Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, May 09, 2016

Candidates Turn Against Trade Deals

The first question asked of the presidential candidates at the CNN debate in Miami on March 10, was “whether trade deals have been good or bad for American workers.” Moderator Jake Tapper observed that one of Donald Trump’s “signature issues” has been his criticism of “disastrous trade deals” that have destroyed so many good middle-class jobs that existed a generation ago. The other three GOP candidates have supported trade deals in the past and still support them in principle, even while acknowledging voters’ concerns about the harmful effects of such agreements. Two of the candidates even advocate the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which President Obama wants Congress to ratify before he leaves office.

Ohio Governor John Kasich likes to remind everyone that he “grew up in a blue collar family,” but votes he cast during his 18 years in Congress helped to decimate the manufacturing base of his home state – Kasich voted for NAFTA in 1993, and in 2000 he voted to grant the “normal” trading privileges that allowed China to enter the World Trade Organization.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio twice voted in favor of giving President Obama the authority to negotiate trade agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He insisted that trade deals provide “access to foreign markets” (even though most of the world’s people can’t afford to buy anything made in America) and he offered sentimental happy-talk that American workers “can compete against anyone in the world” despite 20 years of trade deficits proving otherwise.

Senator Ted Cruz once voted in favor of presidential trade authority before reversing himself on a subsequent vote last year. Cruz now says he opposes the TPP, but Congress has never rejected a trade deal after giving the President the authority to negotiate it.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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