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>> The blast furnaces at US Steel's Granite City Works in Illinois have been idle for 18 months. And laid off steel workers here are pinning their hopes on President Donald Trump who campaigned on reviving the industry. The White House now weighing whether to raise tariffs on imported steel based on national security grounds.
Steel worker Chris Bragg who was laid off in 2015, is hopeful they'll take action.>> We're being optimistic that the economy will turn around and we'll start making steel here. We're one of the best steel makers in the nation, we just need the opportunity to make steel.>> Most of the mill was idled as oil prices fell and imported steel flooded in.
The industry says it needs more protections to keep dumped foreign steel out of the country and boost domestic production.>> We can compete against any of these other countries if we level the playing field, and that seems to be the problem. The price of hot band steel right now is at a price that we could be profitable, it's just we lack the volume and the orders.
And those orders are being replaced by lower cost imported steel.>> But companies that consume steel, fear restricting imports will raise prices, threatening jobs in other industries, Reuters David Lauder.>> If President Trump follows through on his promises to help the steel industry, and help shield it from imports.
That will create some more breathing room for the industry, to be able to get more of the plants that it has idled back up and running, to serve domestic steel demand. Which is on a fairly steady track, the economy's doing pretty well, but at the same time, it's going to raise prices for steel users.
Everybody from the auto industry to appliances to the oil industry. So it's a double edged sword, if he's going to help one industry out there could be repercussions for other downstream industries. And there's a debate right now to decide which way to go on this.>> That internal debate is on whether the president should use a cold war era law to restrict imported goods deemed critical to national defense.
A decision is expected within days or weeks.