Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 12, 2015 12:30pm-2:31pm EDT

12:30 pm
great deal pntr with china would be turned out to be wrong, dead wrong. in fact, our trade agreement with china has cost us almost three million jobs. in 2001, the trade deficit with china was $83 billion. today it is $342 billion. in 2011 -- on another trade agreement -- u.s. chamber of commerce, big proponents of unfettered free trade strongly supporting t.p.p. chamber of commerce told us we had to pass a free trade agreement with south korea because it would create some 280,000 jobs in america. 280,000 jobs, a lot of jobs. turns out wrong again. in reality economic policy institute recently found that the korean free trade agreement has led to the loss of some 75,000 jobs. and now mr. president the
12:31 pm
obama administration says trust us. forget what they said about nafta. forget what they said about korea. forget what they said about china. this one is different. really really. cross our fingers hope to die. this one is really, really different. yes, it may be true that every corporation in america corporations that have shut down factories in this country moved to china they're supporting this agreement. yeah it's true that wall street whose greed and recklessness have almost destroyed the american economy they're supporting this agreement. yes, it is true that the pharmaceutical industry who charges us the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, they're supporting this agreement. but not to worry, we should trust these guys. they really are thinking of the american middle class and working families. trust us. when they tell us a trade agreement will be good for working people, yes, we should really trust them.
12:32 pm
meanwhile every trade union in america, the vast majority of environmental groups in this country, they are saying be careful about t.p.p. vote "no" on fast track. mr. president, here is the reality of the american economy. since 2001, we have lost 60,000 factories in this country and we've lost over 4.7 million manufacturing jobs. in 1970, 25% of all of the jobs of this country were in manufacturing. today that figure is down to 9%. and the point here is that by and large especially if there were unions, those manufacturing jobs paid working people a living wage, not a wal-mart wage not a mcdonald's wage. our demand must be to corporate
12:33 pm
america who tell us every night on tv to buy this product to buy this pair of sneakers, to buy this television, to buy whatever it is, that maybe just maybe they might want to start manufacturing those products here in the united states of america, pay our workers a decent wage rather than look all over the world for the lowest possible wages at which they can exploit workers who are desperate. mr. president, i was very disappointed that president obama chose the headquarters of nike to tout the so-called benefits of the t.p.p. nike epitomizes why disastrous unfettered free trade policies during the past four decades have failed american workers. nike does not employ a single manufacturing worker who makes shoes in the united states of america. not one worker. 100% of the shoes that are sold b'nai key are -- that are sold
12:34 pm
by nike are made overseas in low-wage countries. when nike was founded and this is the transformation of the american country when nike was founded in 1964, just 4% of u.s. foot wear was imported. in other words we manufactured the vast majority of the shoes and the sneakers that we wore. today nearly all of the shoes that are bought in the united states are manufactured overseas. today over 330,000 workers manufacture nike's products in vietnam, where the minimum wage is 56 cents an hour. and i hear president obama and other proponents of t.p.p. talking about a level playing field. we have to compete on a level playing field. does anybody think competing against people, desperate people who make 56 cents an hour is a level playing field is fair to
12:35 pm
american workers? of course we want the poor people all over the world to see an increase in their standard of living and we've got to play an important role in that. but you don't have to destroy the american middle class to help low-income workers around the world. in vietnam not only is the minimum wage 56 cents an hour, nonpartisan -- independent labor unions are banned and people are thrown in jail for expressing their political beliefs. is that the level playing field that president obama and other proponents of unfettered free trade are talking about? back in 1988, phil knight -- phil knight is the founder and owner of nike -- he said that nike had become synonymous with slave wages forced overtime and arbitrary abuse. phil knight was right. in fact, factories in vietnam where nike shoes are manufactured have been cited by the workers rights consortium
12:36 pm
for excessive overtime, wage theft and physical mistreatment of workers. today mr. knight is one of the wealthiest people on this planet worth more than $22 billion. while mr. knight's net worth has more than tripled since 1999, the average vietnamese worker who makes nike shoes earns pennies an hour. that is pretty much synonymous with what unfettered free trade is all about. a handful of people like phil knight become multi multibillionaires and poor people all over the world are exploited and paid pennies an hour. mr. president, it is not just nike and it is not just vietnam. another country that is part of the trans-pacific partnership is malaysia. today there are nearly 200,000 electronics factories in malaysia where high-tech products from apple dell,
12:37 pm
intel, motorola instruments are manufactured and brought back to the united states. if the t.p.p. is approved, that number will go up substantially. well what's wrong with that? it turns out that many of the workers at the electronics plants in malaysia are being forced to work there under horrible working conditions. according to veritay which conducted a two-year investigation into labor abuses in malaysia, an investigation which was commissioned by the u.s. department of labor 32% of the industry's nearly 200,000 migrant workers in malaysia were employed in forced situations because their passports had been taken away because they were straining to pay back illegally high recruitment fees. in other words american workers are going to be forced to compete against people in malaysia immigrant workers there whose passports have been taken away, who can't leave the country, who are working under forced labor situations.
12:38 pm
so mr. president let me conclude by saying this. all of us understand that trade is good. it is a good thing. but i think most of us now have caught on to the fact that the trade agreements pushed by corporate america pushed by wall street, pushed by the pharmaceutical industry are very very good if you are the c.e.o. of a major corporation but they are a disaster if you are an american worker. so it is my view that we have got to rebuild manufacturing in america. it is my view that we have got to create millions of decent-paying jobs in america. it is my view that we need to fundamentally rewrite our trade agreements so that our largest export does not become decent-paying american jobs. so i would urge my colleagues to vote "no" on the fast-track
12:39 pm
agreement. let us sit down and work on trade agreements that work for the american middle class that work for our working people and not just for the c.e.o.'s of the largest corporations in this country. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor and i believe note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. sanders: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m.
12:40 pm
>> do you support or oppose this measure as it's going forward in the senate? presidential fast-track trade authority. also known as tpa. we will are giving your comments on let us know what you think the a twitter, hashtag c-span chapter. taking you to the white house come a briefing expected to start 10 minutes ago running behind schedule but that's not uncommon. as soon as they did begin we will be hearing from josh earnest.
12:41 pm
possibly get the presence taken the work is been trying to do with democrats in order to get some support for this tpa measure. before the briefing begins let's take a closer look at tpa. this is our conversation that we had earlier today. and the senate voting today on fast-track trade promotion authority for president obama. they will be voting on that today, 2:30 p.m. eastern time. we are joined by a correspondent for "national journal" and let's start with the basics. what is fast-track trade promotion authority? what would this legislation to? >> trade is a major -- major key component. we talked about during the steadying address the he was just in oregon on friday at the 19 corners talking about this. he needs to try to secure some these trade agreements. the biggest one will be with 11 other countries around the specific ram. it would be fast-track authority.
