Senator Rosen: “My state of Nevada has the most solar jobs per capita of any other state in the nation… We are talking about an industry that is generating hundreds of thousands of American jobs and supporting American workers, while at the same time helping us transition to clean, renewable energy.”
Watch Senator Rosen’s Speech HERE
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, during a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) called on her Senate colleagues from both parties to oppose a resolution that rolls back a two-year pause on tariffs on imported solar panels and cells, which would kill Nevada jobs and hurt American workers. Nevada has the most solar jobs per capita in the nation, and the threat of additional tariffs will decimate many of these good-paying, union jobs. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) estimates that this resolution going into effect would eliminate 30,000 American jobs, including 4,000 jobs in manufacturing.
Senator Rosen has been leading the effort to oppose this resolution because it threatens good-paying jobs in Nevada. She recently led her colleagues in an open letter opposing these retroactive solar tariffs. Senator Rosen also led a bipartisan group of her colleagues in urging the Administration to quickly conclude its investigation into imported solar panels and cells. At the time, even the mere threat of new and retroactive solar tariffs was having a devastating effect on the U.S. solar industry, the clean energy economy, and efforts to combat climate change. Rosen followed up on that effort by leading the charge to secure the two-year pause on tariffs that this resolution would overturn.
Watch Senator Rosen’s full remarks here.
Below are Senator Rosen’s floor remarks as delivered:
As you’ve heard from my colleagues before me, there are serious concerns about the job-killing resolution that we will be voting on this evening and the effects it will have on our solar industry and American workers.
For years, solar has been a growing source of clean, low-cost energy and economic development in states all across our nation and it is a source of jobs, good-paying, union jobs right here in the United States.
America’s domestic solar industry is made up of more than 10,000 businesses, large and small, located in every single state, employing over 250,000 Americans. I will repeat that, employing over 250,000 Americans.
In fact, my state of Nevada has the most solar jobs per capita of any other state in this great nation.
So, when we talk about the solar industry, we’re talking about an industry that is generating hundreds of thousands of American jobs and supporting American workers, while at the same time helping us to transition to clean, renewable energy.
And thanks to historic investments we secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, the American solar industry is experiencing an unprecedented boom.
Last year, a new solar project was installed in the United States every 44 seconds, in fact, and the demand is only expected to increase. This is only going to create more jobs and help make us more energy independent.
For example, the average solar installer in Reno, Nevada – well, they make about $80,000 dollars a year. That’s a good job.
And that’s a job that lets a family pay their rent, buy groceries, put something away for their kids’ college, and for their own retirement. That’s the kind of jobs we should be creating, and we are, thanks to these historic investments.
And that’s why I’ve been a champion of our domestic solar industry and have been fighting back against attacks from it from my colleagues, well frankly, on both sides of the aisle.
And it’s why I led a bipartisan group of Senators last year to push President Biden to pause additional, retroactive solar tariffs after a Commerce Department investigation – well, they threatened to destroy our domestic solar industry and kill tens of thousands of American jobs.
But at this moment – this moment – our American solar workers are at risk. My workers in Nevada are at risk. So those $80,000 dollar-a-year jobs – they’re at risk.
And all of the progress we’ve made to transition to clean energy, all the good-paying jobs we have created, and all of the solar projects that are lowering energy costs for families – well, they’re all at risk too.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed a Congressional Review Act. This resolution rolls back the two-year pause on these additional solar tariffs. If enacted, this resolution will decimate our American solar industry.
So, let me be crystal clear: enacting additional, retroactive tariffs on imported solar panels and cells will kill – will absolutely kill – the American solar industry, and it will kill any chance we have to meet our climate goals, and it will kill the current American solar jobs.
And I know that some of my colleagues have said that supporting this resolution is being pro-worker. Well, I’m just going to say that that’s wrong.
No one can say they’re pro-worker while at the same time voting to kill good-paying American jobs, and that’s exactly what this resolution will do.
I don’t even know why this is on the table. Are we seriously going to tell that solar installer that he’s out of a job? Are we going to put his family on unemployment just for politics?
I’m going to repeat it, supporting this resolution and killing American jobs hurts workers and their families. Period.
Opposing this resolution means being on the side of American workers. It means being on the side of unions like IBEW, the Laborers, the Operating Engineers, [and] the Carpenters Union – who are all urging a no vote today.
All of us in this chamber agree that we have to strengthen domestic manufacturing. We all agree that we have to be competitive with China. And we all agree that we have to be energy independent.
And that’s what this current pause on additional tariffs, that’s what this current pause helps us to do.
Because right now, solar panel manufacturers in the United States, we can only meet about 15 percent of the demand from the American solar projects.
And so, thanks to investments made by the Inflation Reduction Act, we’re going to greatly ramp up our domestic solar manufacturing – creating jobs [and] making us energy independent here at home.
But it’s going to take time.
It’ll take time to ramp up domestic solar manufacturing so it can provide more than 15 percent of U.S. demand. And our current solar industry, well, their success depends on a steady supply of solar panels to install.
So, we can’t cut off supply of imported solar panels by enacting massive, retroactive tariffs that will just kill solar projects, it will kill American jobs, and it will hurt American workers.
So, what can we do? Well, what we can do is have a bridge that allows us to do both: keep our domestic solar industry alive while we invest and bolster our domestic manufacturing so that we can be competitive with China. And that’s exactly what this pause helps us to achieve.
Enacting retroactive tariffs will even directly harm U.S. solar panel manufacturing businesses by cutting off their major source of solar cells – a key component in the panels – making it that much harder for them and us to compete with China.
That’s why I’m leading the effort to block this resolution and just keep the pause in place.
So Madam President, I urge my fellow colleagues to join me and be on the side of workers by protecting good-paying, American union jobs, to join me in fighting to meet our climate goals, and to join me in making our nation more competitive with China by voting against this job-killing resolution and saving America’s solar future.
Hundreds of thousands of American solar workers, their families, our communities, well, they’re counting on us.