Members of the House Trade Working Group today released the following statements regarding President Bush's anticipated remarks during his State of the Union address in which he is expected to call for passage of pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.
"The state of our union is significantly weaker because of the harmful effects of unfair trade," said Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL). "We have lost nearly 3 million manufacturing jobs over the last 7 years, many in my home state of Illinois. The last thing our floundering economy can afford is the passage of more job-killing trade agreements. Instead of offering a swan-song to his friends in big business, I wish the President would use tonight to offer a new direction on trade that protects American jobs and allows our workers to compete on a level playing field. "
"Our national trade deficit has exploded since President Bush took office," said Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME), co-founder of the House Trade Working Group. "This Congress doesn't need anymore lectures on trade; it needs leadership and a serious change in direction. The Bush Administration has turned its back on working families. We must address the clear linkages between badly flawed trade policies and the downward pressure on U.S. wages and the loss of millions of manufacturing, high tech, and other American jobs."
"If we have learned anything from the past seven years, it has been that the Bush Administration's trade agenda was never intended to prioritize America's working class," said Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA), co-chair of the House Trade Working Group. "Instead of NAFTA-style policies that give more rights to foreign investors than they do to working families, we need trade agreements that work for working families."
"The people of Ohio's 13th Congressional District do not want and cannot afford any more so-called Free Trade Agreements that have been anything but free,'" said Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH). "One only needs to look at our soaring trade deficit, the growing danger of unsafe imports, intellectual piracy, and the loss of job upon job, first in the manufacturing sector and now in the tech sector, to know that this country needs to fix our broken trading system. Rather than passing more free trade deals that will further hurt our working families and community businesses, the President must accept the reality that we need a significantly new trade policy that does not require us to lower our labor or safety standards and that truly will provide our working families and businesses with an even playing field on which to compete."
"The President advocates the same trade policies that we have seen for decades," said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). "If he wants to turn the American economy around, he should not be encouraging more free trade agreements, but working with Congress to develop a new trade model that benefits those who work hardest in our communities."
"George Bush's trade policies are misguided and fundamentally flawed. Our government must stand with the hard-working people of America whose jobs are being exported," said Rep. Dale E. Kildee (D-MI). "We need a timeout on these so-called free trade agreements,' so we can fix the inherent dangers at the core of our nation's trade policy, and put an end, once and for all, to Bush's rush to expand these trade agreements."