12:42 pm
he needs to get from congress is a bill that would give an up and down vote for some of these later votes, later agreements. and there will be any amendments so it would limit the congressional debate allowed on these trade agreements in the future. and so he wants to be able to tell other countries that look, congress has passed this they will tinker with these deals. of a debate in this is the first time when some of these big agreements will come to the floor. they're just try. they're just funny to august the that's a big problem right now because somebody's senate democrats -- >> host: you briefly mention the tpp lots of acronyms, the trans-pacific partnership. how would you trade promotion authority affect that agreement? >> guest: for trade promotion authority paves the way for tpp and other trade agreements over the next several years. so the tpa agreement would give
12:43 pm
an up and down vote with no amendments for future trade vote. so it will be a big boost to the administration in terms of how they negotiate with other countries and it's a key point for the president in his second term right now. he is relying upon an unusual partner, republicans to try to get the deal done. >> host: how are things like that so far? here is a very, very close vote. ron wyden playing a lot into this. >> guest: ron wyden is a key player. the ranking democrat on the senate finance committee. is working with orrin hatch to try to scramble enough votes just to get on the bill. it's a huge surprise that the can't even get possibly on the bill. it doesn't -- was after the lunch today whether not there will be enough democrats. republicans are charging that democrats are can't change the rules in the past few weeks asked for a little more than what republicans can handle.
12:44 pm
there's four bills in one package that democrats are trying to push right now. orrin hatch, senator mcconnell andalucia pushed a sporty with only two of the bills and then later saying they will pick up the other two bills later. some of the people accuse you guys -- some of these markets may in the end vote for a tpa deal, senator cardin, senator feinstein, senator cardin's who are right now playing hardball in saying they want to have four bills in one right now which is a step too far for me republicans. >> host: who are the other players and maybe we should be looking out for in terms of how the votes are lining up? ron wyden, he agreed, was at last month, and coming out of committee to go ahead with republicans on this? it looks like you might be backing out of committee democrats can they move? >> guest: they are looking for about 10 senate democrats senator wyden's office said yesterday his whole thing has
12:45 pm
been he wants a guarantee on these four bills. he doesn't care as much of some of these other democrats on exactly how they come up. the way in which he came out of the senate finance committee was tpa and taa which would give increased assistance to workers who lost their jobs, were displaced by some of these other trade agreements. so that's what they will try to get on today is a bill, shall that would eventually get to the tpa and taa package. the issue is whether or not they can get on the bill because some of these other democrats are pushing or two of those to get on. many republicans don't like the other two bills because one of them includes a currency manipulation provision that is controversial. >> host: welcome we'll keep following you. we want to fall year via twitter your handle is -- and the website
12:46 pm
thanks for the insight. >> guest: thanks for having me. >> the senate voting on the trade authority legislation to 30 p.m. eastern time, a couple hours away from now. we will take you back to the senate for life for the vote was not they will be moving forward without vote on trade promotion authority. take a look at a couple of tweaks we've been getting from some of the reporters here in capitol hill. "national journal" tweeting republicans are warning that obama's trade package could unravel with minimal democratic support. read more from "national journal." jonathan martin tweeting -- one from chad at fox news.
12:47 pm
and again we'll be taking you live back to the senate after the party lunches 2:30 p.m. eastern time is when the vote is scheduled. also let you know we are standing by for the white house expecting a briefing with press secretary josh earnest. was supposed to start 50 minutes ago. not unusual for these to run a little bit late and especially with the bill as large as the one that the senate is going to be working on probably a lot of things going on behind the scenes at the white house so as soon as that because we will take you there. also want to let you know we are asking the question about whether you support or oppose the president's fast-track trade authority. you can go on, and take a look -- a lot of people saying that they oppose the president getting this kind of authority. christopher writing i am vehemently opposed to trade does not be made known to the public. secret legislation sounds like the opposite of democracy.
12:48 pm
and one from washington says oppose anything this president supports just destroys our country. obama never does what is best for our country. i will read a couple more on facebook. tim singer president backs as wanted%. he knows what's best so i will support it. and then john riding in on, fast-track is to trade what wind is to buy. you let us know what you think, i would check out our facebook page and send us a tweet using hashtag c-span check. it's take a look back at what -- cspanchat. this is the majority and minority leader from the senate floor. >> the senate will have the opportunity this afternoon to open the legislative process for a broad 21st century american trade agenda. let me remind senators that the vote we're taking today is not a vote to approve or disapprove of
12:49 pm
trade promotion authority. in fact, the bill will be voted on to proceed to simply take placeholder that will allow us to open a broad debate on trade that our country very much needs. voting yes to open debate on the 21st century american trade agenda offers every member of this body a chance to stand up for american workers, american farmers, american entrepreneurs and american manufacturers. it's a chance to stand with americans for economic growth opportunity, and good jobs. selling products stamped made in america to the many customers who live beyond our borders is key. that's true across our entire country. it's true in my home state of kentucky. we know that kentucky already exports more than half my jobs
12:50 pm
related to trade. we know that nearly a quarter of kentucky's manufacturing workers depend on exports for their jobs. and, mr. president, we know that manufacturing jobs pay about 18% more than non-export related jobs. so there's every reason to not count more unfair international trade barriers and bring more benefits back to americans right here at home. according to one estimate kentucky alone could see thousands more jobs and millions millions more in economic investment if we enact smart agreements to countries in europe and in the pacific. we also know how important these types of agreements are to our national security. especially in the pacific region. just last week, seven former defense secretaries from both parties wrote to express their strongest possible support for the bill before us today.
12:51 pm
the stakes are clear. they wrote their art tremendous strategic benefits and america's prestige, influence and leadership are on the line. if we care about preserving and extending american leadership in the 21st century, then we cannot see the most dynamic region in the world to china. it's true from a national security perspective, ma and it's true from an economic perspective. but first we need fair and enforceable trade legislation that expands congressional oversight over the administration and since clear rules and procedures for our trade negotiators. we have all those things in a bipartisan congressional trade priorities and accountability act comic bill that passed out of the finance committee 20-6 with strong support from both parties.
