Right now, only 12 percent of jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs. The President has said that keeping manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is a priority for his Administration. I don’t disagree with the priority but I do disagree with how we get there.
This week we missed a major opportunity to keep highly skilled manufacturing jobs in Fort Worth while supporting one of our key allies in the Pacific – Taiwan. By law, the United States is required to sell the Taiwanese military the equipment they need to defend their homeland. In the past decade the military threat from communist China has increased dramatically. Last year alone, Chinese defense spending increased by 12.7 percent and they have been very public about the development of their own 5thgeneration fighter aircraft.
The Administration announced this week that the United States would not sell Taiwan 66 new F-16s, but instead upgrade their existing fleet of F-16s. This is not only a slap in the face to our ally but it is a clear refusal by the Administration to keep manufacturing jobs right here in Texas.
It is estimated that the total direct and indirect economic benefits from the F-16 sale to Taiwan would be $8.7 billion. That equates to roughly 16,000 direct and indirect jobs each year for up to 6 years. In Fort Worth, the direct impact is roughly 4,300 annual jobs directly related to the F-16 program.
This sale would ensure our key strategic ally in the Pacific has the defense capacity to defend its own airspace while making sure we keep the jobs we need right here at home. This week I introduced legislation that would make sure the sale becomes law. While we need to continue to innovate and develop new industries to support job creation, we need to also support the jobs we already have.