The Trade Promotion Authority bill submitted today by Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus and Senate Finance Ranking Member Orrin Hatch is out of date, poorly conceived, and bad for American workers. For that reason, the AFL-CIO opposes this legislation in the strongest of terms and will actively work to block its passage.
It is past time for the United States to get off the corporate hamster wheel on trade. This legislation renews the undemocratic "trade promotion" process and completely fails to provide the transparency, accountability, and oversight necessary for the far-reaching trade and investment agreements that the Administration is negotiating, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
2014 marks the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, which was only the first in a series of trade agreements that have undermined millions of middle-class American jobs and weakened our democratic structures. So it is ironic that this year the supporters of that failed model are bringing forward a fast track trade promotion bill to bring us more of the same: more trade deals that strengthen corporate power and CEO profits, while putting downward pressure on wages and opportunities for the rest of us; more outsourced and offshored jobs and more attacks on domestic health and safety regulations.
America's workforce deserves better than warmed over trade deals, which will do nothing to raise wages or reduce our $540 billion trade deficit. The United States is long overdue for an overhaul of its trade priorities and trade practices. Rather than focusing on empowering multinational corporations, we should be working to support domestic manufacturing jobs, fix our crumbling infrastructure, and rebuild a strong middle class. This fast track bill will do the opposite.