WASHINGTON — A laid-off United Taconite steelworker will witness the 2016 State of the Union address in person.
Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Tuesday that Dan Hill will be her guest at President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress at 8 p.m. Jan. 12.
Hill spoke passionately last week at a meeting with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on the Range about the ore and steel crisis brought on in large part by illegally subsidized steel imports flooding the U.S. market.
He urged the Obama administration to take action against the illegal dumping.
“On a level playing field, Minnesota’s steelworkers can compete with anybody in the world,” Klobuchar said.
“But illegal trade practices have thwarted our domestic industry and left many workers on the Range without a job to support their families. Dan has worked hard to make sure the White House understands the dire situation steelworkers like him are facing and I hope this invitation further strengthens this call to action.”
Currently only half of the six taconite plants on the Range are operating, and indirect businesses are also feeling the impact of the crisis.
There have been about 2,000 steelworkers laid off throughout the year.
Hill is grateful for the invitation.
“Thank you to Sen. Klobuchar for inviting me to the State of the Union and for always fighting for us on the Iron Range,” Hill said. “We must continue to push for action to stop illegal steel dumping so American steelworkers and miners are competing on a level playing field and good Iron Range jobs are available to our children and grandchildren for generations to come.”
Klobuchar and fellow U.S. Sen. Al Franken, along with 8th District U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan and Gov. Mark Dayton have urged the president to do what previous Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush did on illegal steel imports and use his authority under Section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act to impose high tariffs on foreign steel.
Nolan has also introduced legislation that would impose a five-year ban on steel imports to allow the U.S. industry to recover.