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Ron W.
Democrat OR

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  • Ensuring Tax Exempt Organizations the Right to Appeal Act—Motion to Proceed

    by Senator Ron Wyden

    Posted on 2015-05-12

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    Read More about Ensuring Tax Exempt Organizations the Right to Appeal Act--Motion to Proceed

    WYDEN. Mr. President, the majority leader has entered a motion to reconsider the trade legislation. I want to be clear, both for the majority leader and all our colleagues here, that I am very interested in working with the majority leader and our colleague from the other side of the aisle to find a bipartisan path to get back to the trade legislation at the earliest possible time.

    This morning, 14 protrade Democrats met, and I can assure all the Senators here that these are Senators who are committed--strongly committed--to ensuring that this bill passes.

    Now, with respect to just another brief description about where we are, all the hard work that the majority leader correctly described as going on in connection with this legislation has been about four bills: the trade promotion act, Customs--which is really trade enforcement to help displaced workers--and then trade preferences for developing countries.

    Just briefly, I want to describe why it was so important for Senators on a bipartisan basis in the Finance Committee to tackle these issues.

    [[Page S2789]] The first, trade promotion authority, helps strip the secrecy out of trade policy. The second is the support system for American workers. This is known as trade adjustment assistance, which has been expanded. The third finally puts our trade enforcement policies into high gear so America can crack down on the trade cheats. The fourth renews trade programs that are crucial to American manufacturers. Together, these bills would form a legislative package that throws out the 1990s NAFTA playbook on trade. It is an opportunity to enact fresh, middle-class trade policies that will create high-skill, high-wage jobs in Oregon and across our land. That opportunity is lost if this package of four bills gets winnowed down to two.

    In particular, dropping the enforcement bill in my view is legislative malpractice. The calculation is quite simple. The Finance Committee gave the Senate a bipartisan trade enforcement bill that will protect American jobs and promote American exports, which are two propositions that I believe every Member of this body supports. The enforcement legislation closes a shameful loophole that allows for products made with forced and child labor to be sold in our country. This is 2015, and there is absolutely no room for a loophole that allows slavery in American trade policies. If the decision is made to drop this bipartisan legislation, that shameful loophole would live on.

    Now, any Senator who goes home and speaks, as I do, about the virtues of job-creating trade policies has, in my view, a special obligation to ensure that American trade enforcement is tough, effective, and built on American values. That is what the Finance Committee's bipartisan enforcement bill is all about. Without proper enforcement, no trade deal can ever live up to the hype. This enforcement bill is a jobs bill, plain and simple, and it needs to get to the President's desk.

    Some elements of this package represent priorities that have traditionally belonged to Republicans. Other elements are traditionally Democratic. But taken as a whole, this is a bipartisan package that both sides of the Finance Committee supported strongly, with the understanding that its component parts would be linked together. You can't make this stool stand up with just two legs.

    The Senate should not begin debate until there is a clear path forward for each of these four bills, and I use that word specifically because I have talked with colleagues about it. We are going to work together in a bipartisan fashion. That is what Chairman Hatch and I have done since he became chairman, and I have been grateful to him because that is the way he sought to carry out his responsibilities when I was chairman. We are going to work together, but the challenge has always been to find a clear path forward for each of these four bills.

    So I urge my colleagues to continue down the Finance Committee's bipartisan route and find a path that moves all four of these bills forward.

    In closing, I want to reiterate that with the majority leader having entered into a motion to have the trade bill reconsidered, I want to express to my colleagues--and I see several Finance members here, Chairman Hatch and Senator Cornyn, a senior member of the committee, a member of the leadership--that I am very interested in working closely with both of them to find a bipartisan path and get back to this legislation just as soon as possible.

    Mr. President, I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip.

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