After the jump, a slew of Congresspeople offer a range of reasons why the "deal" is no deal. For instance, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) says,
I fear there are remnants of the failed FTA-WTO trade model in the May 10 agreement which will only lead to further hemorrhaging of U.S. jobs and the erosion of American manufacturing and service industries.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) does a particularly thorough job of bullet-pointing any number of NAFTA-model provisions that the "deal" completely fails to address. Read more after the break.
[Congressional Record: May 21, 2007 (House)]
TRADE AND LABOR
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Hill). Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 18, 2007, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hare) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
Mr. HARE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Illinois?
There was no objection.
Mr. HARE. Mr. Speaker, we are going to be doing several 1-hour Special Orders, and we have done them since January. I can't think of an issue that is more important and more pressing to us in this Chamber than trade and the saving of our jobs back in our districts.
We are going to be hearing tonight from a number of my colleagues on the Congressional Labor and Working Families Caucus, the House Trade Working Group, and Members of our side of the aisle that believe it is time that working people have somebody stand up and be their voices when their voices aren't heard.
So, Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to recognize a fellow Illinoisan from the Illinois delegation, a good friend of mine, someone who has took taken it upon himself to stand up for working people. So at this time I would like to yield to my colleague, Representative Dan Lipinski.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Illinois for yielding to me and also for all the hard work that he has done in his short career in Congress but in many years before that for America's workers.
I rise today with serious concerns about the trade policy of our country. This is a concern shared by tens of millions of Americans who have concerns every day about keeping their jobs or they have lost their jobs and being unable to find another job where they could possibly earn as much money as we see the trade policy of this country destroying so many good American jobs.
This trade policy has contributed to a record high, soaring trade deficit. There is wage depression and loss of quality, high-paying jobs. With the Panama, Peru, Colombia, and South Korea trade agreements pending congressional approval, we must take action now to correct the mistakes of previous trade agreements and ensure
that any new trade agreements benefit all Americans, be enforceable, and be enforced.
It is clear that our previous trade agreements have not benefited everybody. For evidence of this, look no further than North American Free Trade agreement and the damaging record that it has provided us. Since NAFTA was signed into law, the U.S. has seen enormous amounts of production shift to Mexico and Canada, while real wages for U.S. workers have fallen.
My district, which includes parts of Chicago and its suburbs and the larger Great Lakes region, has been particularly hard hit by job losses. This has been the case especially in manufacturing. Between 1995 and 2005, the United States lost more than 3 million manufacturing jobs. More than one-third of this job loss occurred in the seven Great Lakes States, with Chicagoland losing over 100,000 manufacturing jobs.
Losses in manufacturing jobs are important. I know there are some people who say a job is a job. It doesn't matter. If you lose these jobs, you will get other jobs.
Well, first of all, manufacturing jobs are special. America must be able to make products, first for our national security, but these manufacturing jobs are high-paying jobs, and they are jobs that add so much value and create other jobs in this country. They offer high wages, good benefits, and they offer jobs to many Americans who do not have college degrees. When our manufacturing jobs leave to cheaper labor markets, weaker labor standards, lax environmental protections and to countries practicing unfair trade practices, workers are left behind.
In my district, I hear constantly from manufacturers who are talking about their struggles to compete largely today against China, China's manipulated currency, which is largely undervalued. All the work that these manufacturers are doing to try to keep jobs in the United States, unfortunately, we see so many of these jobs going and so many of these plants closing.
What happens to these workers? Many of them go looking for other jobs. They find jobs in the service sector. Ninety-eight percent of the net new jobs in 1990s were in the service sector. Unfortunately, compensation in the service industry is only 81 percent of the manufacturing sector's average; and then the influx of these displaced workers just drives down these wages even more.
Yet still we always hear from those in favor of these flawed trade deals that trade creates more jobs than it displaces. Unfortunately, the facts show this is not the case. In fact, in the first 10 years after NAFTA, the displacement in production from the United States to Mexico and Canada directly led to a net loss of 879,000 U.S. jobs. My State, Illinois, lost a net total of 47,000 jobs. Mr. Hare knows very well, he has seen it in his district, how hard these losses have hit, as I have seen them in my district. This has decreased our average earnings, our quality of life and our ability to provide for our families.
The fact that our government negotiated trade agreements that yielded these kinds of results is, at best, embarrassing. We must ensure that these mistakes are not repeated in future trade deals.
This year congressional leaders on trade have been negotiating with the administration to improve the pending trade deals with Panama, Peru, Colombia, and South Korea. On May 10, an agreement was announced that would incorporate some environmental and labor protections into the pending trade agreements with Panama and Peru. While this is certainly a start, these negotiations must not be viewed as complete. There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of NAFTA, CAFTA, and all our other failed trade deals. I hope in the coming weeks and months that Congress can address these past failures and make trade work for everyone.
