Search Form
Now choose a category »

Public Statements

McConnell Calls on President to Submit Pending Trade Agreements

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday calling on the President to submit the three pending trade agreements that he acknowledges will create tens of thousands of jobs

"Yesterday I came to the floor to call on Democrats in Washington to wake up, to open their eyes to the signs we see all around us that the policies of the past two years are making our economy worse.

"Home values are still falling. Manufacturers are showing the weakest growth in nearly two years. Nearly 14 million Americans are looking for jobs and can't find them. For many, there's a nagging feeling that things will actually get worse before they get better.

"And who can blame them?

"Over the past two months, two ratings agencies have come out with dire warnings over the status of America's stellar credit ratings out of fear that we don't get our fiscal house in order.

"One has already put our rating under review and the other has threatened to do so if we don't do something in a matter of weeks -- weeks. Yet Democrats here in Washington are doing nothing.

"The President is patting himself on the back for an auto bailout that's expected to cost the taxpayers billions. And Democrats in Congress would rather talk about an election that's a year and half away.

"For two and a half years, Democrats in Washington have paid lip service to the idea of job creation -- even as they've relentlessly pursued an agenda that is radically opposed to it. And the results speak for themselves:

"An annual deficit three times bigger than the biggest deficit we ever ran during the last administration, a national debt that we now know will be greater this year than our nation's entire economy and chronic unemployment.

"But here's the other problem: Democrats don't want to admit that the government-driven policies of the past two and a half years are part of the problem. And until they do, nothing will change. Unless Democrats change their priorities and their policies, the threats of a downgrade won't go away. The debt won't get any smaller. Businesses won't create the kind of jobs we need to build prosperity.

"We need to change course. And a good place to start is with trade.

"The President himself has explicitly acknowledged in front of the cameras that free trade agreements will create tens of thousands of jobs for American families who need them. Yet now, the President's advisors say that the White House plans to hold off on this bipartisan job-creating initiative unless it can spend more money on a government benefits program first.

"At a time when 14 million Americans are looking for work, they actually want to hold off on these known job-creating agreements in exchange for a green light to spend more money.

"It's astonishing. I mean, how do you explain to an American manufacturer or farmer that they have to lose business to France because some members of Congress want a better benefits package for their allies in organized labor?

"You can't.

"The White House is free to advocate on behalf of unions. That's its' prerogative. But this time it's gone too far.

"When the White House is actively depriving others of jobs because some union boss isn't getting his way, it's lost touch.

"So this morning I'm calling on the administration once again to send us the three pending trade agreements that the President himself has said would create tens of thousands of American jobs -- and to leave Trade Adjustment Assistance out of it.

"There are 47 duplicative federal retraining programs out there for unemployed workers. No one is denying or minimizing the hardships they face. But we will not allow the White House to deny one group of people the chance to get a job in order to have a bargaining chip in negotiating benefits for others.

"It's not fair, and it's not right.

"We need to separate these issues, deal with them independently, and move ahead with these trade deals.

"And we should also be doing even more to create jobs by moving forward with something that's been a cornerstone of good trade policy in this country since 1974.

"I'm talking about Trade Promotion Authority.

"If the President is really serious about doubling U.S. exports and creating the jobs that would go along with it, he should call on Congress to approve Trade Promotion Authority and Congress should do it.

"I would also suggest that any discussion of Trade Adjustment Assistance only be done as part of the debate over extending Trade Promotion Authority, the way it's been done for decades.

"Trade Promotion Authority would give the President the ability to negotiate job-creating trade deals -- and allow them an expedited procedure to get an up-or-down vote in Congress so that opponents couldn't block the deals or amend them on behalf of parochial interests or as a short-sighted favor to their union allies.

"Without the protections afforded by Trade Promotion Authority, Congress may never consider another trade deal again, and there will be no more trade agenda.

"American businesses want to expand and hire. Here's one way to help them do it that's right in front of us.

"There is no excuse for inaction."


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top