12:52 pm
should build on the bipartisan momentum right now. i know the opportunity to consider complex legislation became too uncommon in recent years, but that's changing the. the senate may still be a little rusty steel, so i want to be clear about what the days of vote years. this is a vote to begin a process. this is about to begin a debate on a broad trade agenda. yet tpa will be part of that debate but trade adjustment assistance, or taa, will be also. now, there are many members on my side of the aisle who have real reservations about taa. i do as well. but i suspect that the end of this process after the senate works its will that taa trade adjustment assistance will be part of a package at the senate
12:53 pm
sends to the house. the top democrat on the finance committee made it clear that the market of these trade bills that taa needed to run alongside tpa. kind of the chairman of the committee senator hatch has also been working towards that end. now the finance committee didn't get markup tpa and taa. it also marked up the african growth & opportunity act and pass a general system of purposes bill by voice vote. it reported a customs enforcement bill i voice vote too. so while tpa is clearly the centerpiece of the trade agenda before us there is also bipartisan support for other bills reported by the finance committee. now i know we've heard some concerns that these bills might get left behind. i don't think i was anybody's
12:54 pm
intent. i expect to have a robust amendment process that will allow trade related amendments to be offered and considered. including on the subject matter that the subject committee dealt with. the underlying substitute will be a compromise between the two parties marrying taa and tpa. but let me repeat so there's no misunderstanding. anna eshoo before us will be open for amendment and expected either trade policies considered by the committee and possibly even more will be debated on the floor. i also expect the chairman hatch and senator wyden will be working hard to get as much done as we can on all of these proposals. i know the chairman hatch once defined a path forward on all of these bills. i know that senator wyden and chairman ryan spent a lot of time working through taa and despite the objections of many
12:55 pm
on our side it is likely to be included in any trade bill that passes the senate. i'm confident there's an enduring agreement can be found at the senate is allowed to work its will and debate openly and that's only and do not happen on this bill. so i repeat, all we are voting on today is whether to have the debate at all. if there are senators with concerns about particular details of the trade agenda before us, that's all the more reason to vote to debate it. let's have these conversations in an open and transparent way. let's give the american people a full debate on an important issue. but we can't debate any other provision senators want to consider if they vote to filibuster even getting on the bill. so i'm calling on colleagues to prove they are serious, prove they're serious about wanting to pass this legislation rather
12:56 pm
than simply looking for new and creative ways to defeat it. voting to proceed is the way you have an opportunity to prove you want to pass trade motion authority. all the good committee were commission demonstrates a real hunger to process bipartisan trade legislation. so let's vote to build on that today. let's vote to open debate on a 21st century american trade agenda. let's not slam the door on even the opportunity of having that debate. mr. president? >> the minority leader. >> yesterday the national football league punished one of its most recognizable players for having tampered with again the balls. i find it stunning the national football league is more concerned about how much there is any football and with the
12:57 pm
racist franchise name it denigrate native americans across the country. the redskins name is a racist name. so i wish the commission commission would act as with the emphasis isolate and changing the names that gives, as he did about not enough air in the football. mr. president, we know the other today the senate will vote on the bill for consideration of trade legislation. what we do not know other than what the leader just said, what's going to be on the matter be forthcoming seems to me he just said they will be tpa and taa in the bill. and that meeting with africa and the other provisions dealing with customs will not be in the bill. that's unfortunate. in april the senate finance committee voted for bills out of the committee. each of these four bills address different trade issues. some of these bills contain amendments that the senators spent months working to pass. asi stand to debate the senate
12:58 pm
democrats still don't know for sure the procedure of the republican leader. and i would say to my friend, the republican leader, and everyone i have talked his they say this is about using the logic of the republican leader then he should move to these four bills. he wants a robust amendment process which he talks about all the time. why doesn't he put this legislation before this body and will have a robust amendment process. the ranking member of the finance committee is here is an experienced legislator and he knows, he knows, he was here before the republican put the skids on doing any legislation that took place for years. he knows what the process was before them. he knows what the process is today. and he knows the reason there've been a few things accomplished this and i mean if you can't is because we are cooperate with republicans. we still want to do that, but if the republican leader is
12:59 pm
concerned about a robust dynamic process, but everything the committee reported out. that's why we've been led by the good senior senator from oregon the way we have been. i've been very clear mr. president, i'm not a fan of fast-track but it's important to remember that a series ongoing debate about trade is not limited -- fast-track trade authority. none of those report out provide workers system for american workers, because of trade. trade adjustment system helps american workers be trained to look for a new job and we enter the workforce. a program that is working with the second developing country that we export their products to the united states. third build start out as a customs lead and now includes bipartisan provisions by currency manipulation, and importation of goods forced labor. and also ensures that american manufacturers can enforce trade
1:00 pm
laws against foreign companies who refuse to play by the rules. simply put these three other bills include any provisions to make sure that trade is fair for american workers and the american economy. .. these trade provisions but if the senate's going to talk about trade we must consider its impact on american workers and the middle class. that's what the customs provision does. it's why i support combining these four bills into one piece of legislation so no american worker is left behind by the senate republicans. it's essential that if we move to fast-track, we consider these other bills as part of the process. in past years democrats and republicans joined together to pass other important trade legislation with fast-track. for >> for example, in 2002 when that passed congress adopted in that trade adjustment assistance custom and trade enforcement and an extension on preference
1:01 pm
programs. we did it in 2002 why can't we do it today? so, mr. president my friend and majority leader talk abouts about the -- talks about a way to move forward. there's also a way to move forward that would be less disruptive and would work a lot better and that is put all four bills together and then begin, his words a robust amendment process. the absence of assurance that these four bills are together is a signal that some will be left behind, and the people left behind, of course, are the american middle class. i urge the majority leader take the necessary steps one piece of legislation, otherwise we risk hurting every american that we talk about so much here to protect; namely the middle class. again, logically if you use the statements of the republican leader, he should put all four of them together. we would move forward on this legislation. we could have a process.
1:02 pm
again, we're using his words robust amendment process. last time those words came out robust amendment process we had two amendments. that was the moran bill. two amendments. that's robust? that's not very robust in my estimation. so i wish my friend, the ranking member of the finance committee, the very best in this legislation. he's assumed huge responsibility for his caucus, and we at this stage support these four bills being moved forward at the same time, and then the process can begin of legislating. if we don't if he doesn't do that, it's going to be very difficult to get to the bills reported out of the committee. >> mr. president? >> under the previous order the leadership time -- [inaudible conversations] under the previous order the senate will be in a period of
1:03 pm
morning business until 12:30 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each and with time equally divided in the usual forum. >> mr. president? >> senator from oregon. >> mr. president, i listened carefully to the remarks of the majority leader, and i believe that the majority leader's statement provides potential potential to find the bipartisan common ground on trade that we found in the senate finance committee. in the senate finance committee we passed the trade promotion act by a 20-6 vote the trade adjustment assistance act by a 17-9 vote, and we passed a robust trade enforcement measure and package of trade preferences by voice vote. respectfully, mr. president, i would hope that the majority
1:04 pm
leader would take this morning to work with those on my side of the aisle who are supportive of trade to find a similar bipartisan approach to insure that all four of the measures i've described are actually enacted. and with that, mr. president i yield the floor. >> and just some of what lawmakers had to say. that was the ranking member of the senate finance committee. one of the three that came together to try to put together an agreement on the fast track measure that they're working on today. not sure if he is going to vote up or down for moving forward with the bill and giving the president trade promotion authority, helping him -- allowing the president to, essentially, be able to move faster on trade agreements with other countries without any oversight from congress on those
1:05 pm
or any any vigorous oversight. and we are hoping to bring you to the white house briefing. that was supposed to have started about 30 minutes ago, still has not yet started but we will bring you here live for a briefing with josh earnest once it does. but in the meantime, voting in the senate today on fast track trade promotion authority. take a look at some of the tweets from lawmakers and from members of congress here. we've got one from jennifer bendry with huffington post, on the trade bill, i think we have the votes, and that's from bernie sanders. another one here at national journal, republicans warning obama's trade package could unravel with minimal democratic support. mcconnell says if there are senators with concerns about particular details of the trade agenda, that's all the more reason to vote to debate it. they're expecting to go to debate after they come back from their party lunches.