And in this, also, we must, we must, include addressing currency manipulation, especially by China. Lack of enforcement of intellectual property, which is, again, another problem that hits Americans very hard, unfair subsidies that are given by some countries to some of their industries and dumping that is done, all of these greatly hurt the United States, and we must make sure that all this is included anytime that we are dealing with trade. The livelihood of so many Americans, millions and millions of Americans and their families, depend on it.
We are working together with my colleagues here to make sure that we create good trade deals for America and Americans. The purpose of American trade policy should be to create good jobs for Americans. The bottom line should not just be profits. The bottom line has to be the lives and the work of millions of Americans, and we must make sure that we stand up strong every day for them.
Mr. HARE. I thank the gentleman.
At this time, Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize a member of our freshmen class, someone who has worked very hard and campaigned on this issue of standing up for ordinary people, working men and women.
It is my honor to yield to Representative Keith Ellison.
Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Hare, thank you for leading us in this very important Special Order tonight. Trade is one of the critical issues facing our Nation.
Let me say that on the campaign trail, Mr. Speaker, I found myself talking about jobs, employment, and opportunity to people on a daily basis. Whether I went to the suburban areas or the heart of Minneapolis, I could talk to people about trade. And it wasn't just people who were in labor unions. Also, Mr. Speaker, it was people who had small businesses.
One particular business that does a metal plating service was very concerned about trade and expressed to me how vital it was that they be able to continue to compete with other companies around the world that do metal plating but that they were in jeopardy and loss of business all the time due to trade policy.
So whether you are a small business person, farmer, worker, no matter who you may happen to be, trade policies are affecting our country, and we need to be very clear about it.
As I was on the campaign trail, I ran into people who were recent immigrants who were concerned about immigration policy; and, Mr. Speaker, here is what they told me. They said, look, prior to NAFTA, we were doing okay where we lived, but after NAFTA it got a lot harder to run a farm in certain southern parts of our country, and we just couldn't make a go of it anymore. So some folks started moving north.
Now the fact is we have to understand that whether we are talking about small business people, trade unionists, people who have been forced to immigrate, no matter what you are talking about, trade policy is critical. So when I was on the campaign trail, Mr. Speaker, one of the things I made very clear to people is that I was concerned about trade, that I wanted to do something about trade, and we need a model for trade that said that we were not going to export our jobs. We were not going to incentivize sending our jobs away. We were going to care about the human rights of people abroad. We were going to care about our small businesses here, and we were going to have a new trade policy that said that Americans who are trying to live the American Dream and experience prosperity could do it right here and would not be subject to an unfair trade policy of our Nation.
So, Mr. Speaker, I set about this journey working hard, working with my colleagues in the freshmen class, talking about trade and how we could get a better trade deal, Mr. Speaker. So I am very concerned about these issues.
On May 10, 2007, the Bush administration and congressional leadership talked about a new, with bipartisan cooperation, deal on trade; and I am not saying that the deal is bad or good. What I am saying is that we have got to be very clear, very careful about how we proceed forward.
I am happy about the announcement of labor standards and environmental standards. Of course, those things are good. But, Mr. Speaker, we can't rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. We need a whole new boat. We need a new model. We need a new way of going forward.
The ``deal'' covers changes to certain provisions of the Bush- negotiated free trade agreement with Peru, Panama, but also Colombia and South Korea.
The legal texts of the proposed agreement have not been made public, though summaries have been shared with Members of Congress.
We appreciate the chairman's willingness to work with the AFL-CIO on the labor chapter and are pleased to see a commitment to the International Labour Organization's standards on the May 10 agreement. However, we have got to be careful as we go forward, because, ultimately, it is going to be the Bush administration that is responsible for enforcing these labor standards; and we are a little skeptical. Let me be clear.
We remain concerned, I remain concerned over the future of ``fast track'' authority, and the proposed Korea and Colombia Free Trade Agreements. Congress needs to reassert its authority over trade policy as we move forward.
We are concerned, and speaking for myself, I am concerned, that as we go forward, that we make sure that we have a new model on trade, a new commitment to the working people of America, a new commitment to the human rights and environmental rights around the world.
I fear there are remnants of the failed FTA-WTO trade model in the May 10 agreement which will only lead to further hemorrhaging of U.S. jobs and the erosion of American manufacturing and service industries.
Mr. Speaker, over 3 million U.S. manufacturing jobs, one in every six, have been lost under the FTA-WTO trade model. By the end of 2005, the U.S. had only 14,232,000 manufacturing jobs left, which is nearly down 17 million before NAFTA and the WTO went into effect in the early 1990s.
What makes these already horrible statistics worse is the fact that the U.S. job export crisis is expanding from manufacturing to high-tech and service-oriented jobs. Contrary to the belief of Big Business and the multinational corporations, the decline of U.S. manufacturing is not the result of Americans simply choosing different careers; in fact, job loss and wage stagnation are increasingly affecting workers from sectors where the U.S. is understood to have a competitive advantage, such as professional services and high technology.
