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Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. BROWN. I thank my friend from North Dakota.

Senator Dorgan has reviewed the numerous reasons why this pilot program doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense to compromise safety laws, whether it is road safety, food safety, toy safety, or truck safety. Unsafe trucks on our roads, unsafe food on our tables, or dangerous toys in the hands of our children, all of this is part of a larger issue. It is about trade.

It would be easier if it weren't. It would be easier if we didn't need strong trade rules to ensure truck safety and food safety and product safety, but it simply doesn't work that way. If we don't require China to export products as safe as those manufactured in the United States, our children will be exposed to lead paint and loose parts. If we don't write trade deals, as Senator Dorgan says, that prohibit unsafe trucks from our roads, more Americans--count on it--will be killed on our highways. Yet we write trade deals that compromise and compromise and compromise away the safety standards that protect our children, our pets, our roads, and ourselves.

Why should we agree to a trade deal that turns product safety into a reactive recall-driven enterprise? Not because it serves our families but because it serves multinational corporations. Why should we agree to trade deals that compromise road safety? Not because it serves our families but because it serves multinational corporations.

Too often in both Chambers in this Congress we write trade deals that ignore consumers, coddle corporations, produce massive trade deficits, ensure unsafe imports, and export U.S. jobs. Instead, we could write trade rules that respect U.S. law and promote U.S. exports. We could write trade rules that keep our roads safe, our food and toys safe, that are fair to U.S. trading partners, and best for America's families. But it means letting go of expedient, shortsighted, lopsided free trade deals and embracing a new model.

Instead of trade deals designed to benefit top management and multinational corporations, we should write trade deals designed to benefit everyone else. I am sure the benefit of those trade deals will ultimately trickle down to the Nation's CEOs. U.S. road safety laws make sense. Voting for the Dorgan amendment and voting against the Cornyn amendment demonstrates respect for those rules.

I urge my colleagues to vote accordingly.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.


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