(Daily Caller News Foundation) — Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri berated Biden-appointed Interior Secretary Deb Haaland for insinuating that workers should not be concerned about her department’s decision to block a major mining project because there are other jobs available.
The exchange occurred as the two discussed the Interior Department’s decision to impose a moratorium on mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota, essentially killing the proposed Twin Metals mine, which would primarily extract copper and nickel, according to Reuters.
Haaland defended the decision on the grounds that the moratorium would protect “valuable” ecological resources, prompting Hawley to interject that jobs for blue-collar workers and industrial independence from China are “valuable resources” before asking the secretary why those things are less important than the administration’s “radical” climate change agenda.
“Senator, I know that uh … there’s like 1.9 jobs for every American in the country right now, so I know there’s a lot of jobs,” said Haaland, before Hawley interrupted her.
“Wait a minute, you’re telling me,” said Hawley, pausing mid-sentence to chuckle, “you’re telling me we’ve got too many jobs in the country?”
“Well I’m saying that we don’t have enough people, that’s why we’re having a hard time finding folks to work at our department,” Haaland responded.
“Wait, you’re telling me we have too many jobs for blue-collar workers; have you seen the number of jobs we have lost in this country to China in the last 20 years? Do you know where those jobs come from?” Hawley asked. “Over 3 million jobs have gone to China, do you know where those jobs have come from?”
“They are blue-collar workers, and you’re sitting here telling me we have too many jobs in this country?” Hawley added. “Are you serious?”
Haaland responded that the agency was “working hard” and had processed 20 mine or mine modification permits since January 2021. The agency is “moving forward, we’re doing our jobs, we’re fulfilling our mission,” said Haaland, before she was again interrupted by Hawley, who said the department was “moving backward” by denying permits and shutting down mines.
“You’re sitting here telling me: ‘We’ve got too many jobs in this country, we got gobs of jobs in this country, we don’t need any more jobs in this country,’” Hawley continued. “I want to take the strongest possible exception to that comment and to that entire mentality … which is when it comes to blue-collar workers in this country: ‘You’re on your own … Just shut up and go get a job at McDonald’s, you know? Whatever.’ … I mean Good Lord, that is extraordinary! What an extraordinary response!”