GRANITE CITY, Ill. (KMOX) – A U.S. Congressman from Illinois says the head of U.S. Steel is promising there are no plans to permanently close the Granite City steel plant.

Congressman Mike Bost (IL-12), a member of the House Steel Caucus, met today with U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi and plant union leaders in Washington D.C.

IL Congressman Mike Bost with good news on future of Granite City Steel

Illinois Congressman Mike Bost with good news on future of Granite City Steel.

“We were told by the CEO today that with the investment they’ve made over the last couple of years, they are not going to completely shut down,” Bost says. “They are going to idle it, but they are not abandoning it. And their plan is bring these jobs back as soon as production can.”

On Wednesday, U.S. Steel sent layoff notices to the plant’s 2,080 workers, telling them that effective May 28, the plant will be closed indefinitely to await a change in market conditions.

Foreign steel imports to the U.S. rose 38 percent last year, driving down domestic steel production to 70 percent of capacity – the lowest in years.

Bost blames “currency manipulation” by foreign countries seeking to circumvent existing U.S. tariffs.

To cut off the flood of foreign steel imports, Bost says legislation is on the fast track to punish countries that manipulate their currency to increase exports.

“What the language is that we’re going to be looking at specifically is that if your currency manipulation occurs, then tariffs would occur,” Bost says, “to block that product from coming and flooding our markets.”

Bost plans to fly into the district tonight to meet with the Granite City mayor and county board members to update them on his efforts.

(TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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