Studies commissioned by the U.S. Government show that as many as 48,000 jobs in U.S. jobs, including many high-tech jobs, were off- shored in the first 3 months of 2004 alone. Economy.com estimates that nearly 1 million U.S. jobs have been lost to off-shoring since 2000, with one in six of those being in IT, financial services and other services. Goldman Sachs estimates that about half a million U.S. service jobs were off-shored between 2002 and 2005.
Projections of future job losses are frightening. A University of California-Berkeley study concluded that 14 million jobs with an annual average salary of almost $40,000 are vulnerable to being sent overseas. That is a lot of food, clothing and shelter, Mr. Speaker, and we cannot tolerate the loss of these important jobs. Additionally, we can expect up to 25 percent of additional IT jobs will be relocated by 2010. We can't let it happen. Furthermore, since NAFTA, the U.S. trade deficit has risen from about $100 billion to about $717 billion, or 6 percent of national income. Mr. Speaker, we can't allow that to continue to happen.
Remember that real wages for U.S. workers are flat or declining, and jobs now available in the U.S. economy suffer and offer less pay and fewer benefits than jobs that we've lost since 1994.
Our Nation is in trouble when it comes to trade policy, and we've got to have a change. And we don't have confidence, or I don't have confidence, in this administration to make sure that any standards are being enforced, and we've got to demand that they are.
So, Mr. Speaker, there is a lot to be said about this. I look forward to the continuation of this Special Order because trade policy is important to the American people. It was a common theme on the campaign trail during my election, and from what I've heard from my freshman colleagues, they are very concerned about it, too. Mr. Speaker, we need a new trade policy.
I want to yield back at this time, but I want to commend my fellow Members and colleagues, and especially freshman Members, on standing up for American working people, business people, immigrants, and all kinds of people when it comes to trade policy.
Mr. HARE. I thank my colleague for taking time out of a very busy schedule to address this issue. He is an outstanding member of the freshman class.
Mr. Speaker, you are going to hear tonight, by the way, a number of Members talking, because this literally goes from Maine to California, in terms of the Midwest. This isn't just a regional 1-hour we're having this evening.
I would like to introduce at this time a Member from California. He is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, and a very active member on the House Trade Working Group, my friend and colleague, Representative Brad Sherman from California.
Mr. SHERMAN. I thank the gentleman from Illinois not only for recognizing me, but for his leadership in putting together this hour and so many other hours. I thank him also for mentioning that the subcommittee which I now chair has the trade jurisdiction of the Foreign Affairs Committee because there is a great debate in this country as to whether to continue, basically, our trade policy or whether to go in a completely different direction.
On the side of continuation, and those who favor continuation, they want to dress it up a little bit, add a little perfume, try to make it smell a little better, but those who basically want to continue the policy come in two forms. One is what I call ``the chattering classes,'' the lawyers and MBAs, because frankly trade has been a boom to those in those particular groups. The whole world looks to the United States for lawyering, for management, for advanced management classes. And in fact, those at the upper end of business and law have done extremely well under our trade agreements, notwithstanding the effect they've had on America.
The second group are those who took Economics 101 and became so enamored of the theory, so proud that they understood the basic theories, that they chose never to question whether those theories actually applied to real life.
On the other side of this debate are those from the heartland who have seen the actual effects of trade on their districts, and those of us who are just a little skeptical of a policy that has cost America a trade deficit last year of $800 billion.
What does that mean? That means that we bring in the Toyotas and the Volvos and the Mercedes, and what do we give in return? We give IOUs, promissory notes, investment assets, stocks and bonds. So every year we have to borrow $800 billion, and that number will be higher; it was a little less than $800 billion last year, it will be a little more than $800 billion this year. Now, when those Toyotas and Mercedes come over, they are never going back to Germany and Japan. But those promissory notes, those stock certificates, those bonds, those U.S. Government bonds, the private sector bonds, not only do we have to sell another $800 billion of them this year, but we have to fear that they are going to cash in the ones we gave them last year and the year before. The Mercedes are never going back to Germany, but the promissory notes we gave to Germany, they're coming back someday. And so those of us who are not on the front lines in terms of our districts have to worry about what our trade policy has meant.
So why is it that the theory breaks down? Isn't trade good for everyone? And isn't the way to encourage trade and fair access and open markets to negotiate a reduction in tariffs around the world? Sounds great, doesn't it? If you think the whole world operates the way America operates. You see, if you are sitting in Beijing, and you want access to the American market, then you realize that the only way we in Congress, the only way we in the Federal Government affect the behavior of consumers and businesses is to pass written laws and regulations. And so, if you're in Beijing and you want access to America's markets, you negotiate to change America's laws and regulations. And once you do, then your goods can come flooding into the United States because individual businesses and individual consumers will buy them.
