WILMINGTON, Del. — Today, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined Bloomberg TV’s Kevin Cirilli to discuss stimulus negotiations, economic recovery, and the direction of U.S. foreign policy.

First, it begins with strengthening the United States, with reinvesting in our own manufacturing education, and bringing us together as a country so that we are more of a functional vibrant democracy so that our model continues to be attractive to the world,” said Senator Coons when asked how to engage China.“Second, it’s reengaging with our allies. Some of our most vital allies around the world from Canada to the UK to Germany to South Korea to Japan have faced withering insults and attacks from President Trump who’s either demanded they pay more for their own security or has imposed on them punishing tariffs that have distanced us from some of our core allies. Reengaging with our allies and reuniting the democracies of the world to jointly confront China’s innovative mercantilism is the next step.” 

Full audio and video available here

On the stimulus, Sen. Coons: I’m going to keep working, Kevin. I’ve been talking with my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, about what we can do to close this gap. But frankly, Majority Leader McConnell in the Senate has not been part of these negotiations. Without some movement by either the Republican majority in the Senate or by President Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, I think it will be very difficult for there to be a closing of this significant gap. Speaker Pelosi speaking on behalf of the House that several months ago passed a three and half trillion dollar relief bill that would provide support and relief to small businesses, families, first responders, a very wide range of those in need has already agreed publicly to come down first to two and a half trillion, then to just over two trillion. She and Minority Leader Schumer are waiting for some counter proposal that meets them half way. The so-called skinny bill which was just a few hundred billion left out whole sections of what we need in order for there to be effective relief for middle America, for public employees, for nutrition, and for those going back to school, and my hope is that we can still find some responsible compromise.

On economic recovery, Sen. Coons: I do think putting money back into our economy by rebuilding American infrastructure which is sadly antiquated in a lot of different ways: our bridges and tunnels, and roads, and highways. That’s something that would both help put people back to work, stimulate our economy, and if we build resilient infrastructure that makes us better prepared for the hurricanes, and wildfires, and natural disasters that we’re seeing across our country, we could also begin to deal with addressing climate change. I was encouraged to see that the hundreds of business that make up the Business Roundtable just this past week recognized climate change is real and we have to do something about it.

On manufacturing, Sen. Coons: Kevin, one of the things that many of us in Congress are looking at is how we can onshore manufacturing of critical components of the supply chains that for decades have now gone overseas and often to China. A lot of the bungled federal response in the first few months of this year was around trying to provide PPE or personal protective equipment or badly needed medical devices and other supplies that are mostly made overseas – a lot of it in China. I have a bipartisan bill with Senator Rubio of Florida that would accelerate that onshoring. […] We can use the power of the federal government to buy more American-made goods and we can provide incentives – tax incentives for those manufacturers who are going to onshore manufacturing and stop providing tax incentives that have been in our code for too long for business that offshore manufacturing.

On U.S. foreign policy, Sen. Coons:  We actually had a hearing on this topic on the Foreign Relations Committee yesterday about China’s expansionist activities in Central and South America [and in Europe]. First, it begins with strengthening the United States, with reinvesting in our own manufacturing education, and bringing us together as a country so that we are more of a functional vibrant democracy so that our model continues to be attractive to the world. Second, it’s reengaging with our allies. Some of our most vital allies around the world from Canada to the UK to Germany to South Korea to Japan have faced withering insults and attacks from President Trump who’s either demanded they pay more for their own security or has imposed on them punishing tariffs that have distanced us from some of our core allies. Reengaging with our allies and reuniting the democracies of the world to jointly confront China’s innovative mercantilism is the next step. 

[…] 

There are ways in which we can and should strengthen our standing in the world and confront China on everything from IP theft to their actions in the South China Sea to their human rights violations against the Uighurs in Xinjiang Province and their steps in Hong Kong to constrain that little island that has for long enjoyed more freedom than anywhere else in China.

[…] 

There is a lot of work to do in the world. There are so many different places where the United States had receded in its reach and its engagement, and I would be honored to play some role in helping to strengthen America’s place in the world. 

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