Sen. Fetterman opposes 'absolutely outrageous' proposed sale of iconic U.S. Steel to Japanese company

 December 20, 2023

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) has once again forced Republican conservatives and populists to reconsider their prior assumptions and give him a second look as he has espoused yet another common-sense policy position that has become increasingly rare in Washington D.C.

The Pennsylvania senator has registered his sharp disapproval of the proposed $14 billion purchase of the iconic Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel by Japan's Nippon Steel, according to local ABC affiliate WPVI.

Fetterman is joined in that opposition by a bipartisan handful of Senate colleagues along with the United Steelworkers Union, all of whom have said that U.S. Steel should only be permitted to be sold to another unionized American company, such as Ohio-based competitor Cleveland Cliffs.

Fetterman says proposed foreign purchase of U.S. Steel is "absolutely outrageous"

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Tuesday that Sen. Fetterman said in a statement, "It’s absolutely outrageous that U.S. Steel has agreed to sell themselves to a foreign company."

"Steel is always about security -- both our national security and the economic security of our steel communities. I am committed to doing anything I can do, using my platform and my position, to block this foreign sale," he added.

Fetterman espoused a similar message in a video posted Monday on social media that featured him standing on the roof of his Braddock home that is "right across the street" from a major U.S. Steel plant, and said, "I'm going to fight for the steelworkers and their union way of life here as well, too. And we cannot ever allow them to be screwed over or left behind."

Bipartisan opposition from Pennsylvania and Ohio senators

The Post-Gazette further reported that Sen. Fetterman is not alone in speaking out against the proposed $14 billion purchase of U.S. Steel by Japan's Nippon Steel, as he was joined by fellow Pennsylvania Democrat Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), who said the nation's "marquee steel company should remain under American ownership" and that the proposed sale "appeared to be a bad deal for Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania workers."

Also opposing the deal is right-leaning populist Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), who insisted that a foreign company should not be allowed to own "a critical piece of America’s defense industrial base."

"U.S. Steel announced the sale by celebrating the 'certain and immediate value' to be delivered to its shareholders," Vance said in a statement. "But rest assured that I will interrogate the long-term implications for the American people, and I will do everything in my power to protect the future of our nation’s security, industry and workers."

Proving the bipartisan nature of the opposition was a statement from Vance's progressive Ohio colleague, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who said, "A foreign company shouldn’t be able to swoop in, ignore the voices of union workers, and buy a major steel manufacturer behind closed doors," and added, "Today’s announcement between Nippon & U.S. Steel is an insult to the American steelworkers who build our country."

GOP senators urge Sec. Yellen to block approval for deal

CNN reported that Sen. Vance, along with Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), sent a letter on Tuesday to Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen to warn of the "dire implications" for U.S. national security and economic prosperity if the proposed purchase of U.S. Steel by Nippon Steel is granted federal approval.

The letter urged Yellen, who chairs the powerful Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, to withhold approval and block the deal.

Unfortunately, the outlet suggested that the expressed opposition from the bipartisan group of senators, which also includes Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), along with the steelworkers union will likely not be enough to halt the proposed deal, as the diplomatic need to keep Japan happy and cooperative in other areas, such as being closely allied against communist China and North Korea, will override the national security and economic prosperity concerns of the deal's opponents.

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