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Public Statements

United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Madam Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the Korean free trade agreement, and I want to make two points. One, Korea is a very important ally, a good friend of ours. It's just that their name is on the latest of these NAFTA-type template deals that we've been asked to pass. Two, I love exports, but if you look at our trade deficit, you've got to figure out that we don't know how to get our exports higher than our imports, not even get close.

I want to talk about the textile industry today. I spent 27 years of my life working in textiles. Hundreds of thousands of good Americans were working there. Their only mistake was in believing their American Dream could be fulfilled in an industry that our government decided to give away in trade deals. Now we're at it again. The South Korean free trade agreement will eliminate around 40,000 textile jobs. How much more can one industry be asked to give? They give good solid jobs, and, once again, we give those jobs away.

We heard last week the average American working family is now effectively down to a standard of living of the mid-1990s. I simply ask this question: How much more of the American Dream of our American working families should they have to give up, have to delay, until we figure out how to get this right, until we quit trying to give our jobs away to other parts of the world and we concentrate on this great American economy and make it here in America?

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