Merkley, Whitehouse, Wyden, Franken

Vehicle for Trade Promotion Authority (H.R. 2146)

Senator Merkley: (1:28 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "Unfortunately, this trade agreement is constructed around a different aspiration, one of maximizing the value of stock in multinational manufacturing corporations and that is done by shipping our jobs overseas. That is the wrong aim for this nation. It is the wrong aim for our working families. We have seen the impact of Korea. We have seen the impact of China joining the W.T.O. We have seen the impact of Mexico and NAFTA, and as a result we have lost millions of good-paying jobs in our nation and undermined the success of millions of American families. There is a lot of conversation here on the floor of the senate about inequality in our nation. You know what drives inequality? It is this. When you create trade agreements that are great for investors but are terrible for workers, that drives inequality."


Senator Whitehouse: (1:50 PM)

  • Spoke on climate change.
    • "Is there no light left here at all? Here in the Senate the hand of greed lies so heavily upon us. Please may the pope's exhortation give us the courage to stand up against the power of these selfish forces and do what is right for our people and for our planet? The fossil fuel industry has been a particular disgrace, polluting our politics as well as our planet. Ever since the Citizens United ruling gave polluters the ability to inject unlimited and untold amounts of money into our elections, the tsunami of their slime has drowned honest debate on climate change. Senators who once supported commonsense legislation have gone silent as stones under the threat of the polluters spending. Getting past the dark influence of the fossil fuel industry will indeed take some light and some courage, especially on the part of the Republican majority whom they so relentlessly bully and cajole. But we must do it. Again, mankind will not forget this failure of conscience and responsibility."


Senator Wyden: (2:06 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "I said quite some time ago that we weren't going to let this package become law without "level the playing field" authored by Senator Brown at the outset, and that is going to be the case, and I thank him for his work. The three programs - the trade adjustment assistance program, the health coverage tax credit, Senator Brown's Leveling the Playing Field Act - are now moving through the senate alongside legislation that creates new economic opportunities for impoverished countries in Africa and other places around the world. This trade package will extend the biggest of these programs, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, what's called AGOA, for ten years. It works for Africa, it once for our country and it builds a stronger economic future for so many around the world."


Senator Franken: (2:32 PM)

  • Spoke on trade.
    • "In the last few months alone we have seen what happens when countries unfairly dump their goods here. Nearly a thousand Minnesotans in the iron range are losing their jobs after a flood of dumped steel imports. Leveling the playing field would help improve our antidumping laws, including restoring Congress' original intent in setting the standard for when a domestic industry is materially injured by unfairly traded foreign imports. We need to be able to respond effectively when dumped imports are harming our domestic iron and steel industry, and when the workers in that industry are hurt or when those imports are harming other industries, as is happening now. This bill will be an important step in enabling that more effective response so with these provisions we are standing up for American manufacturers by putting in place and enforcing fair trade practices. For these reasons I will be voting for the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill and I look forward to it being enacted into law."