1:06 pm
and then another one from chad pilgrim carper, senator carper on trade let's give this a shot and see if republicans are sincere about open debate. and one here from dick durbin, senate democratic whip telling me on today's vote, i don't think it's going to be successful. it is a close vote not quite sure yet which way it's going to go. needs 60 votes in order to pass this fast track trade promotion authority. we've been asking you on facebook whether you oppose or support giving the president fast track trade promotion authority. you can go to our facebook page, a number of comments, one from guy who writes: why have a government? it's a dictatorship if this passes. daniel says: this will just make it harder on americans to get job ands while the chinese have a job surplus. and then one from matthew who
1:07 pm
says: oppose. when was the last time you saw this many people agreeing about anything? a lot of people on our facebook page saying they do oppose this measure. a vote at 2:30 p.m. eastern on the senate floor. senate expected back from their party lunches at 2:15 and we'll take you there live when they do return. and then also want to let you know that that vote will require 60 votes in order to pass. we'll be showing you some of what the senate debate was earlier today here. let's take a look at some of the senate debate. this is about 30 minutes. we'll show you as much of it as we can see if the white house briefing starts. and also planning on taking your calls at 2:00 eastern time. >> mr. president i appreciate the leadership of, of senator wyden on this because if you leave out certain bills that help workers then what you're left with essentially is a package that ignores their
1:08 pm
needs. i do want to say that i hope we will not proceed to this debate on this free trade agreement. and i stand here as someone who comes from california where i have voted for half of the trade agreements, and i voted against half. so i think i'm a fair voice for what we should be doing. now, if there's one unifying principle about the economics of today, it is this: the middle class is having a very hard time in america today. perhaps the worst time in modern history. a new university of california study released last week makes it clear how our middle class is being hollowed out. in my state we have a dynamic work force, we have dynamic entrepreneurs, we're doing very well. but this study found that the
1:09 pm
lowest paid 12% of california workers have seen their real wages decline by 12% since 1979. now think about that. this is a great country. we always say we have to be optimistic about tomorrow. you do everything right you play by the rules, and your income for your family in real terms goes down by 12%. there's something wrong with this. i think everyone will say they want to do more for the middle class, and there is a straightforward agenda we could turn to to do just that. but instead what do we turn to? a trade agreement that threatens the middle class that threatens the middle class. so what should we be doing here? not con fabbing in a corner over there about how to push a trade
1:10 pm
bill on this floor that doesn't help working america. we should pass a highway bill. the highway bill is critical. good paying jobs, businesses that thrive in all of our communities, more than 60,000 of our bridges are structurally deficient. more than 50% of our roads are not in good condition. but, oh, no, even though the highway bill expires, we have no more authority to expend money out of that fund come the end of may. they're bringing forward a trade bill that is a threat to the middle class. why don't we increase the minimum wage? the minimum wage needs to be raised. oh, no they don't want to do that. haven't done it in years. states are doing it. oh no.
1:11 pm
let's keep people working full time in poverty. so instead of confabing over there on how to push a trade bill onto this floor, we ought to be raising the minimum wage. what else should we be doing? we should make college more affordable. we have people here on social security in this country that are still paying off their student loans. that is a shame upon america. they can't even refinance their student loan. so instead of con fabbing in the corner about how to bring a trade bill to this floor, why don't we fix the student loan problem? why don't we raise the minimum wage? why don't we pass a highway bill that is funded to help middle class people? it's all a matter of perspective, my friends. we still haven't done equal pay for equal work, so women are not making what they should. and that hurts our women when
1:12 pm
they retire. they've lost more than $400,000 in income. so instead of standing in the corner and figuring out how to bring a trade bill to the floor they ought to be fixing equal pay for equal work. they ought to be fixing student loans for our students. they ought to be passing a highway bill. they ought to be increasing the minimum wage. and they ought to deal with currency fairness, because our trading partners, they play with their currency in order push forward their products. but, oh, no, that is not on the agenda. we could have an agenda for a vibrant middle class but instead of that we are moving toward a trade bill. now, i know there are some who disagree with me, who come down to this floor and say we're going to create jobs with this
1:13 pm
trade bill, it's going to be great. well, let me explain how we're not going to see some of the 12 million jobs that are manufacturing jobs in america not move to countries who pay 56 cents an hour. another country, $1.19 an hour. i know they'll disagree with me. they're making all of these promises, and you know the more i hear it, the more i hear the echoes of the and a nafta debate. now, that was a long time ago, and i was here then. in 1988 i voted for fast track authority to allow the administration to negotiate the north american free trade agreement. then five years later i saw the deal. it was a bad deal, and i voted no. but it was too late because when i saw the deal i knew i
1:14 pm
couldn't fix it because that's what fast track is. and what this majority here today is saying to us is vote for fast track, and give up your right, senator boxer from amending this trade agreement. so they say well, it's very transparent. go down and look at it. well let me tell you what you have to do to read this agreement. follow this. you can only take a few of your staffers who happen to have -- who have to have a security clearance because god knows why this is secure. this is classified. there's nothing to do with defense, it has nothing to do with going after isis it has nothing to do with any of that but it is classified. so i go down with my staff that i could get to go with me, and as soon as i get there, the guard says to me, hand over your
1:15 pm
electronics. okay. i give over my electronics. then the guard says, you can't take notes. i said, i can't take notes? well, you can take notes but you have to give them back to me, and i'll put them in a file. so i said, wait a minute. i'm gonna take notes and then you're gonna take my notes away from me, and then you're going to have them in a file, and you can read my notes? not on your life. so instead of standing in a corner trying to figure out a way to bring a trade bill to the floor that doesn't do anything for the middle class, that is held so secretively that you need to go down there and hand over your electronics and give up your right to take notes and bring 'em back to your office, they ought to come over here and figure out how to help the middle class; how to extend the highway bill how to raise the minimum wage.
1:16 pm
how to move toward clean energy. how to fix our currency manipulation that we see abroad. so anyway, take you back to 1988. i vote for fast track for nafta. instead of the million new jobs that were promised, by 2010 the united states had lost 700,000 jobs. so instead of standing in a corner figuring out how we're going to lose more jobs, we ought to do something that works for the middle class. let me tell you what happened with nafta. instead of improved pay for our workers, which was promised, nafta pushed down american wages. it empowered employers to say to their workers, either accept lower wages and benefits, or we are moving to mexico. instead of strengthening our economy, it increased our trade
1:17 pm
deficit to mexico which now this year hit $50 billion. before nafta, we had a trade surplus with mexico, now we have a trade deficit. so instead of standing in the corner and figuring out how we can have more trade deficits with countries we ought to do something to help middle class. i want to talk about something that happened in california in santa ana. right after nafta. the city had worked hard to keep a mitsubishi plant that assembled big screen tvs securing tax credits to help the plant stay competitive. even after nafta passed, company officials promised they would keep the plant in santa ana. but guess what folks? three years later mitsubishi closed the plant, company officials said they had to cut costs -- especially labor costs -- so they were moving
1:18 pm
their operations to mexico. we lost 400 good paying, middle class jobs even though everyone promised nafta would never do that, this is going to be wonderful. and i got suckered into voting yes on fast track. and i fear we see this pattern again. the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. so we have 12.3 million manufacturing jobs in this country. and we are looking at a trans-pacific partnership deal, the largest trade deal in history covering 40% of the world's economy. tell me, what chance do our people who work in manufacturing have against countries that pay less than a dollar are an hour -- a dollar an hour? in one case i think it's 56 cents, 57 cents. >> [inaudible] >> say it again. >> [inaudible] >> 70 cents an hour.
