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Posted on Sat, May 15, 2010 : 8:26 a.m.

Catching up with Mark Schauer: Congressman talks high-speed rail, fair trade with China and more

By Ryan J. Stanton

U.S. Congressman Mark Schauer hails from Battle Creek, but his district stretches to the western limits of Ann Arbor — so he represents a good portion of Washtenaw County.

Schauer, who serves on the Railroad Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was in town on Friday, standing alongside Congressman John Dingell, D-Dearborn, as they championed the idea of bringing a high-speed rail system to Southeast Michigan.


Congressman Mark Schauer mingles with the crowd during Friday's candidate mixer hosted by the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"I've long been a supporter of high-speed passenger rail," said Schauer, a Democrat. "The Amtrak line runs right through my district from Battle Creek all the way through to Ann Arbor and I know the economic impact of increasing the speed and reliability of people being able to commute or travel from one downtown to another. So the economic impact will be great. The job impact of making improvements to the rail lines themselves will be very positive for our area and for our state, and it's the right kind of investment."

After a meeting on Friday with other local, state and federal officials, Schauer said he thinks consensus is forming around the idea.

"The CEO of Amtrak was at our meeting, along with the leaders of Northfolk Southern that own and control that east-west line," he said. "So I think there's a growing consensus about the urgency of getting resources to increase the speeds and reliabilities of the passenger trains, and I think there's a strategy now to get that done and I'm fully on board."

Schauer, who is in his first term in Congress, served in the Legislature for 12 years. Before that he worked in the human services nonprofit sector where he administered programs like Head Start for children and Meals on Wheels for seniors and "everything in between." But beyond that, he says, he has a passion for economic development and helping businesses grow. caught up with Schauer briefly on Friday.

Q: What have you been working on in Congress as of late on behalf of the residents you serve in the 7th District?

A: The reason I ran for Congress was to fight for Michigan jobs and one of the key issues in my last campaign was about trade and about a level playing field for Michigan workers and Michigan businesses to compete on. I just introduced a bill that really represents that. It deals with fair trade with China.

China has not signed on to a World Trade Organization agreement that deals with government contracts. So China has decided that they're not going to allow American businesses to compete on and win their government contracts paid by their tax dollars. And we're allowing Chinese companies to come in and bid on and win government contracts or government subcontracts and they're stealing our jobs and it's wrong.

That's a specific example of something I'm doing to make sure that our businesses and our workers can compete on a level playing field. The straw that broke the camel's back for me was when I found that some of our U.S. Census promotional materials that are urging people to fill in their Census form ... are made in China. (Holding up a keychain) This is a keychain that any tooling shop in Washtenaw County or Jackson County or anywhere around this Congressional district could make. And so we're using our tax dollars to support jobs in China rather than support jobs in Michigan and the U.S. and I'm working in Congress to change that.

Q: How did this happen?

A: It is a lack of common sense. I believe in fair trade. I believe in a level playing field and China is cheating in a number of ways. They're manipulating their currency to lower the cost of their goods and raise the cost of our goods. They're stealing our intellectual property, our patents and so forth. They're exporting to us unsafe products and then they're blocking their markets, their government contracts, to our businesses while they're bidding on and winning our government contracts. We shouldn't be doing it. We shouldn't be allowing it to happen.

Q: What else are you working on? What are some of the broader goals or ideas you'll be talking about in your reelection campaign this year? A: It really is all about helping make our state and our country more competitive. And that means helping entrepreneurs have the tools and resources to take their great ideas to market. And I'm doing that in a number of ways.

I'm supporting some grant programs and loan programs and research to help entrepreneurs in Michigan particularly compete in a global economy. It's making sure that our young people and our adults have the skills particularly in the area of science and technology and engineering and mathematics. It's critically important, so I'm focused on issues that will make us more competitive.

And the health care issue was an issue of economic competitiveness as well. We spend 16 percent of our nation's economy — our gross domestic product — on health care. The countries we're competing with spend 9 to 10 percent of their economies on health care, so we're not able to compete because of those disproportionately high costs. So I'm focused on anything that makes us more competitive and makes sure that we are ultimately in Michigan a global hub when it comes to the best research and development and manufacturing. I will fight to the end to make sure that we continue to be a manufacturing leader in a tough global economy right here in Michigan.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Sat, May 22, 2010 : 7 a.m.

The worst of overstretching was USSR in recent history. Actually the US could easily beat China in terms of exporting value forcefully and spending beyond means.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 6:50 a.m.

I have been very impressed with Mark Schauer; he had a difficult first year and proved to be an excellent representative for us. He has my vote again!


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 10:18 p.m.

I, too, have received Schauer's postcard stupidity. He carefully crafts the questions so you can only answer in support of his postion. His website is even worse. He is incapable of actually representing his constituents. All but one of the polls I read said that between 65 and 80 percent of Americans did not want this heathcare bill. And yet Schauer voted for it. This highspeed rail will only employ those in the rail business. It won't help those who build new homes. It won't help the retail clothing business. It won't help sell shrimp dinners or admission to an amusement park. The same goes for the road and bridge construction projects. The only people who benfit from these construction projects are already in the road and bridge construction business and are not going require lawn care or have a need to buy woodworking tools which by the way no woodworking tools, saws, drills, cordless tools, etc. are made in the USA. Most are made in China, Taiwan, Mexico, Philipines. Michigan needs someone who will actually represent the people of Michigan and not be concerned about the postion of his or her political party. Its time for business as usual to no longer be business as usual.


