For those of you who are not residents of Ohio and may be unfamiliar with Sherrod Brown’s record, he has been a staunch defender of the continuing value of collective bargaining rights and of public education. He was one of the few figures at the federal level who immediately denounced Senate Bill 5 for what it was—an ideological attack on workers’ rights and the middle class. He is a progressive’s progressive—and unapologetically and proudly so.
Folks in Washington like to make big promises when it comes to our trade deals. But for too long, we’ve seen nothing but bad results.
We’ve seen what so-called free trade agreements have done to our workers and our communities over the past two decades. We’ve seen the factories close and the stores get boarded up. That’s why I voted against giving the president authority to rush through a huge new trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And it’s why I’ll continue to fight for a level playing field for American workers and American businesses.
It’s true that trade deals have created jobs, and that the TPP could as well. But this ignores the millions more jobs that have been lost because of unfair trade deals.
I like to look at things in baseball terms. Lauding gains from exports while ignoring a flood of imports-–and skyrocketing trade deficits-–is like reporting half of the score of a baseball game. The Cleveland Indians scoring three runs doesn’t help the team much if the Yankees scored six runs.
We know that past trade deals have replaced manufacturing jobs—with good pay and good benefits—with low-wage service sector jobs. We can’t let that happen again.
And we also know that we make deals with countries that don’t play by the same rules we do—they have lax labor and environmental standards, and what international rules they do have to follow too often get ignored.
That’s why we can’t have trade promotion without trade enforcement.
Instead of rushing a bill through last month, the Senate should have taken the time to get this right and to include my important amendments that protect Ohio workers and manufacturers. I fought for provisions that would guarantee a level playing field for our workers and companies by cracking down on countries who manipulate their currencies, and that would give American businesses new tools to fight back against illegal foreign imports.
I also fought to make sure China isn’t able to sneak into this trade pact at a later date, without any oversight or Congressional approval.
I’m going to continue fighting to get these important protections to the president’s desk. This massive agreement could affect forty percent of the global economy—it is too important to rush it through.
We know that trade done right can create prosperity. I want trade that lifts up Ohio’s middle class families and that creates good-paying jobs—not trade that leads to more shuttered plants and shattered communities. That can only happen when the rules aren’t rigged and we have a level playing field.
Unfortunately, with the TPP we know which kind of trade we’re getting—the kind the results in corporate handouts and worker sellouts.