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Establishing Emergency Trade Deficit Commission

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PASCRELL. Madam Speaker, I want to agree with the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Davis), but there's a catch here. In the last 6 months, we have gained 136,000 manufacturing jobs, private jobs. It's one of the few pluses that we can refer to. So there is hope for the future in terms of manufacturing if we do the right thing.

I rise in support of H.R. 1875, the End the Trade Deficit Act, and I want to thank my friend from Oregon for introducing this important legislation. All through the years, Mr. DeFazio continues to speak out over the din and over the years for the American consumer and for fair trade policies. I salute you.

The United States has run a persistent trade deficit with the world since 1978, including structural deficits with several major trading partners year after year. This includes a $220 billion trade deficit with China alone.

In 2001, just think of it, 9 years ago, China was granted admission to the World Trade Organization, that number was $84 billion. It's increased in 9 years by $136 billion. One study by the Economic Policy Institute estimates that the dramatic increase in our trade deficit with China alone has cost this country 2.4 million jobs.

The American people, the middle class, know that our trade policy has not worked for them. They see it in their everyday lives. My hometown of Paterson, New Jersey, I still live there. We close factories. We reopen them south of the border or overseas. Why haven't we stopped the hemorrhaging of jobs to places offshore?

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Ms. McCollum). The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. LEVIN. I yield an additional 2 minutes to the gentleman from New Jersey.

Mr. PASCRELL. We cannot continue down this path. Our trade deficit is unsustainable. We must begin to tackle it if we want to create jobs here in the United States and remain a prosperous country in the future.

There's no silver bullet out there that will balance the books, which is why a comprehensive study of the problem and recommendations for policy solutions, which is proscribed in this legislation specifically, is very necessary.

The commission will look at many of the tactics we know our trading partners use in order to place their exports at an advantage and in order that they have played and gamed the system to our disadvantage:

Foreign currency manipulation, we've addressed it in some esoteric statements now and then. But we know what China is doing, and it hurts us in terms of what the Americas are trying to do.

Tariff and nontariff barriers, just mentioned before in the previous legislation by the gentleman from Illinois.

Foreign subsidization of manufacturing, other countries have different taxing methodologies than we do. They subsidize their industries. How can our industries compete against that unless we address that particular issue, which we're afraid to do. Both sides of the aisle are afraid to address the real issues on trade and the weak environmental and labor standards.

I'm pleased the commission will include the impact of border tax adjustments on our trade deficit, which penalized our exporters by an average of 15.2 percent and are currently totally legal under current global trade agreements.

We will not deal with the imbalance in our trade agreements unless we understand how countries have gamed the system to hurt our workers, and that's why we continue to offshore these jobs.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has again expired.

Mr. LEVIN. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.

Mr. PASCRELL. At the end of the day, the United States is the most open, accessible, and dynamic market in the world. We hold our trading partners, hopefully, to the same standard. We must tackle our trade deficit head-on so that United States businesses and families can continue to prosper in the years to come.

I urge passage of this legislation. I eagerly await the report of the commission.

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Madam Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman who is the top Republican on the Oversight Committee on Ways and Means and has focused both on ending the drilling moratorium that is killing U.S. jobs in the gulf, and also opening new markets for our American manufacturers, services, and ag community, the gentleman from Louisiana, Dr. Boustany.


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