Political reaction to Siemens decision to layoff 407 in Fort Madison

Siemens today announced layoffs at its factory in Fort Madison where the blades for wind turbines are made.  Politicians issued statements to Radio Iowa via email — from one U.S. senator, three of Iowa’s four congressmen, a congressional candidate, plus the president’s Iowa campaign manager & Mitt Romney’s Iowa campaign spokesman.  Iowa’s governor hadn’t submitted a statement to Radio Iowa by 7:30 p.m., nor had Republican Congressman Steve King or Republican congressional candidates Ben Lange and John Archer.

The statements from the rest are below, in the order received:

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after Siemens announced they were reducing their workforce nationwide, including positions in Ft. Madison.
 
“Today’s announcement is another reminder just how far our economy has to go to fully recover and how much work Congress should be doing. My thoughts go to those and their families who are affected by this news.
 
“This announcement also demonstrates the need for Congress to act and renew the Production Tax Credit for wind energy.  While this is not fully the cause, renewing the tax credit, which has broad, bipartisan support, will give the wind energy industry the stability it needs.  Congress should not be going home to campaign at a time when so much critical work remains unfinished.  The livelihood of thousands of Iowans depends on the renewal of the credit.”

Senator Chuck Grassley today commented on the restructuring announcement by Siemens Energy, Inc. regarding its operations in Fort Madison, Iowa.

“My heart goes out to the people losing jobs.  When you’re in that situation, it’s a depression, not a recession, for you and your family.  In this case and others, the market conditions described by the company emphasize the need for certainty of policies out of Washington, from the production tax credit for wind to the threat of other taxes going up and heavy-handed regulations that make it harder for businesses to sustain and create jobs.  Leadership is needed to provide the kind of certainty and confidence employers need to keep and hire workers.”

Dubuque, IA – Following the news of Siemens layoffs, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) wrote Speaker Boehner to demand immediate action on the Wind Energy Tax Credit. Braley wrote:

“Iowa workers are suffering, and your political games are directly contributing to job losses in Iowa.  I urge you to immediately release your hold, and allow an extension of the wind energy production tax credit to come up for a vote in the U.S. House, where it would pass with a bipartisan majority.”
 
Braley’s letter to Speaker Boehner can be downloaded at the following link: http://go.usa.gov/rMfG
 
DES MOINES, IA – Iowa Congressman Tom Latham issued the following statement Tuesday in response to news reports of announced layoffs at a Ft. Madison wind plant:

“Washington’s inaction on extending the wind energy tax credit has frozen wind energy investment and employers in place over the past several months. Now we are unfortunately seeing the disastrous and real-life effects of this inaction on a hardworking and dedicated workforce in Iowa. I will continue to fight for the immediate continuation of these important tax credits and am ready to work with any of my colleagues – regardless of party label – who are willing to stand with me to make it happen.”

AMES, IA – Christie Vilsack released the following statement this afternoon following the announcement that Siemens is planning to lay off over 400 employees in Fort Madison as a result of Congress’ failure to renew the production tax credit for wind:
 
“My thoughts today are first and foremost with those who have been laid off in Fort Madison and their families. Today’s announcement shows that gridlock in Congress has a real and serious impact on families in our state. It’s disappointing to see that inaction on the production tax credit for wind has resulted in more than 400 Iowans losing their job. Iowa is poised to be a national leader in renewable energy, but companies like Siemens and Clipper, which also announced layoffs earlier this year, deserve consistent advocates in Washington for wind energy and the jobs this industry supports across the state.
 
“I’m running for Congress to build layers of economic opportunity and rebuild the middle class. I’m especially committed to being a consistent supporter of renewable energy and will work to continue bringing 21st century jobs to our state.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Leonard Boswell (IA-3) released a statement regarding today’s announcement of hundreds of layoffs affecting Iowa’s wind industry.

“The nearly 500 layoffs in Iowa’s wind energy sector are the direct result of Congress failing to renew the production tax credit. This is caused by the same inaction from House Republican leadership that we’ve seen with the Farm Bill. House Speaker Boehner is taking his cues from Mitt Romney who has said he wants the tax credit to end along with over 7,000 jobs in Iowa. The credit has been key in growing the wind energy industry in Iowa, but in order to build on that progress, the tax credit needs to be extended to provide manufacturers some certainty to continue investments and future job creation.”

DES MOINES – Today, Obama for America Iowa State Director Brad Anderson released the following statement in response to the layoffs at the Siemens plant in Fort Madison, IA:

“When President Obama visited the Siemens Plant in 2010, he met with many of the workers and saw the hard work and pride they put into their jobs every day. Our hearts are with them today as they learn about these layoffs and we’re going to do everything we can to keep moving forward and fighting to help American workers develop home-grown energy. Today’s announcement is another reminder of the clear choice we face in this election, between moving forward toward an economy that creates middle-class jobs and increases our energy independence or falling back to policies of the past that send jobs overseas and increase our dependence on foreign oil. In particular, it illustrates the importance of extending the wind production tax credit, which is vital to supporting thousands of wind energy jobs here in Iowa.”

Statement from Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for Romney’s Iowa campaign:
“Today’s layoffs at Siemens are yet another unfortunate reminder of the Obama Economy where American families have suffered from chronic unemployment, increased poverty and falling incomes.  There is a fundamental disconnect between President Obama’s philosophy of the need for redistribution of wealth and the free market economy which our country was founded on. President Obama has focused on attacking the success of others rather than applauding their accomplishments and urging others to strive for similar success. Mitt Romney’s plan for a stronger middle class will foster the dignity of work, champion innovation, generate new wealth, and create 12 million new jobs in his first term alone in a variety of sectors, including wind.”

Congressman Steve King’s statement, received the next day, Wednesday, at 2:16 p.m.:

“I sincerely regret the loss of jobs at the Siemens plant in Ft. Madison. Siemens must know that nearly two years ago, Congress made a decision setting up a political showdown for the “lame duck” session that will take place after the election. The production tax credit for wind is swept into that larger equation. I will continue to work to extend the production tax credit and work with the industry to ratchet down the PTC to ensure the long term viability of the wind industry.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.

Comments

  1. Wendell Murray says:

    Layoffs are bad needless to say for the workers, but Siemens likely has little choice, if demand is lacking. I do not know the industry at all, so whether tax credits play a significant role in demand and consequently on employment in the industry is an unknown. Unfortunately the past people I would believe on the topic are the politicians cites, whether Democrats or Republicans.

    The faux statements from the politicians cited about “my heart goes out …” and similar insincerity about the workers and families affected by layoffs are vile however.

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