Biden commerce pick promises jobless Keystone workers 'we will make sure that you have jobs'
Sen. Ted Cruz questions Commerce Secretary nominee Gina Raimondo at confirmation hearing.
Gina Raimondo, President Biden's nominee for secretary of commerce, promised that the Biden administration will ensure that union workers who lost jobs due to the blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline will get new jobs.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, raised the issue Tuesday during Raimondo’s confirmation hearing.
"Last week, President Biden signed an executive order canceling the Keystone pipeline, destroying 11,000 jobs including 8,000 union jobs. If you were confirmed as secretary of commerce, what would you say to those 11,00 construction workers whose jobs have been destroyed by the stroke of a pen?" Cruz asked.
"I would say, we're going to get you to work," Raimondo replied. "I would say that climate change is a threat to all of us, and that we will make sure that you have jobs, that you have the skills you need to have a job, and by the way as we meet the needs of climate change, there will be many jobs created, good-paying jobs, union jobs. And should I be the commerce secretary I will fight every single day for every American to have a decent paying job and a chance to compete."
Cruz previously debated the issue during the confirmation hearing for Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg. After Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, asked about the thousands of jobs that would be lost by halting work on the pipeline, Buttigieg was optimistic that these losses will be offset by new positions created as the new administration shifts towards climate-conscious goals.
Cruz pressed Buttigieg on what this actually means.
"So for those workers, the answer is somebody else will get a job?" he asked.
Buttigieg responded that he and the administration "are very eager to see those workers continue to be employed in good-paying union jobs, even if they might be different ones."
Neal Crabtree, a member of Pipeliners Local Union 798, was among the first to be laid off following the order.
"Just like the rest of the country, COVID hurt us bad. We had a lot of projects canceled," Crabtree, a 46-year-old welder from Arkansas, told Fox News. "We've got guys that haven't worked in months, and in some cases years, and to have a project of this magnitude canceled, it's going to hurt a lot of people, a lot of families, a lot of communities."
Fox News' Teny Sahakian contributed to this report.