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 12:57 p.m.

Wake up, "REBBAPRAGADA"! America doesn't have luxury of stretching that far.


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 3:37 p.m.

Schauer may be 'popular' in the far eastern portion of the 7th District, but he's highly unpopular in the majority of the area. Some of the reasons are: a complete failure to understand and respond to the extreme high unemployment and plummeting standard of living in much of the district (over 15% in Jackson County most of last year), a failure to communicate with his constituents, total disregard for said constituents in town hall meetings (refusal to meet), inability to take a principled stand against Dem leadership even when his actions are against his constituents' best interests and a continued importation of SEIU thugs from Detroit and Muskegon to astro-turf any possible opportunity for citizen input. Note that this is in areas that dont even have SEIU members or locals! The man cant understand terms like 'smaller government' or 'unsustainable debt' and just cant face the fact that the majority of the district doesnt want to live in a collective - we're rural and we like it that way! He's been a globalist right down the line until he began campaigning for re-election - a total product of the Democratic Machine that tries to roll over the rural taxpayers that actually pay for much of the cities' tax-funded 'perks'. He'll be gone in November - because we'll be watching closely for ACORN and the vote-fraud of '08.. they wont get past us again!


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 10:29 a.m.

Thank you, Mark Schauer, for supporting the much-needed healthcare reform bill! It's a great start to cost containment, better care, and patient protection. And the stimulus bill you supported has saved jobs at my Washtenaw county employer and created dozens there as well. Economic and employment data make it clear--the stimulus bill is working and undoing much of the damage that Bush/Cheney did to our nation and state. Keep up the good work!!!

David Cahill

Sat, May 15, 2010 : 5:32 p.m.

Schauer has done a fine job as a first-term congressman. The economy - even in Michigan - is turning around. This year's race will be close, but I expect Schauer to be re-elected.


Sat, May 15, 2010 : 3:47 p.m.

Schauer is a disaster. I wrote to him several times and received boilerplate no answers to my questions at all. He puts out surveys with carefully crafted multiple choice answers and you are left with not being able to voice your opinion. I think he votes, acts as he is told. I do not see anything positive for Michigan he has accomplished. I do not get the "economic impact" of a high speed train. I would prefer local rail commuter lines. I suppose a high speed train to Chicago would be cool so we can shop there. High speed trains can't stop much though, so if you aren't at one end or the other, you can't use it. And referring to US health care spending to that in other countries shows he does not understand the health care issues. Everyone who knows the facts about health care know there is no basis to use that comparison. He rode in on the presidents' coat tails and he needs to go.

scooter dog

Sat, May 15, 2010 : 3:08 p.m.

I show him what I think of his under the table dealings when I vote him OUT of office next election.


Sat, May 15, 2010 : 8:58 a.m.

His vote on the health scam alone should be enough to vote against him in November. He will do nothing to curb government waste or reduce the trillions of dollars of spending that we will have to borrow from China. He wants to force China into a fair trade agreement. How is he going to do that when they hold the key to our financial solvency? The Dems have run Congress (and the federal checkbook) since 2006. They have an unprecedented (Pres. Obama's favorite word)level of borrow and spend that is unsustainable.

Juan Meden

Sat, May 15, 2010 : 8:53 a.m.

Mark Schauer has betrayed his constituents, imposing on us and our children and our grandchildren a crushing debt burden. He voted for a stimulus package that has done NOTHING to stimulate the economy of Michigan. He has fausted on the voters of Michigan an entitlement program that must be paid for in part out of non-existent state funds. He voted for a health care bill he had not read. He repeatedly pointed to a CBO study that has since proven to be wildly inaccurate. He repeatedly referred to an expansion of access to health care when he knew very well that no expansion would even begin to take place until 2014. In November Mark Schauer will be duly removed from office by the voters of his district as he should be.


Sat, May 15, 2010 : 8:42 a.m.

The U.S. deficit for 2011 is projected at $1.7 trillion. The new health care bill is going to be more expensive than predicted 2 months ago, (what a surprise). Nothing in the health care bill did anything to control costs. The green energy jobs all politicians talk about are going to China. And yet we once again get behind an idea that will NEVER pay for itself without continued tax payer help. Welcome to the NEW Greece.


Sat, May 15, 2010 : 8:39 a.m.

We do not need a Congressman who votes for bankrupting healtchcare and cap and trade down the throats of the Americam people. Schauer had his two years to prove himself and has failed like Obama. High speed rail is one of those liberal feed good projects. The reality is they are money losing ventures that cannot support themselves. We need a better steward of our hard earned tax dollars in DC. We start by turfing Schauer in 10!


Sat, May 15, 2010 : 7:59 a.m.

A good man for the job. He needs the support of all of us to defeat a far, far, right-winger.