1:19 pm
i stand corrected. of the 12 countries in the tpp three have minimum wages that are higher than ours; australia new zealand and canada. but most of the countries have far lower wages including chile with a wage of $2.14, peru with a minimum wage of $1.38 vietnam with a minimum wage of 70 cents. brunei and singapore they don't even have a minimum wage. they don't even have a minimum wage. so i think i have laid out the argument as to why all these promises about a better wages -- about better wages more jobs falls flat on its face when you look at that last free trade deal. and this one is with more countries. and then there is the investor state dispute settlement or isds which will allow polluters to
1:20 pm
sue for unlimited money damages. for example, they could use it to try to undo the incredible work in california on climate change by claiming that they were put at a disadvantage by having to live with california's laws. polluters could seek to undermine the president's clean power plant or the toxic mercury pollution under the mercury and air toxic standard or they could sue because they had to use, spend a little money to make sure that they didn't dump toxins into our waterways, drinking water. now, we've seen this happen before. s.b. meyers did it they sued. lone pine resources sued. they notified peru in 2010 and intended to launch an $800 million investor state claim against the government because they said the full trade agreement was violated because
1:21 pm
it said that they didn't really have to install all these anti-pollution devices. and yet peru forced them to do it and what happened was polluter pay turned into polluters get paid. so you have a trade agreement that threatens 12 million manufacturing jobs. you have a trade agreement that is pushing off the floor all the things we need to do for our middle class. you have a trade agreement that sets up this extra-judicial board that can overcome america's laws. as former labor secretary robert rash has warned the consequences could be disaster rouse. he calls the tpp a trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits. so we should set this aside not
1:22 pm
go to this today. work together as democrats and republicans for a true middle class agenda, for a robust investment in our roads bridges and highways. to fix our immigration system. i see senator leahy's on the floor. he put together a comprehensive immigration reform bill that was amazing. but it got stopped, and it got stuck, and it never happened. and you'vew3 got workers in the dark,xd they're afraid to come out into the sunlight. and that puts downward pressure on wages. let's pass that. let's make college more affordable insure equal pay for equal work and currency fairness. and we can do it. and, mr. president, i'm going to take about three minutes to talk about my last issue today and that is the toxic reform bill that passed out of the
1:23 pm
environment and public works committee. and i'd ask unanimous consent to put my full statement in the record. >> without objection. >> well, i have some great news on the front of the toxic bill. the original vitter-udall bill was slain and is gone. and in its place is a better bill. that's the great news. the bad news is, it's still not a really good bill. we have to do better. and we can do better. what we did in this bill is understand that we had to negotiate certain things out of it. and one of the things we had to negotiate was how far the bill went the original bill, in preempting state laws. and we have addressed that. credit goes to 450 organizations who, while they still opposed
1:24 pm
this bill, pushed hard for those changes. and credit goes to senators whitehouse and merkley and booker who told me they wanted to try to negotiate some changes, and i bless them, and they went and did it. and for that i have to thank a senator who no longer is with us ted kennedy, who once taught me he said as a chairman, you need to understand sometimes that you have to turn to your colleagues and let them move forward. and i was happy to do that. and so the changes that came back were partway fix on preemption, a full fix on preempting air laws and water laws when it comes to toxics, coenforcement has been fixed. so we're very very pleased. what is not really fixed, however, is we want to make sure that states have even more latitude to move if they see a danger.
1:25 pm
we want to make sure that if there's a cancer cluster among kids or adults around this country, that we can see the federal government move to help them. we want to make sure that asbestos is addressed directly in this bill. because 10,000 people a year die because of asbestos exposure. we want to make sure if there's a chemical stored near a drinking water supply, that, in fact that will receive priority attention. what chemical is in there? we saw it happen in west virginia. and senator manchin wrote a really good bill with me. we should address that. and i was happy to see that we got some bipartisan votes on those last two fixings. so we have -- fixes. so we have to fix this bill. and anyone who comes to the floor and says it's perfect, i just don't agree with them. but that's not important what i
1:26 pm
think, it's what 450 groups think. they think the bill has to be fixed. so let's be clear, the people who say we have to fix the bill with perfecting amendments include the american public health association the public health nursing section, the asbestos disease awareness organization, the consumers union, the institute for agriculture and trade policy, the national disease clusters alliance, the national hispanic medical association the birth defects research for children, physicians for social responsibility the maryland nurses' association, the massachusetts nurses' association, the national association for hispanic nurses, the association of women's health obstetric and neonatal nurses, the bladder cancer advocacy group the breast cancer action the breast cancer fund huntington breast cancer action coalition kids versus cancer, lung cancer alliance it
1:27 pm
quos on and on -- itt( goes on and on. i ask unanimous consent to put the full list of these groups into the record. >> without objection. >> so i say to my colleagues, the vitter-udall bill is much better than it was when it was introduced. and these 450 groups did everything in their power to help us fix the bill. we're halfway there. and i hope we can negotiate some more fixes and maybe we can do that. if we can pass four or fife of these -- five of these amendments we're on our way. but if we can't fix the bill and it does come here there'll be a lot of talking about how to fix it. a lot of talking, a lot of standing on feet, a lot of rallies with 450 groups. so that's the choice the senate faces. and in the end, in the end we'll deal with this. but i just took to the floor today to thank my colleagues who
1:28 pm
helped negotiate this from a bill that was a disaster to a better bill. and i also want to make sure that these 450 organizations just extraordinary what they did standing up for safer chemicals, healthy families, nrdc. these groups were so fantastic, they never allowed people to talk them down, to bully them out of the room. and i stand with them 100%. asbestos disease awareness, you are incredible. so we have some hope here and all we have to do is keep on fixing this bill, and it could come to a good place. mr. president, i so appreciate the patience of my colleagues. i've talked long about two bills, very important. i hope we will not get on this trade bill. i hope we will move to an agenda for the middle class. thank you very much. >> mr. president?
1:29 pm
>> senator from delaware. >> mr. president, i want to hearken back about six months, if i could, to the election of last november. for me, there were at least three takeaways from that election. one of those is the voters of this country want us to work together across party lines. number two, they want us to get things done. and among other things they want us to get done, find ways to strengthen the economic recovery that's been underway now for several years. senator boxer has referred to a couple of things that would be on that to-do list; a robust six years' transportation bill that rebuilds our roads highways transportation systems helps to strength our economic recovery by making a more efficient transportation method to move products all over this country
1:30 pm
and outside of this country. we need to strengthen our cybersecurity. we need to address data breach. all the attacks that are going on to, throughout this country businesses colleges, universities, you name it. we need tax reform that actually provides predictability in the tax system and makes our tax cold, from the business side more competitive with the rest of the world. and we also need to acknowledge as the president has done, that 95% of the world's market lies outside of our borders. 95%. fastest growing part of that market around the world is asia. the president has suggested supported strongly, a trade agreement that would involve 12 nations including about a half dozen here in this hemisphere and the other half over in asia that altogether encompass about 40% of the world trade market.