And we, being basically ignorant of the world and in love with our theories,
somehow picture China as just a poor, but larger, version of the United States, a place where their markets will be open if they only will change their written laws and regulations. And so we sign deals, and laws and regulations are changed. And when laws and regulations are changed, the United States, the effect is dramatic. And when laws and regulations are changed in an awful lot of countries, there is no effect at all, because if a society is not a society that follows the rule of law, then when we negotiate for a change in laws, we negotiate for an empty sack. And that is what happens, for example, with China.
Imagine yourself a Chinese business person, and you get a call from a commissar, maybe a member of their Parliament, saying, Don't buy the American goods, buy the French goods, because the French are smart enough to demand fair trade; they are going to insist on balanced trade. If we want access to the French market, we've got to buy their stuff. So buy the French stuff. That will help our international position. Don't buy the American goods.
You get that instruction orally. There is nothing America can do about it. Even with all of our wiretapping, it's highly unlikely that we will ever hear the conversation.
And what happens? We don't sell the American goods. That is where the theory breaks down. A society that follows the rule of law, negotiating for a change in laws with a society that does not follow the rule of law. That is why it is foolish for us to enter into these trade deals.
So, those who want to keep our trade policies pretty much the way they are are a little angry because the facts aren't on their side. Last year's trade deficit was bigger than the year before and bigger than the year before that, and this year's will be still higher. So they resort to ad hominem attacks on people like the gentleman from Illinois and myself. They describe us as simpletons, too dumb to understand their highfalutin theories, as Luddites, as xenophobes, and as people protecting the parochial interests of the heartland and Midwest.
Well, I am certainly no proof of whether we are all simpletons or not; I can't offer you anything there. I'm sure we are going to hear from quite a number of quite eloquent and brilliant legislators who will give the lie to that argument. But I can give the lie to the argument that we are here protecting parochial interests of the American heartland, because, as the gentleman points out, I am from Los Angeles. Our port is doing real well. The goods come into the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in enormous quantities in those containers, and then the containers go back empty or filled with raw materials and scrap iron.
And also, in addition to representing the city of Los Angeles and its port, the port isn't actually in my district, but my city runs it, I also represent half the city of Burbank. And if there are any industries that benefit from these trade agreements, there are those industries that don't really produce much of a physical product, but rely on getting paid for intellectual properties, our drug companies and our entertainment companies.
And so, if I was here out of parochial interest, I might point to this or that different industry in my district or my city. And if any district should support these trade deals, it ought to be mine, but no district in America should support these trade deals because they are undermining the value of the dollar, they are undermining the power of America, and, ultimately, they are unsustainable.
For how many years will the world loan us $600-, 700-, $800 billion a year? For how many years will the world send us the Toyotas and Mercedes and expect nothing but pieces of paper in return? The day of reckoning is coming. Perhaps the implosion of the U.S. dollar is coming. But things that cannot go on forever don't, and a trade deficit of $800 billion and growing is simply unsustainable.
I have a lot more to say, but so many others do as well. I will yield back to the gentleman from Illinois.
Mr. HARE. I thank my friend from California. And let me just say that those who would question your intelligence and your wisdom on this issue of trade do so at their own peril.
Now, if I could, Mr. Speaker, introduce someone I have known for many years prior to coming to the House of Representatives, a person who has stood up for senior citizens, working people in her legislative district here in Congress, and someone who serves as my mentor and a great friend, someone who is never afraid to take on the tough battles, my friend I would like to introduce, Jan Schakowsky.
Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. I thank the gentleman whose leadership I appreciate so much on this very important issue. You have beautifully filled the footsteps, the shoes, of your predecessor, Congressman Lane Evans, who was also a champion for workers' rights, for the rights of ordinary people. And I appreciate that you are standing up for millions of American workers who have suffered from the trade policies that we have had.
I think it is important to note that the new class of Members who joined this Congress, far from being unsophisticated, understand that the trade policies that have been negotiated have harmed their constituents not just in the Rust Belt of the Midwest but around this country and brought those issues to their constituents and, vice versa, listened to their constituents.
Look, we all understand that this is a global world, that globalization is a reality, but now we need to control it and this Congress now has to reassert its authority over U.S. trade policy. We have an opportunity to do that now, to make sure that it works not only for the wealthiest multinational corporations but for workers and for our environment. So I appreciate very much the leadership that others have shown, particularly you, Mr. Hare, tonight with this special order.
On May 10, 2007, the Bush administration officials and congressional leaders announced a new trade deal. While the agreement does show real progress in terms of moving the Bush administration in the direction of enforcing labor and environmental standards, the details of the negotiated package and their real-life impact are not clear and are troubling.
