-income, unemployed adults aged 55 or older gain the job skills and training they need to find full time employment. The program plays a critical role in providing training, supportive services, and job search assistance to Delawareans. Senator Coons is committed to supporting this program and all employers and organizations that employ and assist older workers in Delaware.

    Tags:
    Economy
    Jobs
    Older Americans
  • Carper, Coons, Carney to host job fair on June 24th in Kent County

    DOVER - To help connect Delawareans with employers in the area, the Delaware Congressional delegation, in collaboration with Brandywine Counseling, will host their third of three job fairs this spring on June 24th in Kent County. Business leaders will get to meet with and interview talented Delawareans ready with resumes in-hand. The delegation urges businesses throughout the state to reserve their tables now.

    The job fair will be held Monday, June 24th at the Sheraton Hotel in Dover from 10 am to 2 pm.

    In addition to networking with companies looking to hire, job-seekers will also be able to participate in job-search skills workshops, receive career counseling, and have their resumes reviewed by experts.

    The delegation hosted a job fair in New Castle County on March 6th and one in Sussex County on April 30th.

    For more information on how to participate as an employer or job-seeker, please call Senator Coons’ office at 302-573-6345, or email workshop@coons.senate.gov.

    Tags:
    Economy
    Jobs
  • Senator Coons stresses importance of rural economy at summit in Washington

    Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, participated in a half-day summit on Thursday on issues of importance to rural communities across our nation. The event was hosted by the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee and featured two moderated panels focused on rural economics, infrastructure, and access to critical services.

    The panel highlighted the economic conditions facing rural communities and the agriculture industry, and what role the federal government can play in ensuring long-term support for the communities. Issues discussed during the summit include the importance of investing in the health of farmland, natural resources, and infrastructure. Another topic of discussion was connecting our farmers and ranchers with consumers, including individuals, schools, hospitals, and businesses.

    “Our rural communities are central to our identity, our economy, and our values,” Chris said. “Between our agriculture sector, environmental conservation, and tourism, it’s no surprise that Delaware’s rural communities are thriving. It’s important that we continue to facilitate an open dialogue between our rural communities and our elected officials to ensure we aren’t hindering their growth and development. I thank the members of the University of Delaware for attending today’s event and sharing their views on how we can strengthen our state’s rural areas.”

    More than 200 rural development advocates attended the summit, including Mark Reiger, Dean of the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Delaware; Michelle Rodgers, Cooperative Extension Director, University of Delaware; and Melanie Allen, student, University of Delaware.

    The Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee is dedicated to fostering dialogue between Senate Democrats and community leaders from across the nation. The Steering Committee hosts regular meetings each year with advocates, policy experts, and elected officials to discuss key priorities and enlist their help in the development of the Democratic agenda in the Senate.

    Tags:
    Agriculture
    Economy
    Farmers
  • ICYMI: Senator Coons writes op-ed on creating jobs in US by increasing trade with Africa

    Senator Chris Coons, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs,  published an op-ed in the News Journal on Thursday highlighting the opportunity to improve Delaware’s economy by expanding trade with Africa.

    When American businesses sell their products in Africa, they grow and create jobs in their offices, headquarters and factories here at home. Nearly 10 million American jobs are supported by exports – including well over 11,000 in Delaware – and every billion dollars of U.S. exports could create as many as 5,000 new jobs. So it is in our economic interest to dramatically scale up our economic engagement with Africa. If we don’t, our international competitors will – and in some cases, they already have. At a meeting about U.S. export opportunities, an African head of state told me that while they “would prefer to work with the United States, the Chinese are already here.”

    We cannot allow our competitors in the global economy to lock American companies out of fast-growing African markets, which have as many as 900 million potential consumers. Large and small businesses in Delaware, from DuPont-Pioneer to Baltimore Air Coil, based in Milford, are already selling their goods and services to African customers, but we have to do more to provide the tools and resources they need to succeed.

    Click here to read the op-ed on the News Journal’s website.

    Click here to learn more about Chris’ work on Africa.

    Tags:
    Africa
    Economy
    Foreign Relations
    ICYMI
    Jobs
    Trade
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