On Eve of Fast Track Expiration, Members of Congress, Business and Labor Leaders Outline New Trade Priorities
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) was joined today by fellow Senators, Representatives and national business, labor, and advocacy groups in calling for a "new direction for trade." June 30th will mark the expiration of the Trade Promotion Authority, also known as Fast Track, which has been used by this administration to push unfair trade agreements that are bad for American workers and consumers.
"Fast track authority has been used to push bad agreements through Congress that have increased our trade deficit, cost us jobs and hurt our automobile industry and other manufacturers," said Stabenow. "American businesses and workers deserve agreements that are fair for America."
For the fifth straight year in a row, the U.S. trade deficit reached a new record of $836 billion in 2006. Meanwhile, in the past six years, the U.S. lost 3 million manufacturing jobs, and Michigan lost more than 250,000 manufacturing jobs, highlighting the need for a sound trade policy. This year, Congress is expected to debate proposed free trade agreements with Peru, Panama, Colombia, and South Korea.
"We need to level the playing field when it comes to trade," said Stabenow. "Any agreement should raise the standard of living, ensure market access to both countries and uphold fair competition."
Today's news conference participants included Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Bob Casey (D-PA); Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA); and from the AFL-CIO, Change to Win, United Steelworkers, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, U.S. Business and Industry Council, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Citizens Trade Campaign, National Farmers Union, National Family Farm Coalition, American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, Interfaith Working Group, United Methodist Church, NETWORK, China Currency Coalition, Americans for Democratic Action, and Jubilee USA.