So while I want to applaud the work of Chairman Rangel and others to make major improvements to the labor and environmental provisions, I have to say, frankly, that I have no confidence that the Bush administration, the same administration that has relentlessly attacked the rights of workers right here at home, let alone in other countries, would enforce those standards.
We have yet to see the text of the proposed agreements, ``the deal,'' but a detailed description has been made available by the Ways and Means Committee and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and I am concerned that an outdated trade model that has decimated U.S. manufacturing remains intact.
Over 3 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since NAFTA took effect. I think many of those who voted for NAFTA would agree that it has not worked out in favor of the United States and its workers, or Mexican workers either, for that matter. American wages since then have stagnated and our trade deficit has ballooned to a staggering $717 billion. It is not a model we want to mimic. It is no wonder that no union or environmental group or small business has supported the deal, while all of big business has.
There are those who suggest that those of us who have serious questions about the deal on trade are just mad about being left out of a press conference or, similarly, are wasting time so we delay the process. But the truth is there are substantive critical issues that affect these millions of Americans that we are speaking for tonight.
The deal provides no assurances, for example, against a free trade agreement with Colombia, the country with the world's highest rate of labor union assassinations, or countries like Korea that continue to use every means to block American products, or the renewal of Fast Track trade authority.
Instead of delivering on the public's demand for a new trade policy, the deal facilitates more Bush trade deals that contain the worst provisions of NAFTA and CAFTA. Even if the deal is 100 percent implemented, resulting trade pacts would extend the NAFTA-CAFTA model.
The deal would ban U.S. efforts to prohibit offshoring jobs and to ban buy-American policies. How could Democrats, who have been fighting to expand and preserve such important U.S. policies, support a trade agreement that explicitly bans those very same policies?
The deal does absolutely nothing to address the free trade agreement threats to Federal and State prevailing wage guarantees. Nothing was done.
The deal allows the country of Peru to be sued if they dare to reverse its failed social security privatization plan. Seeing that Democrats actually beat back the Bush proposal for privatization of our Social Security plan, Peru's labor federation asked democratic trade leaders to fix this problem. Yet it is unaddressed in this deal.
The deal fails to remove the outrageous NAFTA Chapter 11 foreign investor privileges that create incentives for U.S. firms to move offshore and expose our most basic environmental, health, zoning and other laws to attack in foreign tribunals. We won't as a sovereign state even be able to protect those kinds of important laws.
The deal does nothing to address FTA- and NAFTA-style agricultural rules that will foreseeably result in widespread displacement of peasant farmers, increasing hunger, social unrest and desperate immigration. We talk about immigration and people crossing our border, and yet we have trade policies that impoverish farmers in Mexico, who quite naturally are going to do anything they can to protect their families and are willing to risk their lives in the desert to come to the United States. Trade is part and should be part of our immigration debate. This deal does absolutely nothing.
Mr. Speaker, what I want to say is that this is a moment of opportunity where a Democratic majority in Congress can get a grip on these trade policies to set a new direction that raises all workers around the world, that respects our environment at such a critical moment in history, that really does good, not just for the rights of multinational corporations who show no loyalty to any country but to our workers and hard-working people around the world.
We can do better, we should do better, and we have an obligation to our constituents to do better. That is all we are asking for. Let's go back to the drawing boards, not forever, not for an unlimited period of time, but let's go back to the drawing boards and create something that we all can be proud of in this country.
Thank you so much, Mr. Hare, for your leadership.
Mr. HARE. Thank you, Representative Schakowsky. Thank you for our leadership on the issue of trade.
Before I introduce our next speaker, I want to say one thing our colleague talked about regarding the President being able to enforce labor standards. If you look just in this country, you don't have to go to Peru, you don't have to go to Panama or Korea, in the over 6 years he has been in office, we have only had one major standard by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration by this administration; and they were sued to have to get it. So I am not about to put my eggs in the basket of this administration to enforce any type of workers' rights in other countries.
At this time, Mr. Speaker, I am honored to introduce someone who has taken the leadership role in our class, someone who ran on this issue of standing up for working people, someone who I look up to and I spent a great deal of time talking with about this issue of trade, who is not afraid to speak up on behalf of working people.
It is wonderful to have colleagues like my friend, Betty Sutton, who understands. She comes from an area in Ohio where there has been a loss of jobs. She has been a labor law attorney. She knows what working people have had to go through.
I am honored to be in her class, I am honored to call her my friend, and I am honored to introduce her this evening, Representative Betty Sutton.
Ms. SUTTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman.
Congressman Hare, your leadership on this issue is unparalleled; and on behalf of not just myself but all those whom I represent in the Thirteenth District of Ohio, we thank you so much.
Thank you for organizing this Special Order hour. It is so important that we communicate the truth about what is going on and hopefully with the intent to influence it in a way that will make a difference in the lives of those we represent.
