Approval of Trade Promotion Authority Is a Vote for American Workers, Jobs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding a bipartisan 21st century American trade agenda:
“Today we’ll continue our work on the trade legislation before us.
“I know Senators on both sides are eager to offer amendments to it. Yesterday was a good start. We voted on a few amendments, and we got a half-dozen more pending. But we need to keep the ball moving. So let me again encourage members of both parties to offer those amendments. Let me again encourage members to work with the bill managers to get those amendments moving.
“We want to process as many amendments as we can. We know that we already lost a week to needless filibustering and delaying of this bill, which means one less week to have these amendments considered. So we need cooperation from the leadership across the aisle to ensure we don’t lose any more time.
“Our friends on the other side seem quite eager to let everyone know how uninterested they are in obstruction these days. You will not find a happier guy than me if that turns out to be true — so we’ll see if they demonstrate the spirit of cooperation they keep telling us about as we continue to debate trade.
“Either way, Members on both sides who recognize the benefits of trade to their constituents are determined to pass important exports and jobs legislation this week.
“I hope to see it pass by the same kind of overwhelming, bipartisan margin we saw in the Finance Committee a few weeks ago.
“Because voting to approve this bill is one way to prove you care about the Middle Class. It’s one way to prove you care about American jobs and American workers.
“One study tells us that knocking down unfair trade barriers in places like Europe and the Pacific could boost our economy by as much as $173 billion, and that it could support as many as 1.4 million additional American jobs.
“In Kentucky, the study says it could bring almost $3 billion in new investment and support more than 18,000 additional jobs.
“We know a lot in the commonwealth about the benefits of trade.
“More than half a million Kentucky jobs are already related to international trade, and we know that those kinds of jobs typically pay more than other jobs.
“Kentuckians also know that a lot of rhetoric on the other side of this issue doesn’t always ‘stand the test of fact and scrutiny,’ as President Obama put it.
“The 7,000 workers at the Toyota plant in Georgetown, Kentucky might agree. Following a trade agreement we recently enacted with South Korea, they’re now working hard to export Camrys to Korean consumers.
“Given some of the overheated language surrounding that U.S.-Korea trade agreement, you might be surprised to hear about these automotive workers in my state.
“But the truth is, just about every serious public official knows that eliminating the restrictions that hurt American workers and American goods is good for our country.
“It’s something Republicans have long believed.
“It’s an area where President Obama now agrees too. It’s an area where many serious Democrats agree.
“So I hope we can join together to score a victory for American workers. To get there, let’s work now to offer amendments, to get them pending, and to engage in substantive debate instead of more pointless delay for its own sake.”
Related Issues: Free Trade, Middle Class, Jobs, Economy, Trade Promotion Authority