• WisPolitics


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

 8:42 AM 

Trade deal draws mixed reaction from Wis. congressional Democrats

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind struck a different tone on the trade deal announced Monday than two other Dems in Wisconsin's congressional delegation.

After years of talks, negotiators from the 12 countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership said in Atlanta today they've agreed to what would be the largest free-trade deal ever. Many Dems in Congress have been skeptical of the TPP, although Kind chairs the New Democrat Coalition, whose members have generally been more open to a trade deal.

The La Crosse Dem said the pact "will set the trading rules for this region and 40 percent of the global economy," which would help "level the playing field for American workers, farmers and businesses."

"In the coming months, I look forward to joining my colleagues in reviewing the final agreement," Kind said. "As we review, I believe we need to do so in the context of the status quo. Without a high standard TPP, the U.S. will face a Pacific region that could have no trading rules or possibly China's rules. In order for our economy to continue to grow, the United States must be at the table setting the rules for 21st century trade."

President Obama has to make the full text of the deal available for at least 60 days before Congress can approve it.

But U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, both Madison-area Dems, called for Obama to release the full text of the deal right away, with Baldwin saying the deal was "hatched in secret behind closed doors."

"Any deal that does not help level the playing field for the American worker will not have my support - from currency manipulation to state-owned enterprises to labor standards, American workers shouldn't be put at a disadvantage by unfair trade deals that rig the game against our Made in America economy," Baldwin said.

Pocan said it's "imperative Congress rigorously reviews this deal to ensure the American people are not being taken for a ride yet again."

A vote on the deal in Congress is expected sometime next year. In June, Congress approved fast-track Trade Promotion Authority that ensures the vote on the deal will be an up-or-down vote, with no amendments possible.

Key supporters of the fast-track TPA included U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee. Ryan said the White House "must clearly explain the benefits of this agreement and what it will mean for American families."

"A successful Trans-Pacific Partnership would mean greater American influence in the world and more good jobs at home," Ryan said. "But only a good agreement--and one that meets congressional guidelines in the newly enacted Trade Promotion Authority--will be able to pass the House. I am reserving judgment until I am able to review the final text and consult with my colleagues and my constituents."

See more reaction in the press release section at WisPolitics.com.


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