1:31 pm
and the president's not suggesting that we just open up our markets so that other countries can sell more of their stuff here. they already do that, for the most part. the goal of this trade agreement is to open up these other markets in other countries so we can sell our goods our products and our services there. this is a top priority for this administration. and this should be a top priority for democrats and republicans. and if it's hammered out with compromises that are fair to workers for the middle class and our families. the majority leader has come here today to suggest path forward. i hope we'll not reject it. what he's suggested is we allow through a vote or cloture motion, to move to the floor and begin debate on four different pieces of legislation that are part of the transportation
1:32 pm
agreement. we've seen this movie before. in fact, we've seen it a number of times before because we've given trade promotion authority to every president since world war ii except for richard nixon. and the reason why it's almost impossible for 535 of us in the congress to negotiate a trade deal whether three nations or eleven other nations. it's pretty much impossible, that's why you have trade promotion authority. the majority leader suggested this, let's move to these four bills. let's begin the debate. we should realize as democrats we already realize a great victory here n. the past, the republicans have rejected our efforts almost every time to include trade assistance adjustment. when folks were displaced from their jobs, you could actually get help with training and an
1:33 pm
opportunity to put their lives back together. in this case we've actually had -- with this legislation today -- the trade promotion authority which actually expresses our views as a congress through the trade negotiator, what our priorities are to our negotiating partners overseas, and in return for doing that -- and i think that's in our interests -- but the other thing that we get out of moving tpa with taa together is that we get up front the assurance that we're going to look after workers that are displaced. it's the trade adjustment assistance we've ever had. at least in terms of the way it treats workers and displaced workers. even those who are maybe not even affected by this agreement but are affected by other calamities in our economy. not just manufacturing sector but also in the service sector as well. so i'd suggest this to my colleagues, let's spend the time between now and 2:30 this
1:34 pm
afternoon trying to figure out how we can establish some confidence and faith and trust here that if we move to this bill it will not be just to consider trade promotion authority and trade adjustment assistance. we'll have an opportunity to consider the other two pieces of legislation as well. there's a lot riding on this, a lot riding on this. the economic recovery of our country does not rise or fall simply on the passage of this legislation, and the conclusion of the negotiations, but it sure would help. it would sure help bolster a stronger economic recovery. just as would the passage of a six-year transportation bill. just as would cybersecurity legislation. and on and on and on. so i'll close with this thought. the debates we've had here in recent months with respect to the negotiation between the five permanent members of the security council the germans and the iranians on our efforts
1:35 pm
to make sure the iranians don't have, don't develop a nuclear weapon. we have said again and again and again, we've reworked the old reagan slogan "trust but verify." we say mistrust but verify in -- i would suggest to my colleagues especially on this side of the aisle, let's take that approach here. maybe we don't trust republicans, that they're going to do they say what we're going to do. we have an opportunity to verify. and the verify comes with a vote later on. we vote for -- actually move to the bill, debate the amendments and so forth. if at the end of the day we're not happy with what's happened, we feel that we've been given a raw deal, the workers in this country, middle class families have been given a raw deal, we have a chance to verify, and we vote not to move the bill off the floor. we would not provide cloture to end debate. that's where we have our final vote. our final our final option.
1:36 pm
i hope we would keep that in mind. and, mr. president i'll yield the floor. thanks very much. >> and some of the debate from earlier today as the senate moves toward a vote at 2:30 p.m. eastern time. about an hour from now on giving the president fast track trade promotion authority. and we'll take you back to the senate floor live as soon as they come back in. they're meeting right now in their caucus lunches which they do every tuesday. and let's take a look at some of the tweets that we have here from both members of congress and also from reporters. one from burr jess everett with politico, and he says: lock it in democrats will block the trade vote today. a group of pro-trade democrats tell reporters. and this is as reporters are waiting outside some of those meeting rooms. here's another one from jonathan wiseman with "the new york times," pro-trade democrats emerge from meeting saying they will block the tpa trade promotion authority.
1:37 pm
a look at some of the ones who he says will be blocking that run, ron wyden of oregon, michael bennett of colorado, mark warner, virginia, dianne feinstein of california, bill nelson of florida patty murray and also maria cabotwell from washington state -- cantwell from washington state. we also hear rand paul says he is also a no vote on this trade promotion authority. a couple more tweets, we are going to be taking your calls in about 20 minutes or so. we'll take a look at one fromman knewage jewish who says, put a fork in it. democrats say they'll vote against proceedings to obama's trade bill until one of their demands are met. earnest won't say -- and this is josh earnest press secretary, white house -- won't say if the white house backs the democrats' demand that four trade bills be bundled, says it's up to the senate to work it out. white house will stay engaged. and if you want to check out the white house press briefing
1:38 pm
that's going on online, and let's take a look at some of those four trade deals a little bit more here from law 360. senator reid that's harry reid, minority leader wants four trade bills merged, and according to this web site here talking a little bit about what they call the gamesmanship over closely-watched trade legislation. continuing in everyonest today as -- earnest today as senate minority leader harry reid of demanded that a crucial bill be packaged with three other measures. a little bit further down we can see one of those the trade adjustment assistance program extending preference programs and also beefing up customs enforcement. he says he wants to make sure that those are not left in the dust. you can read more there, law 360. and we'll be taking your phone calls, it 2:00 eastern time. back to the senate floor at 2:15 and then they're going to
1:39 pm
be voting possibly voting on whether or not to move forward on the trade promotion authority bill. and we're going to be taking your calls, find out what you think. you can always weigh in at let's take a look back as well some more from earlier today in some of the debate on the senate floor. this is orrin hatch who is the chair of the finance committee and dick durbin as well from illinois. >> mr. president, later today the senate will vote on whether to begin debate on the future of the u.s. trade policy. it is a debate that has been a long time coming. in fact, we haven't had a real trade policy debate in this chamber since at least 2002. that's 13 years ago. think about that. let's keep in mind that 95% of the world's consumers live outside the united states and that if we want our farmers our ranchers manufacturers and entrepreneurs to be able to compete in the world marketplace, we need to be
1:40 pm
actively working to break down barriers for american exports. this is how we can grow our economy and create good, high paying jobs for american workers. while the chatter in the media and behind the scenes surrounding today's vote has been nearly deafening, no one should make today's vote more than it is. to the, once again and quite simply, a vote to begin debate on these important issues. now, i know that some around here are unwilling to even consider having a debate if they can't dictate the terms in advance, but that's not how the senate works and thankfully that's not the path we're going to take. i've been around here for a long time, so i think i can speak with some authority about how this chamber is under normal conditions and regular order supposed to operate. of course, before this year it had been a while since this body had worked the way it was supposed to. hopefully today's vote can serve as a reminder, and we can go to regular order on these bills.
