Brown, Warren, Inhofe, Sessions, Thune, Donnelly, Casey

Vehicle for Trade Promotion Authority (H.R. 1314)

Senator Brown: (2:20 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "Year after year, the U.S. Treasury says China's currency is significantly undervalued. Year after year, we give China a chance. Another chance to change their monetary policy, but we won't call China a currency manipulator. President Bush wouldn't do it, President Obama wouldn't do it. Up to five million American workers have lost their jobs. The trade deficit has grown by hundreds of billions of dollars due to currency manipulation. We have clear evidence that China disregards international trade laws. Why would we think it would be any different if they get a back-door entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership? That's why we can't allow T.P.P. to become a back-door way to pass a free trade agreement with China without a voting Congress. I know Senator Menendez has raised these concerns for a while. I appreciate that support and the support of our other cosponsors in this issue. This isn't a poison pill. All this amendment does is clarify the process for new countries to join T.P.P. should it pass. It doesn't say we can't bring in new countries. It does say Congress has to vote on it."


Senator Warren: (2:28 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "If a country wants to undermine worker rights by allowing child labor, slave labor, paying workers pennies an hour, there's no special worker-friendly process for challenging that. Instead, advocates for workers are stuck begging their governments to enforce their actions and their rights. That process can take years if the government responds at all. In fact, just yesterday my office released a 15-page report detailing how for decades both Republican and Democratic presidents made the same promises over and over and over again about how good these deals would be for workers and both Republican and Democratic presidents failed to enforce the labor standard promises in those trade agreements. Giving corporations special rights to challenge our laws outside our legal system is a terrible idea. Experts from every place on the political spectrum have concluded that it's unfair, it undermines the rule of law, it threatens American sovereignty and it creates an end run around the democratic process."


Senator Inhofe: (2:34 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "In the next 10 years, we should be considering one or more free trade agreements with our partners in sub-Saharan Africa. In our amendment, Senator Coons and my amendment will help this desire become a reality. Our government and the media have got to get beyond their opposition to Africa and hopefully we'll be doing that before long. If we don't make free trade agreements with Africa a priority, I think we will find ourselves in ten years and see a much stronger, highly competitive African economies. We'll be reauthorizing AGOA again and asking ourselves why didn't we push to enact free trade agreements with these countries. We'd rather not find ourselves there."


Senator Sessions: (2:44 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "It would hold the Obama administration and the united States trade representative to their assurances that no trade agreement will be used to change U.S. immigration law or policy. This has been done in the past to a significant degree. It resulted in Chairman Sensenbrenner and Ranking Members Conyers writing a letter saying never again should any trade agreement amend immigration law. That's the promise of the Congress according to the constitution. And I offered an amendment after one of these trade agreements did just that, and it passed unanimously. Senator Feinstein and other Democrats signed on. And it said never again will immigration law be amended as part of a trade agreement."


Senator Thune: (2:55 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "The bipartisan legislation that we're considering this week reauthorizes Trade Promotion Authority includes a number of valuable updates like provisions to strengthen the transparency of the negotiating process and to ensure that the American people stay informed. It also contains provisions that I pushed for to require negotiators to ensure that trade agreements promote digital trade as well as trade in physical goods and services. Given increasing importance of digitally enabled commerce, in the 21st century economy, it is essential that our trade agreements include new rules to keep digital trade free from unnecessary government interference. I previously introduced legislation to help ensure the free flow of digital goods and services is protected and am pleased the bipartisan deal that was reached includes many of the very measures that I've advocated. Democrats and Republicans in the Senate repeatedly have come together this year to pass legislation to address the challenges that are facing our country. I hope we'll see the same type of bipartisanship on this bill."


Senator Donnelly: (3:07 PM)

  • Spoke on veterans.
    • "Memorial Day is next week. I'd like to remember the men and women in the armed forces who lost their lives serving in the line of duty this past year. Indiana lost it two of its own. Army Staff Sergeant Matthew Ryan Ammerman and Marine Corporal Jordan Spearce. Two young men who selflessly chose service to their country and gave the ultimate sacrifice. Staff Sergeant Matthew Ryan Ammerman served three tours of duty, two in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. He received multiple medals, Staff Sergeant Ammerman joined the army in July 2004. He deployed to Iraq in 2006 and then to Afghanistan in 2009. He went on to graduate as a Special Forces communications sergeant in 2013 before deploying to Afghanistan the following year as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Staff Sergeant Ammerman was killed on December 3, 2014, when his unit came under fire while conducting operations in Zabul Province."


Senator Casey: (3:11 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "I have a couple of amendments. Number one is a buy-American amendment. It would deny Trade Promotion Authority privileges to free trade agreements that weaken or undermine "Buy American" provisions. Very simple but I think very substantial in terms of the potential adverse or positive protections - adverse impacts, I should say, or positive protections it can provide. We should make sure that "Buy American" is maintained. That Trade Promotion Authority doesn't undermine it, nor should we allow it to have the trade agreement itself undermine the "Buy American" provision. I think that's one of the least things that we can do in the context of this debate. The second amendment that I'll highlight, among several, is congressional certification. This amendment would require certification by the two relevant committees, the Finance Committee in the Senate and the House Ways and Means Committee, that negotiating objectives have been met."