05.11.15

Rep. Schiff Statement on TPA Legislation

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) issued the following statement:
 
"While negotiations of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) were underway, I withheld judgment on its merits. I have not supported fast track authorities in the past, believing that Congress should preserve a role in shaping trade agreements, but was willing to hold off in light of representations that this would be a new type of authority. However, now that the legislation has been finalized and I have had time to fully review the bill, it is clear that TPA is little different from earlier variations of fast track and I will oppose it. 

"Should TPA nonetheless pass and negotiations move forward on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal between the United States and eleven Pacific countries, I urge the Administration to place the highest priority on truly enforceable mechanisms to ensure adherence to labor standards, environmental protections and human rights. Investor state provisions must also not be allowed to permit foreign attacks on our own labor, environmental and other protections. The problem of currency manipulation, which puts American workers at a tremendous disadvantage should also be addressed, if not within, than as an enforceable adjunct to a trade agreement. The United States must also insist our trading partners agree to the highest standard of protection for Intellectual Property in any trade negotiation.

"As others have observed, a trade agreement is no alternative for an economic plan. Regardless of the overall impacts of a trade deal, a certain amount of dislocation is inevitable and America must better position itself to compete in this increasingly globalized economy. That means investing in education, worker training related to high-skill jobs, infrastructure and data driven industries. Until we are serious about ensuring American workers are well situated to prosper under any trade deal, I will continue to view them with a healthy skepticism.
 
"Finally, and most significantly, any trade deal must not risk aggravating the already historic and growing disparity between rich and poor in America. Our nation has always prided itself on its upward mobility, and a strong middle class. While trade deals may increase overall GDP, if that increase is confined to those who have largely already prospered and results in even greater downward pressure on the wages of middle income and working class families, the agreements have the potential of making a bad problem, worse. Extreme levels of income inequality are morally indefensible, but they are also poor economics.  Any trade agreement must be structured to broadly benefit the American people."