Congressman Dale E. Kildee (D-MI) today introduced a Resolution stating that the 110th Congress should not consider renewing Fast Track trade negotiating authority for President George W. Bush. The President's Fast Track authority expired on June 30, 2007. Trade agreements negotiated under Fast Track must be considered by Congress within a restricted timeframe and are not amendable.
"Our trade deficit has increased by an outrageous amount since the Congress granted Fast Track authority to the President," said Kildee. "It would be greatly irresponsible to renew that authority when it has helped only to compound the problems that face American manufacturers. It is not fair trade when we have to compete with miserably low wages and environmental standards."
Since Congress last granted Fast Track authority in 2002, the U.S. trade deficit has widened from $424 billion to nearly $758 billion in 2006, a 79% increase. Over the same period, the country has lost more than 1 million manufacturing jobs.
While Congressional leaders have stated that the renewal of Fast Track authority is not among the priorities of this Congress, this resolution would formalize that position. Before Congress even considers granting such enormous power to the White House, economic insecurity and unbalanced trade policies must be addressed to ensure that American industries remain competitive.
"It is imperative that Congress reaffirm its authority in this matter," said Kildee. "Unbalanced trade policies have devastated regions of America that are dependent on manufacturing jobs. Fast Track has led to a process of continuous downsizing of our industrial base. That certainly has been the case in Flint."
The bipartisan resolution was cosponsored by 25 Members of the House of Representatives at the time of its introduction.
Text of the Resolution is as follows:
Expressing the sense of the House of the Representatives that legislation to renew or grant Fast Track trade negotiating authority should not be considered by the House of Representatives in the 110th Congress.
Whereas, Fast Track authority provided by the Trade Act of 2002 expires on July 1, 2007;
Whereas, altering the name of Fast Track Authority to "Trade Promotion Authority" in the Trade Act of 2002 was an attempt to mischaracterize the use of this authority to conceal the harm unfair trade policies have on hard working Americans;
Whereas, the United States has entered into free trade agreements under current Fast Track authority with Singapore, Chile, Australia, Morocco, Bahrain and Oman, as well as five Central American nations -- Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala -- and the Dominican Republic;
Whereas, the United States has signed free trade agreements with Peru, Colombia, Panama and South Korea under current Fast Track legislation;
Whereas, the United States' trade deficit in goods and services has skyrocketed under current Fast Track authority from $423.7 billion in 2002 to $758.5 billion in 2006 -- an increase of 79%;
Whereas, the United States lost 1,062,000 manufacturing jobs from 2002 through 2006;
Whereas, Congress has the Constitutional authority and responsibility to oversee our nation's trade policy: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, that it is the sense of the House of Representatives that this House should not consider legislative proposals to grant Fast Track or any other form of expedited trade negotiating authority during the 110th Congress.