Last November, the American people and the people back in the Thirteenth District of Ohio cast their vote to put an end to the flawed trade model that has had a devastating impact on our families, our businesses, our workers, our farmers and our communities and the tax base of our communities.
Last week or a week or so ago, an announcement was made that the U.S. will require the inclusion of labor and environmental standards in the pending Peru and Panama free trade agreements. This is welcome news. But while it might appear encouraging that these deals seemingly provide for the possibility of stronger labor and environmental standards, any enforceability of those standards, unfortunately, is dependent upon the Bush administration; and, given its abominable record, you can be certain that enforcement will not happen.
Why do I say that? Well, for example, in 2000, Congress passed a free trade agreement with Jordan. That agreement had the support of many Members in this body who were committed to fair trade. Because it included those labor and environmental standards, they supported and voted for it. However, there has been no enforcement of those labor standards, even though documented violations have been extreme.
So there is really little reason to believe that the same result would not prove true with the pending FTAs, even if they contain similar standards. The language on a written paper is not enough. It has to be enforced.
My constituents and the people across this country voted for a much greater change in direction on trade than simply including labor and environmental standards which won't be enforced into our agreements. The American people cast their votes for a new majority in both the House and the Senate, hoping that we would help strengthen the shrinking middle-class, restore the American dream that has been offshored due to the harmful trade agreements and unfair trade practices that have persisted for more than a decade.
The American people are counting on this new Congress in this moment to finally address the devastation of our failed trade policies and the soaring trade deficit by developing a new trade model that will no longer leave American businesses and workers at a disadvantage. They are counting on us to enact a trade model that will not reward companies who move overseas or encourage them to outsource jobs or our future. They are counting on us to develop a trade model that will put an enforceable end to illegal subsidies and currency manipulation. They are counting on us to develop a trade model that will provide incentives to help our businesses and workers and our communities thrive. They are counting on us to develop a trade model that requires reciprocity of market access and ensures greater safety of products produced elsewhere and consumed here.
The American people are counting on the Democratic majority in this new Congress to provide a trade model that will truly allow for fair competition, because we know that, if given a fair playing field, we will excel in the global marketplace.
This is not about being pro-trade or anti-trade. This is about the rules of trade and making sure that they are fair and enforceable. The American people want nothing more, and they deserve nothing less.
I am committed to continuing the fight to deliver to the American people a truly new trade model that fixes this broken system that is fair and under which we will prosper.
With respect to the pending Panama and Peru FTAs, which represent only a minute portion of trade with the U.S., I have yet to see them in full. However, it should be understood that Congress must reclaim its constitutional authority and responsibility over trade and not continue down the path of ceding our responsibility to the administration. It is our job to assure a vibrant and fair trade policy. We must focus
our attention on that task before it is too late.
My home State of Ohio has lost over 200,000 manufacturing jobs since 2001. Sometimes I am dismissed because I come from a State that has been hit hard. People say, oh, well, she is just from a place where it has felt it, but we can just write that off, because it is not affecting that many people.
Well, in the first instance, it is not okay to write off the people of Ohio. A lot of families are suffering, though, beyond my district's borders, and they need a new trade model now. The inclusion of labor standards and environmental standards in trade agreements means little if they won't be enforced.
And it means little if we don't fix the broken system.
When I arrived here as a freshman member of this class I am so honored to be a part of, I listened to my freshmen colleagues, and I heard them talking about how these issues, this issue, this issue of trade was hurting the people they represented. They came from one side of the country to the other, from the top to the bottom, from Florida to New Hampshire, Iowa to Ohio to Pennsylvania. All across this country people are feeling the ill effects of our failed trade model. We must develop a new trade model that is enforceable and comprehensive, and we must do it immediately to keep the faith with the American people.
Mr. HARE. Thank you, Ms. Sutton, and I hope you can stick around and we can have a little dialogue in a few minutes.
Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to introduce someone who is one of the strongest advocates for veterans in this country. He serves as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Health of the Veterans' Affairs Committee. He is a former mill worker who saw his company shut down. He is the cochair of the House Trade Working Group and probably the leading voice in this body to stand up for working men and women. I am honored to have him as my chairman and friend, and I yield to the gentleman from Maine (Mr. Michaud).
Mr. MICHAUD. Mr. Hare, I, too, would like to thank you very much for taking a leadership role in the freshmen class along with Ms. Sutton from Ohio. The freshmen class has done an outstanding job talking about trade issues, and I appreciate your leadership.
When I campaigned for office for my seat 5 years ago, the cornerstone of my campaign was fixing our broken trade policy. I firmly believe in order to address our trade imbalance, we have to change the model. It appears that the deal that was cut a few weeks ago by the administration and the leadership does not change that model. It is the same old NAFTA model with a couple of improvements. Americans don't want the same old model with a few Band-Aids. They want a fix. This election reaffirms that Americans are calling for an all-out new trade policy that puts our industry on a competitive playing field. Any deals between Capitol Hill and the Bush administration that fails to change this flawed model means that we are going to continue to see the U.S. trade deficit continue to rise, and it is going to destroy hundreds of thousands of our critical middle-class workers, our manufacturing base here in this country.
