Wyden, Merkley Help Save Oregon Manufacturing Jobs

Washington, D.C.
Fighting against
a decision by the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) that would
have devastated Oregon knife manufacturers, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden
(D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) saw the amendment they co-sponsored
to prohibit the reclassification of certain knives as switchblades
included in the final FY 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations bill
that passed the Senate today. 

The amendment was
sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and a number of senators from
both parties. CPB’s proposed reclassification of the knives would have
jeopardized over 1,000 jobs in Oregon alone. Wyden has just taken the
reins as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on
International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness, which oversees
the CBP and trade issues.
“This is a
textbook case of agency overreach threatening legitimate commerce.
Everyone understands why it’s important to control switchblades, but
these folding knives are tools used by Oregonians in their work and in
sports like hunting and fishing,” said Wyden.  “I’m pleased that a bipartisan group came together to protect jobs for American workers and our state’s economy.
sporting knives as switchblades would have unnecessarily cost
Oregonians good working class jobs and harmed Oregon companies,” said Merkley.
 “I applaud my Senate colleagues for supporting our amendment to
protect and preserve Oregon jobs and ensure that companies can continue
making their products right here in America.”  
is a national leader in the specialty knife industry, with legendary
companies like Gerber, Leatherman, Benchmade and Kershaw each employing
hundreds. The Customs proposal itself was a reversal of a 2005 ruling
which allowed for the knives to be bought and sold in the US.
June, Wyden, Merkley and four of Oregon’s five House members wrote to
Customs asking them to delay the adoption of the new rule so that
citizens affected by the change could weigh in on the issue. When
Customs failed to do so, and after consulting with relevant law
enforcement authorities, the senators worked with members of the Senate
Committee on Appropriations to craft language reversing the rule change
and protecting the associated jobs.