UNITED STATES-PERU TRADE PROMOTION AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACT -- (House of Representatives - November 07, 2007)
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Mr. HARE. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Speaker, I think tonight on three occasions or maybe four, we have heard, we need to put a face on trade. I encourage all the Members, here is the face. It is the face of a refrigerator in Galesburg, Illinois, manufactured by 1,600 machinists, signed on the last day before their jobs were exported to Sonora, Mexico, thanks to a trade agreement that didn't work.
This, my colleagues, is the face of people. This trade deal, while I commend the framework of it, puts the sheriff, as we have been hearing, the President of the United States, in charge of it. I sit on the Education and Labor Committee of the House. We have had three mine disasters. The President won't do a single thing to protect our miners. He won't sign the Employee Free Choice Act to give people a right to collective bargain for it. He will not stand up for America's workers. He has had to be sued by our own government for one OSHA standard.
Tonight we stand here ready to give this President oversight on this trade deal. I have been told, well, we'll just subpoena him. We're trying that. We're trying that with the legal counsel for this President and Josh Bolten. We'll see how far that gets us.
I take offense, to be honest with you, when people say you won't vote for any trade deal if you can't vote for this one. Let me say I'll vote for every trade deal, as long as it's fair, as long as it works for American workers, as well as the people that we seek to trade with.
How much longer are we going to continue to do this? Fifty-four percent of Republicans polled don't support this agreement. Almost 70 percent of Democrats don't support it, and 60 percent of Americans don't.
I ran on this issue. I am the product of a person whose dad lost their home, not because he did anything wrong, but because he lost his job. He made me promise two things, take care of your sisters and your mother, this is shortly before he died, and do not, whatever you do, PHIL, for a living, do not allow this to happen to another family.
I may only be in this Chamber for one term. I don't know. I ran on this issue. I stand on this issue. I'm proud of my voting record with this Democratic Caucus. I take a back seat to no one in party loyalty. But my first loyalty comes to the people who signed this refrigerator. I have no loyalty to the President of the United States when he has no loyalty to the people whose jobs he outsourced.
I tried to get an amendment before the Rules Committee that would say if you can get a free trade agreement, fine, but let's get the safety net for workers, one this Chamber passed that Mr. Rangel worked so hard on, whom I give him a ton of credit for.
Let me tell you what happens. The next day he says he's going to veto it. He won't insure 10 million children, he won't sign a safety net for workers, and we are going to pass tomorrow a trade agreement and expect this President to enforce it. Let me ask you all tonight not to be looking at us as though we are naysayers. We're not.
I would love to put my card in tomorrow and hit the green button, but I will not, because if I do, I will not come to back to this Chamber. I don't deserve to come back to this Chamber.
I ran to support these people. I have heard the term ``protectionism'' used this evening. If all of us, Democrats, Republicans, left, center and right are not going to stand up for the very people who sent us here, who are we going to stand up for? What are we as Members of Congress?
I ask you, tomorrow is a very big day. I guess I'm voting ``no.'' I don't guess, and I told two people today, I do so proudly. I wish I didn't have to. But I will remember Dave Bedard, who has been unemployed now after two wage concessions, no health care, a wife who has cancer.
One Member who is supporting this deal told me that I should go back to Dave Bedard. And when I said, what should I say to him, that Member said, You should talk about currency manipulation with him.
I should need a football helmet. He's going to punch me in the nose if I try.
Vote ``no'' on this bill.
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Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the Peru Free Trade Agreement and the implementing legislation before us today.
Mr. Speaker, my fight against the Peru FTA is a personal one. Districts like mine represent the very worst of unfair trade--jobs lost, economies devastated, and lives shattered. In 2004, the Galesburg Maytag Refrigeration plant relocated to Sonora, Mexico, leaving behind 1,600 unemployed workers--all innocent victims of bad trade policies.
On their last day, all the workers who were laid off signed the final refrigerator to roll off the assembly line. The inscription on the fridge reads, ``The last top mount refrigerator produced in Galesburg, Illinois with pride by the members of IAM Local 2063, September 14, 2004.'' Although devastated, the pride and spirit of these workers remained strong--a testament to the incredible workers we have in this country.
This year marks the 5th anniversary of Maytag's announcement that it would be closing its Galesburg plant. Five years later, the city of Galesburg is still recovering from the loss of Maytag and many of the workers are still unemployed.
Unfortunately, the economic nightmare Galesburg has endured is not unique. NAFTA outsourced a total of 1 million U.S. jobs nationwide with casualties in every state.
Mr. Speaker, unfair trade is not just a Midwest issue, it is a national crisis.
Weary of more bad trade deals, last November voters swept fair trade Democrats into office--sending a clear mandate for a new direction on trade.
And yet here we are. Voting on another one-sided, so called ``free trade'' agreement crafted by the Bush administration under fast track authority.
President Bush's use of fast track has been nothing but a blatant abuse of power. It has allowed him to force through 4 trade deals built on the flawed NAFTA-CAFTA model, one of them being the Peru FTA we are currently debating.
And we all remember what was left behind from NAFTA: the decimation of the U.S. manufacturing industry and the loss of high paying jobs. One must look no further than Galesburg to see what the future holds for American jobs if the Peru FTA is passed.
We can also expect the Peru FTA to benefit big business, similar to NAFTA. If this agreement is passed, one thing is certain, the rich will continue to get richer at the expense of the average, hard-working American.
Some who support the agreement will say that the Peru FTA is not NAFTA. They will say that the inclusion of labor and environmental standards set it apart from all former trade deals. Not so fast.
With President Bush's poor track record of enforcing labor rights, it remains to be seen
whether these improvements will have any affect at all. In fact, the President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has said that he is ``encouraged by assurances that the labor provisions in the [Peru agreement] cannot be read to require compliance with ILO Conventions.'' We should be more than skeptical.
Moreover, just today the Peruvian government declared a strike by national miners illegal. So much for real reform.
In short, without the threat of enforcement, our trading partners, including Peru, have no incentive to uphold international labor standards.
Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the proposed Peru FTA would replicate--and in some instances expand on--many of the most devastating provisions of the flawed NAFTA-CAFTA model.
Despite ``fixes,'' the Peru FTA is nothing but a wolf in sheep's clothing.
The choice is crystal clear.
Today, Congress can choose to roll the dice when it comes to the loss of American jobs or we can choose to demand an agreement that bans off shoring.
Today, we can choose to entrust President Bush with enforcing labor and environmental standards as we did with the Jordan FTA or we can choose to accept that these standards will likely be ignored in Peru, just as they are in Jordan.
Today, we can choose to give big business another win or we can choose to stand with American middle class families.
Today, Congress can choose to expand the failed NAFTA-CAFTA model to Peru or we can choose to pursue a new trade policy.
I for one cannot go back to my district and explain that I voted for another bad trade deal that in all likelihood will result in more job loss.
I cannot in good conscience face the 1600 Maytag workers who lost their job and tell them that I voted to continue the hemorrhaging.
I came to Congress because I believe in fair trade that creates jobs and raises the standard of living for middle class families. I believe in keeping America competitive. But in my opinion, the Peru FTA does not pass the test.
For the sake of all workers, I will be voting NO on the Peru FTA. I urge my colleagues to do the same.
It is time that our trade policy starts serving the interests of America's working families.
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