In Maine, we lost over 23 percent of our manufacturing base alone. The reason I know that, because they qualified for trade adjustment assistance. So trade has affected Maine very deeply.
This new deal, there are no unions, environmental groups, consumers, or small business groups support this deal, while all of the big businesses do. Some groups have remained neutral to find out what is actually in the deal. Those who have the most money to gain are praising the deal. Those who represent the working men and women of this country are not.
I am not the only Member of Congress who firmly believes that our trade model needs to be changed. There are countless others, especially those who are leading the freshmen class, believe we need a new model. They ran and fought for fair trade. They simply cannot go home and tell their constituents it is the same old model with a few improvements.
Adding new labor and environmental provisions is a step towards a new policy, but placing those provisions into a NAFTA-style pact is not going to solve the problem.
We also have concerns about those provisions and whether or not they are enforceable. There are those in this town who say it is a good deal because there are loopholes in the labor provisions. But since our membership has not seen the actual text of these agreements, how are we to know whether or not they are enforceable? From what we understand, the deal fails to address many of the damaging elements of the NAFTA model.
The deal does nothing to address the FTA's ban on anti-off-shoring or buy American policy. As you heard earlier, the deal does nothing to fix Peru's FTA terms that would allow Citibank or some other U.S. investors providing private retirement accounts to sue Peruvian taxpayers in Peru to reverse its failed social security privatization.
Does this deal fail to protect our intellectual property rights? No one knows.
But also when you look at trade, and trying to look at the globalization of what is going on around the world, there are other issues we have to address. The fact that there is a $327 billion disadvantage on U.S. goods because of the value-added tax, that has to be looked at. We have to look at the current trade deals that have been negotiated and see how we can bring the $800 billion worth of trade deficit back in line, because if we don't, we are heading on a collision course.
We have the largest trade deficit in our history. We have the largest budgetary deficit in our history. The debt limit was increased over $9 trillion with 45 percent owned by foreigners. We have to start addressing this issue. It is a serious issue, and I look forward to working with my colleagues from the freshmen class as well as my colleagues on the Republican side and the leadership to really put forward a trade model that will actually work for not only America, but for other countries as well.
I yield back.
Mr. HARE. I thank my colleague.
I worked in a clothing factory. I cut lining for men's suits. I have three plants left in my district. They are hanging on by a thread. I can't support trade agreements that are going to outsource jobs. I have done town hall meetings since I got elected. I ran on this issue of standing up for ordinary people.
I had a plant in my district, Maytag, with 1,600 workers. Two wage concessions those folks gave up. The company was given $9 million in State funds, and they bolted to Senora, Mexico. Thank you very much, Maytag.
They left people like David Brevard, whose wife has cancer, with very little, if any, health care left. I cannot go back to my district and say to the Dave Brevards, I hope you understand that we have some things, if we let Bush handle some of, if we let the administration handle some of this, we are going to be just fine. Just hang on a little longer.
I can't do that. I have drawn a line in the sand on this issue of trade. It is how I ran, and it is why I am here. I am not going to vote for a fast track bill that is going to take jobs away from this country. I'm not doing it.
Some people would say, here is a protectionist. Yes, if the definition means I'm trying to protect American jobs, then I am. I want the record to state that I'm a card-carrying capitalist. I believe in trade. I just want this thing fair.
I would ask the people and the Speaker tonight, look at the Korean trade agreement where 700,000 automobiles were shipped in here from Korea, and the United States was allowed to ship 2,500 to Korea. That isn't fair trade.
I am not asking them to be equal, I am asking for the playing field to be level. As Congresswoman Sutton said, give us a chance to produce, and we will produce it. But when we don't even have the opportunity to do that, it is never going to work.
I think we need to look at other things. I think we need to invest in something like the bill Ms. Schakowsky spoke about earlier and is going to be introducing. It is about getting companies to stay here, and they get tax credits for helping their employees with their health care and
their pensions. Instead, we give tax breaks when they outsource it. I would like to ask both of my colleagues, and maybe I just don't get it. I want you to know that I am not angry that I wasn't invited to the press conference, I am angry because I know what we can do. This is why we have this majority. If we are going to keep this majority, we have to stand up for ordinary people.
Before I turn this over, I want to end with a quote here. One of my political heroes is Hubert Humphrey, and he said in one of the last speeches he gave before he died to the Minnesota AFL-CIO, he said, ``I would rather live 10 years like a tiger than 100 years like a chicken.'' These trade agreements are going to put us back more than 100 years. We are never going to be able to recoup these jobs we have lost. That is why I am here.