1:41 pm
and do it in a way that brings dignity to this chamber again. once again, today's vote will decide whether we will -- only whether we will begin a debate on trade policy. it will not in any way decide the outcome of that debate. indeed, the question for today is not how this debate will proceed, but whether it will proceed at all. right now everyone's focus seems to be on whether we'll renew trade promotion authority or tpa, and that will, of course be part of the trade debate. tpa is a vital element of u.s. trade policy. indeed, it is the best way to insure the congress sets the objectives for our trade negotiators and provides assurances to our trading partners that if a trade agreement is signed, the u.s. can deliver on the deal. mr. president the finance committee reported the strong bipartisan tpa bill on april 22nd. the committee vote was 20-6.
1:42 pm
in favor of the bill. it was a bipartisan vote. that was a historic day. before that day the last time the finance committee referred a tpa bill was in 1988, almost three decades ago. but this' not all we -- that's not all we did on that day. in addition to our tpa bill, we reported a bill to reauthorize trade adjustment assistance, or taa, a bill to reauthorize expired trade preference programs and a customs and trade enforcement bill. these were all important bills each one of them. they all had bipartisan support. i was a principal author of three of these four bills and i don't intend to see any of them left by the wayside. however, that looks like, that's becoming increasingly what might really happen here if we don't get together. everyone here knows that i'm anxious to get tpa across the finish line.
1:43 pm
and though it pains me a little to say it, taa is part of that effort. we know that our colleagues on the left have to have that. well i oppose taa. i recognized from the beginning that the program is important to many of my colleagues some of whom are on this side of the aisle as well. and it's a necessary component to win their support for tpa. on a number of occasions including at the finance committee mark-up, i've i committed to helping make sure that tpa and taa move on parallel tracks and i intend to honor that commitment. toward that end if we get cloture on the motion to proceed later today i plan to combine tpa and taa into, basically a single package that can be split by the house and move them as a substitute amendment to the trade vehicle. in other words -- and i have to
1:44 pm
say congressman ryan the chairman of the ways and means committee, understands that taa has to pass over there as well. in other words no one should be concerned about a path forward for tpa and taa. and that was the big debate throughout the whole process procedural process, i should say. and even though it raises concerns for a number of republicans, including myself, these two bills will move together. the question ultimately becomes what about the preferences and customs bills. there are two other bills here. i've committed in the past to work on getting all four of these bills across the finish line, or at least to a vote on the floor and i'll reaffirm that commitment here on the floor today. i'll work in good faith with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both the house and the senate to get this done. regarding preferences, the house and senate have introduced very
1:45 pm
similar bills and in the past these preference programs -- programs like the african growth and opportunity act and the generalized system of preferences -- have enjoyed broad bipartisan support. my guess is that support will continue and that there's a path forward on moving that legislation in short order. admittedly the customs bill is a bit more complicated. however, i am a principal author of most of the provisions in the customs bill. indeed, many of my own enforcement positions and priorities are in that bill. put simply, mr. president i have a vested interest in seeing the customs bill become law and i will do all that i can to make sure that that happens. i'll work with senator wyden and the rest of my colleagues to find a path forward on these bills. i don't want any of them to be left behind. but we all know that the customs bill has language in there that cannot be passed in the house. i don't know what to do about that. all i can say is we can provide a vote here in this body, and
1:46 pm
who knows what that vote will be. i am quite certain that if we're allowed to proceed today that these bills -- not to mention many others -- will be offered as amendments. but in the end, we can't do any of that we can't pass a single one of these bills if we don't even begin the trade debate. [laughter] if senators are concerned about the substance of the legislation we're debating, the best way to address these problems is to come to the floor offer some amendments and take some to -- take some votes. that's how the senate is supposed to operate, and we're prepared to operate it that way. i mighted a, though, we have to get the bill up. and if there's a cloture vote and cloture fails katie bar the door. i know there are some deeply-held convictions on all sides of these issues, and that not everyone in the senate agrees with me. that's all the more reason to let this debate move forward and let's see where it goes. let's talk about our positions.
1:47 pm
let's make all of our voices heard. i'm ready and willing to defend my support for free trade and tpa here on the senate floor. i will happily stand here and make the case for open markets and expanded access for u.s. exporters and refute any arguments made to the contrary. and i'm quite certain there are a number of my colleagues who would relish the opportunity to tell me why they think i'm wrong. they should have that right. none of that happens, mr. president, if people vote today to prevent the debate from even taking place. we need to keep in mind that we're talking about bipartisan legislation here. all of these bills are sported by senators -- supported by senators on both sides of the aisle. this isn't some partisan gambit to force a republican bill through the senate. and, of course, let's not forget that with tpa we're talking about president obama's top priority. his top legislative priority. and one of the most important
1:48 pm
bills in this president's service as president of the united states of america. this is a debate we need to have, mr. president. i'm prepared to have it. the american people deserve to see us talk about these issues here on the floor instead of hiding behind procedural excuses. now i urge all my colleagues regardless of where they stand substantively on this issues to vote to begin this important and hopefully historic debate on u.s. trade policy. let me just say i'm really basically shocked that after all that we've done the large vote on the committee the importance of this, of these two bills in particular, but all four of them and the importance of trade promotion authority and trade adjustment assistance to the president that we now have a bunch of procedural mechanisms that could make this all impossible. it's hard for me to believe that this could take place.
1:49 pm
we had an agreement. the two sides. and i'm concerned about that agreement being broken. at this late date when we were so happy to get these bills out of the committee and get them the opportunity of being on the floor. and i've got to say as republican, as a conservative, i'd be willing to carry the water for the president on this because he is absolutely right that tpa and taa should pass. especially tpa. taa, i have questions about that. i wish we didn't, i wish we didn't have to pass that. but i've agreed to see that it is on the senate floor. as part of passing tpa. the other two bills certainly deserve to pass. however, we know that the president does not like the language that was put into the customs bill.
1:50 pm
neither do can i at -- neither do i at this point because i think it could foul up the whole process. the way i'm hearing from the other side. we understood we were going to have votes on tpa and taa without getting into the currency problem that will still be alive on generalized -- excuse me, on the customs bill. i'm very concerned about this because we've come this far and we should follow through and get this done. the president will be better off, the country will be better off, all of us will be better off, and we can walk away from this, i believe in the end feeling like we've done the right thing. this is the best thing that can be done for our country. we've got to be part of the free trade movement in this country. in this world. there are 400 trade agreements out there. we've only agreed to 20 of 'em.
