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Chairman McGovern Opens Debate on Rule to Fulfill Our Responsibilities at Home and Abroad

Chairman McGovern Opens Debate on Rule to Fulfill Our Responsibilities at Home and Abroad 

Advances legislation to create clean energy jobs in America and stand up for human rights abroad
**Video of his remarks is available here**

WASHINGTON, DC — Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) today opened debate on a rule to help us fulfill our responsibilities at home and abroad. The measure opens debate on H.R. 4447, a sweeping energy package to combat climate change and create clean energy jobs and advances H.R. 6270, the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act, to hold the Chinese government accountable for its human rights abuses. Chairman McGovern’s bill, H.R. 6210, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, passed on suspension yesterday.

Excerpts from Chairman McGovern’s remarks are below, video of his full remarks is available here:

“M. Speaker, the bills contained in this rule are about meeting our responsibilities here at home and living up to our values abroad. First is H.R. 8319, a continuing resolution to keep our government funded through December 11th. Fortunately, we won’t need to call this bill up because a compromise passed this House last night by a vote of 359 to 57.”

“Second is H.R. 4447, a sweeping energy package that will help our nation lead the world once more in clean energy. Investing in renewable energy like wind and solar won’t just help us combat the threat of climate change – they will help us create jobs here at home that can never be outsourced.”

“It is especially important that we are considering this package right now. There are wildfires raging in places like California, Oregon, and Washington that are leaving a heartbreaking path of destruction. Scientists are unequivocal – these fires are just the latest indication that climate change is real and happening right now. This is not some long-off threat we can leave for our kids or grandkids. This is happening today.” 

“By addressing it, we won’t just protect our environment – we will create jobs at a time when our country badly needs them. Because of the coronavirus, our country is facing the worst economy since the Great Depression. The Labor Department said last week that 12.6 million Americans are collecting unemployment benefits. One year ago, that number stood at just 1.7 million.”

“Renewable energy can and should be part of the equation in rebuilding this economy. Because make no mistake, M. Speaker, jobs in things like solar energy will be created – the only question is whether they are created here or in other countries like China. I want them made in America.” 

“Lastly, the Rules Committee considered two bills yesterday to help defend the human rights of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, who have suffered horrific human rights abuses at the hands of the Chinese government – H.R. 6210, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and H.R. 6270, the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act.”

“I am proud to have authored H.R. 6210 which passed the House with an overwhelming 406-3 vote. I also strongly support H.R. 6270, the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act authored by my colleague Representative Jennifer Wexton. It is disappointing that some Republican members may oppose the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act, that requires disclosures about products made with forced labor from a region where crimes against humanity, and perhaps genocide, are being committed by the Chinese government.”

“As many as 1.8 million Uyghurs and other predominately Muslim minorities have been arbitrarily detained in mass internment camps and subjected to forced labor, torture, political indoctrination, and other severe human rights abuses. We know forced labor is widespread and systematic and audits are simply not possible because workers cannot speak freely and honestly about working conditions given heavy surveillance and intimidation.”

“This legislation is essential to protect American investors and consumers, through stronger disclosure requirements, alerting them to the presence of Chinese and international companies whose operations enable the mass internment and population surveillance of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.”

“I hope my Republican colleagues, who might be considering voting no think long and hard before voting against a bill that would help reveal the extent of how the Chinese government’s system of forced labor has contaminated global supply chains.”

“I am proud to stand in solidarity with the Uyghur people, and indeed all the people living under the rule of the Chinese government in their struggle to live freely, practice their religious beliefs freely, and speak their own languages freely. I urge all my colleagues to join with us and give this rule and the underlying bills a broad bipartisan vote, so we can fulfill our obligations here at home and around the world.”

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