I am not going to go back to my district, and I am not going to be lobbied to change my mind unless I am convinced that these trade agreements are in the best interest of our American workers, and that there are provisions built in to help keep jobs.
While I applaud the efforts of the leadership to do some things, I want to make sure that the language is in here. I don't want to go back to Dave Brevard and say, if you can just hang on, we will work on the currency exchange. That is not going to help Mr. Brevard and the people in my district and in the State of Ohio.
Let me say to my colleague, it doesn't matter if you are just from Ohio or just from Illinois, we have lost manufacturing jobs all across this country. I have yet to see, yet to see, a fast track deal that has been in the best interests of the working people of this country. So as long as I am a Member, and I know that is going to be at least another 19 months, and hopefully a little longer, I am going to work very hard to make sure that American workers have somebody.
And I have wonderful people that I am honored to have here this evening, and I would like to enter into a discussion of how are we going to keep manufacturers here.
Does anybody see anything in this bill about how we keep our jobs?
Mr. MICHAUD. I think that remains to be seen. I have been in negotiations before when I worked at Great Northern Paper Company. We put together ideas, but the devil is in the details.
I think it is very clear that the American people want a new direction. They want us to look at the rules of trade. We have to give them that direction because we as Democrats, we are in the majority in both the House and the Senate. There is no excuses, no excuses. We have to give this country a new direction as it relates to trade. We have to look at the trade rules, and now is the time to do it. It is not let's pass a couple of them and see how it works out. We have to take a comprehensive view on what we want for a trade policy. The American people, they want that. We are here. They voted the Republicans out. They fired the Republicans.
As we heard from our leadership, they haven't hired the Democrats. This is our time to show them that the Democrats can lead this country. We must lead this country, and what better way to show that we can by taking a global look at trade and trade policies and how it affects us here in the United States.
Mr. HARE. I yield to my colleague from Ohio.
Ms. SUTTON. Thank you, Congressman Hare.
Let me start out by saying I am so honored to be a Representative from Ohio. The people of my district and my great State are the salt of the Earth. All they want is a job where they can work and raise their families and give them an opportunity for a future that we all dream of.
That is the kind of opportunity that my parents had. My dad worked in the boilermaker factory his whole life. Here I am, his daughter, standing in Congress. Every day that I am here, I am going to make sure that I am looking out for the people who have the same dream that probably your parents and my parents shared, and that is just for a good day for themselves and their family and a bright future based on those opportunities.
Now, I, like you, Congressman Hare and Congressman Michaud, I believe trade can benefit American businesses and workers and be a tool to help developing countries looking to access our markets. But this that has been presented is not a new trade model that will get us there.
Our window for creating a new trade model is closing because it is becoming increasingly hard for our businesses to survive here, and that is not the American way, is it? That is not acceptable. I, with you, I know will continue to fight to change that.
Mr. MICHAUD. That is a good point. It is not only about the workers and unions; the business community is very upset. Those small businesses, the United States Industry Council, which is an organization which represents small manufacturers all across the country, are very concerned about these trade deals, and we have to make sure that we look at it globally. That is why I think it is important for those of us who have seen it firsthand, not read about it in the paper, but actually seen it firsthand, that we are part of this discussion because it is very important.
I have seen my fellow mill workers end up on the unemployment line. They ended up in food lines as well where food banks actually in Maine went dry because there are so many people applying or getting food at food banks because paper mill after paper mill had shut down because of trade.
Yes, we did get trade assistance, but that's not what they want. They want their jobs, and that's why it's very important that we do look at the rules of trade, changing the trade model so it's fair. It is, as Ms. Sutton mentioned, the American dream, and we have to bring that dream back once again.
Mr. HARE. Mr. Speaker, let me just say this, too. These are the very people who fought our wars, defended this country. They just want a decent pension. They'd like some health care, put their kids through school, play by the rules, pay their taxes. They're not the fat cats. These are the thin cats we're talking about
And for the life of me, I don't understand. As you said, we have both chambers, and I believe it's time that both of these chambers stand up because I'm afraid if we don't, we'll go back and our base, those folks who elected us here, are going to say what were you thinking.
I want to just close with this. I know we just have a few minutes remaining here. I want to thank you all for coming this evening, and this is going to be a tough battle. We don't make any bones about it, Mr. Speaker, but look, nothing comes easy for hardworking people, and we're going to work very hard on this. I don't care where you come from, I don't care what State, but I think we have a moral obligation.
I want to close. I did a commencement speech last night at a high school, and I ran into the grandfather of one of the kids that graduated. His father used to work with me in my factory that closed down because of trade, and he's out West now. And I got to thinking, what a shame we couldn't have the opportunity to see each other. He comes back periodically. He's a good, decent man.
I'll close by saying this. This isn't the end on this trade issue. Mr. Speaker, this is only the beginning. We're going to fight, and we're going to win this battle.