The Trans-Pacific Partnershipby Representative Janice Hahn
Posted on 2015-01-08
HAHN. Mr. Speaker, I am rising in solidarity today with millions
of American working families who are deeply concerned about the impact
that harmful trade deals have on our Nation. I am proud to join with my
colleagues in the Progressive Caucus in explaining why we oppose this
so-called Fast Track authority for international trade deals.
[[Page H143]] Let me be clear. I am very much pro-trade. Trade is essential to the economy of my district, and I am proud to represent the Port of Los Angeles, the largest container port in the country. Trade is essential to our economy in my district, but it is essential to the economy of the whole State of California--and of course, dare I say, the whole Nation--the many wonderful and diverse exports we do promote in our State: films, creative content made in Hollywood, the fruits and vegetables grown in Central Valley, the wines from Sonoma and Napa, the innovative products developed in our Silicon Valley, or the goods that are manufactured in California factories.
Trade is essential to our entire U.S. economy. Trade creates and sustains American jobs, not only at our ports in this country, but throughout the entire supply chain. Trade helps American businesses reach new markets, grow, prosper.
Trade helps American consumers gain access to many products that we value, and trade is not an exclusive Democratic issue or Republican issue. Everyone who wants our Nation to prosper understands the importance and value of engaging in trade and being globally competitive and connected.
That is why I am proud that as a progressive Democrat I was able to join with a conservative Republican, Ted Poe, and we have worked together to cochair our Congressional PORTS Caucus. We now have about 90 Members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, coming together over the issue of investing in and sustaining and making competitive our Nation's seaports. We might disagree on other policy issues, but we have a common understanding of the economic benefits of trade, especially trade passing through our ports. So I want to say it again, and I hope it is clear that I strongly support trade.
However, I am opposed to trade deals with other countries that have harmful consequences on our American workers and deals that give unfair advantages to those who exploit workers and destroy the environment. That is why I oppose Fast Track.
I believe with all my heart that Congress has a constitutional duty to oversee trade agreements, but Fast Track takes away our authority to regulate trade and to be involved in these negotiations. Under Fast Track, we would only be able to vote for or against a deal that has been negotiated without us, and we would not even have the opportunity to amend it. That sounds like a recipe for a raw deal, not a good deal.
I am honored to hold public office and to have earned the support and the trust of those who depend on me to stand up for them and what is best for them. I take my responsibility very seriously to represent them and act in their interests, as I think every Member of Congress does, and I think our constituents are counting on us to make trade deals that are fair and beneficial.
I think Fast Track undercuts our authority and our ability to provide this oversight. I hope that we can support trade and have good trade agreements, but I hope we can all oppose the idea of Fast Tracking these trade deals.