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Marcy K.
Democrat OH 9

About Rep. Marcy
  • Progressive Caucus: Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    by Representative Marcy Kaptur

    Posted on 2014-01-15

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    KAPTUR. Thank you.

    Congressman Mark Pocan, you are such a breath of fresh intelligence and fresh energy in this Congress of the United States. I am so proud of the people of the Badger State for sending you here and for the hard fight that you have exhibited from day one of your swearing in for the improvement in our economy, for the creation of jobs in this country, for the reemployment of all of those who, coast-to-coast, are looking for work but can't find it. Thank you very much for your service to our country and for bringing us together here tonight.

    I would like to say that trade policy is the major reason that America can't employ all of the people seeking work. Our trade policies are the major reason that we can't balance our budget.

    If we take a look at the additional pressure on outsourcing more U.S. jobs that is going to come because of the recent introduction of the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership--or fast track, as it is called--it is employing the same old failed trade model. And that model is, when you have more imports coming in here than exports going out, you are in the negative. And when you are in the negative on trade policy, you lose jobs. In fact, we are losing jobs by the container load.

    On average, every day, because of fast track agreements that have already been passed, we are losing about 15 American manufacturing establishments that are closing every day. You can go into any town in Madison, Wisconsin, and Cleveland, Ohio, and Parma and Toledo, Ohio, and see shuttered companies.

    And what is amazing is, if you go to Newton, Iowa, and go see where Maytag used to be located and then go down to Monterrey, Mexico, you will see Maytag operating down there. But all the workers in Newton lost their jobs. That was a great product. And we can look in industry after industry and see the same thing.

    I have got Bridget helping me hold this chart up--I am going to refer to this in a second--and I want to thank her very much. She is a Member of Congressman Pocan's staff.

    The fast track model was established in the 1970s, before any of us ever got here, as a way for the executive branch to exclude Congress from trade negotiations. How about that? It is just another overreach by the executive branch here inside this Congress and our ability to exert our legislative authority under the Constitution of this country.

    Since that fast track process was adopted, this failed trade model of executive branch control over our country has racked up over $9 trillion in trade deficits.

    People say, Why do we have a budget deficit? Well, a budget deficit is only a reflection of our economy not being able to produce enough income to pay the bills because we have lost so many jobs. This trade deficit has gotten worse every year since the mid-1970s and racked up $9 trillion--more imports coming in here than exports going out. Indeed, through this period, America has lost nearly--just in the manufacturing sector--7 million jobs, a third of the manufacturing jobs of this country, because of the fast track process.

    What fast track means is, when the executive branch sends one of these trade deals up to Congress, they tie our hands. We can't amend it. The Rules [[Page H464]] Committee shuts it down. They bring it to floor and we can't do anything about it because they have negotiated in secret and we can't know what it is.

    What kind of crazy process is that for the people of the United States of America? Fast track has changed America's way of life. This amount of trade deficit--$9 trillion--translates into lost jobs. It translates into poor-quality goods.

    I tried to buy a coat over the holiday season. Go find quality material. Go find it. I would be real interested if you can. I was just interested in how sleazy the fabric has become and how poor the craftsmanship and craftswomanship. And I know the people making that, whatever country the label says, I know they are paid almost nothing for the work that they do. And we see our middle class shrinking.

    And who is making the money off that transaction? Surely not the person making it in some other country, and surely not the person who is buying it here in our country.

    Free trade agreements such as NAFTA, which was passed back in the mid-1970s--the China PNTR, which was then passed in the late 1990s; and then Korea, which was just passed a couple of years ago--were passed under the fast track procedure. We were promised these agreements would create jobs and help balance our trade deficits in an effort to strengthen our economy.

    It is so interesting to go back and read what the proponents said. You would think if we hadn't passed those agreements, the entire Western world would collapse. Well, guess what? It is. Parts of it inside this country are collapsing.

    {time} 1815 Let me go through some of the promises that were broken. They said NAFTA, which was passed back in the early 1990s, was supposed to create 200,000 jobs in our country. Find them, because what actually happened was, we have lost nearly a million jobs.

    If you look at this chart, the hole that just got deeper, in terms of trade deficit, related to our trade with Mexico and Canada. The United States ended up being the loser. One million Americans lost their jobs because of NAFTA.

    If you go to these other countries, you can actually find the plants. I saw Trico Manufacturing, that used to make windshield wipers in Buffalo, down south of the border. The workers at that company couldn't afford to buy cars, much less the windshield wipers that have to go on them, and the quality of the Trico products deteriorated.

    Interesting. It is a pattern that is repeated and repeated and repeated.

    Now, they said that Korea, which was passed just a couple of years ago, was supposed to create 70,000 new American jobs under the Korean Free Trade Agreement.

    Guess what? America has already lost 40,000 jobs to Korea, and all those cars they were supposed to buy from us, 50,000 cars, for the millions they send in here? They are not buying them. They are not buying them. There is a huge additional trade deficit now being racked up with Korea because of that agreement.

    So NAFTA had the exact opposite effect on our trade deficits than they were promised. Instead of helping to balance our trade deficit, NAFTA helped to dramatically increase it. The same was true with Korea.

    NAFTA and China, those two countries, if we look at the Mexico-Canada trade agreement called NAFTA, we have accumulated $1.5 trillion of red ink; $1.5 trillion.

    The same can be said for the Korea deal, and in the year after the Korean Fair Trade Agreement, America's trade deficit with Korea increased by $5.8 billion.

    Every billion translates into lost jobs of between 4,500 American workers and 10,000, depending on whether it was the industrial sector or the retail sector.

    Enough is enough. America doesn't need anymore so-called free trade fast track agreements because the model is wrong. It is destroying our middle class.

    What this country needs is investment in key industry such as manufacturing, to create jobs and grow our economy.

    I wanted to say a word about this big dip right here, which represents what happened after we signed the agreement with China. If you look at the amount of goods that are coming over our borders now, 99.5 percent of the shoes coming into this country come from there, come from countries that have no ability to stand where citizens like us can speak freely, and have added to the angst facing our middle class in this country.

    We need investment in key industries, and we know that manufacturing, if there is investment there, at least 2.91 more jobs are created in other sectors, almost three jobs for every single job created in a manufacturing plant.

    So Congressman Pocan, thank you for bringing us together tonight. We need a new trade model for America, a pro-American trade policy that begins to result in trade surpluses like we used to have after World War II up until the mid 1970s, when America had a strong and growing middle class.

    This is the wrong trade model. We need a new trade model. Thank you so much for fighting for this and for the defeat of fast track on the TPP.

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