Senator Sherrod Brown
Congressional Record: 114th Congress
29 September 2016
Mr. BROWN. Madam President, I just came from a discussion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the damage it will do to our country.
We have had 25 years of trade policy that has cost jobs in places like Lorain, OH, Cleveland, OH, and Dayton, OH. We know these trade agreements pull down worker safety standards, environmental rules and protections, and food safety laws and rules. We know they cost us jobs. I know what has happened in my State. I see what has happened in places like Omaha, the Presiding Officer's State, and all over our country. I appreciate Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan saying they don't plan to bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership up for a vote in the lameduck session of Congress. I believe it would be a bit underhanded to do that when the public is speaking pretty loudly that these trade agreements don't work.
One part that in particular affects my State is something called rules of origin in the auto industry, where in order to qualify for a tariff reduction or tariff elimination to sell products, to sell a car, under NAFTA--NAFTA was a very flawed agreement. I helped lead the opposition. We almost defeated it down the hall in the House of Representatives. To qualify for NAFTA tariff reduction, removal, elimination, the car had to be mostly made--60 percent, more or less-- in one of the three countries, the United States, Mexico or Canada. Under the TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership, there are 12 countries, very disparate countries--Peru, the United States, Mexico, Canada, wealthy countries, Vietnam, poor countries. Under the rules of origin and TPP, a car can be more than half made elsewhere, like China, and then still be sold into the United States or sold into Canada or Mexico.
Fundamentally, what this means is, it has created a loophole you can drive my Jeep Cherokee, made by union workers 150 miles from my home in Toledo, OH--you can drive a Jeep Cherokee through this loophole. This will undermine the auto industry, it will undermine the supply chain, it will mean loss of jobs from auto assembly in Youngstown and Toledo and Sharonville, to other kinds--whether it is glass, tires, the steel in the cars. All this will undermine those jobs.
I again thank Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan as they have promised not to bring up this agreement. I hope they are men of their word. It is a disaster for our country. It is bad for our country. I appreciate that both Presidential candidates--one more knowledgeable than the other, perhaps, about trade policy--have opposed the Trans- Pacific Partnership.
I close with this. I see candidates make all kinds of claims about their position on trade. I see all kinds of candidates in their own private businesses doing certain things, but I know we can make products in the United States of America. The shoes I have were made by workers in Maine and Massachusetts. The suit I wear was made by union workers in a company 11 miles from my home in Cleveland. American workers just want a level playing field. They just want the opportunity to compete. They want the opportunity to make things. We know how to do that in this country. Our trade policy should reflect that.
Madam President, I yield the floor.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mrs. FISCHER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Ernst). Without objection, it is so ordered.
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