1:51 pm
and these trade agreements generally bring jobs that are much better paid than other jobs in our society between 13 and 18% more. for the life of me, i'll never understand why the unions are so posed to it and thus, so many democrats opposed to it. i can't understand it, because this will create jobs and generally the better jobs the jobs that unions can then fight to unionize if they want to. which they have a right to do under our laws. and yet every time these matters come up, they are principle and paramount to getting free trade agreements passed. look, i think that ambassador froman has done a very good job up til now but his hands are tied. if we don't pass tpa he's going to have a very difficult time ever bringing about the tpp the
1:52 pm
trans-pacific partnership, or ttip which is 28 european countries plus ours. tpp is 11 countries plus ours, mainly in asia. not the least of which is japan. but our trade greet -- trade representative believes that he can get to sign a trade agreement with us. i believe he can. but i don't believe he can do it without tpa. we've already been told by the ambassador from new zealand that they're not going to sign without tpa. so to hamper the passage of tpa because of some, some desire to do otherwise is not only a mistake, it flies in the face of the support this president needs and should have on this particular bill. now, i understand there are
1:53 pm
folks on the other side just aren't for free trade. and they're not for trade bills. but the fact of the matter -- and they have a right to feel that way. i don't have any problem with that. what i have a problem with is making it impossible to pass these bills and get them through the senate which is the path we're on right now. and if the votes are against cloture, i suspect that our path to getting this done, to improving our trade throughout the world, to allowing us to compete worldwide the way we should is going to be severely hampered. if not if not completely hurt. so with that i'll yield the floor. >> mr. president? >> democratic leader. >> mr. president, how much time is remaining on the democratic side?
1:54 pm
[inaudible conversations] >> the democratic side has 12 and a half minutes remaining. >> thank you very much, mr. president. most people who are following this debate may be a little bit put off by some of the initials that we use around here; tpp, tpa, taa. what is it all about? it's about a trade agreement. it involves, i believe a dozen countries including the united states, most of them are in asia. and we are preparing to discuss and debate it, and that trade agreement is known as, i believe, the trans-pacific partnership, tpp. i think that's what that stands for. i'll correct the record if i'm wrong on that. but before we get to the trade agreement, we have to decide how we are going to consider it and that is known as tpa trade promotion authority or fast track. and the question is whether or not the united states senate will agree that we cannot amend the trade agreement no amendments, and that it's a simple majority vote.
1:55 pm
that is what's known as fast track. virtually every president in modern times has had that authority. it has expired, and now it has to be recreated by a vote on the floor. what we're anticipating this afternoon is whether or not we go to the arguments about these various issues, and the uncertainty is what leads my friend from utah, senator hatch to come to the floor. the uncertainty for our side is how are we going to consider this? four bills came out of the finance committee related to trade. how are they going to be brought to the floor? are they going to be part of one package? are they separate votes? which one will come out of the senate? will more than one come out of the senate? unanswered questions. and because these questions are unanswered, the vote at 2:30 or so is in doubt. senator hatch is upset. he believed that there was an agreement. i wasn't party to it, i don't know. but this much i do know, trade is a controversial issue. it's important to america's economy, but when you take it
1:56 pm
home and you meet with your people you represent, there are strong mixed feelings about trade. some who work for caterpillar tractor company in illinois want to promote trade sell more of those big yellow tractors, put more americans to work to build them. but many look at trade and say i could be a casualty. i could be a victim. they can ship my job overseas, senator. so what are you going to do to make sure i'm protected? so that's why trade isn't an easy issue. it's a controversial issue. taa, which senator hatch referred to, is trade adjustment assistance. what it says is if you lost your job because of a trade agreement, if you lost your job we'll help pay for your training for a new job. senator hatch said he opposed that. i fully support it. i just visited a high school in down state illinois. there was a man there teaching high school students good gifted high school students how to repair computers. and i said to him, how did you get boo this business?
1:57 pm
he said it's a funny thing i lost my job in the factory years ago because of a trade agreement. but because of trade adjustment assistance, i was able to go back to college, got a degree, and now i'm a teacher. do i support trade adjustment assistance? you bet i do. for that teacher and for many others who want to transition into a good job if they lose their job because of trade. so including trade adjustment assistance in any part of a trade agreement is important to many of us. we want to make sure it is included on the floor of the senate. equally so, we want to make sure that trade agreements are enforceable. it wasn't that long ago that we had thriving steel production companies in america that were victimized by many foreign countries that started dumping steel in the united states. what does it mean to dump steel? these countries -- brazil, japan and russia -- were selling steel in the united states at lower than the cost of production.
1:58 pm
why? they knew they could run the americans out of business, and they did. by the time we filed an unfair trade grievance, went through the hearings, won our case, the american companies had disappeared. so enforcement is an important part of any conversation about trade. and we want to know from senator hatch and republicans who bring this to the floor are we going to enforce this trade agreement so american companies are treated fairly? i think that's a pretty legitimate question. until it's answered there's uncertainty, and maybe the vote at 2:30 will reflect it. i hope we can get it answered before 2:30, but if not, soon after, as to how senator mcconnell wants to bring this issue to the floor. >> and on capitol hill, some of what we heard earlier from the u.s. senate floor on the trade promotion authority. that's the fast track measure to give presidential powers there to the president to, essentially, move trade agreements faster than he otherwise would be able to
1:59 pm
affecting, of course the tpp that is the trans-pacific partnership which is coming up for agreement very soon. and what happens today in the senate, taking a vote on tpa at around 2:30 p.m. eastern time, what happens today could affect some of those other trade agreements down the line. want to let you know we're going to be taking your phone calls you can let us know what you think about the trade promotion authority. phone numbers, you can see them there up on your screen. if you support the measure 202-748-8921. if you're opposed to it, 202-748-8920. and today, of course as most tuesdays, the parties are in their party lunches. let's take a look at some of the tweets from reporters as they've been hear what's been going on behind those closed doors. one from heidi she's with bloomberg news, saying that republicans may pull the fast track trade bill entirely if democrats block a test vote.
2:00 pm
that's according to senator orrin hatch of utah. jennifer men drink with huffington post says procedural snafu, said at least four to five times now by the white house spokesman regarding the democrats potentially sinking the trade bill today. you can continue watching the white house briefing if you want to online, and then just one more tweet here susan ve reach cho says will the senate gop still hold the trade promotion bill today? in floor speech senator thune said hopefully but again, it depends on democrats. and we are again going to be taking your phone calls. let us know whether you support or oppose trade promotion authority, what you would like to hear from the senate as they come back in. they'll be gaveling back in about 2:15 p.m. eastern time, that's in about 15 minutes, and then taking a vote on it -- expected to take a vote on it at 2:30 eastern time. for now, let's take a look at, a
2:01 pm
closer look at the tpa. and the senate voting today on fast track trade promotion authority for president obama. they're going to be voting on that today 2:30 p.m. eastern time. we're joined by alex rogers, correspondent for "national journal," and alex, let's start with the basics here. what is fast track trade promotion authority? what would this legislation do? >> guest: sure. so trade is major, key component of the president's economic agenda. he talked about it during the state of the union address. he was just in oregon on friday at the nike headquarters talking about this. so what he needs to try to secure some of these trade agreements, the biggest one's going to be with 11 other countries around the pacific rim, is going to be fast track authority. so what he needs to get from congress is a bill that would give an up and down vote for some of these later votes, later agreements, and there wouldn't be any amendments. so it would limit the
2:02 pm
congressional debate allowed on any of these trade agreements in the future. and so he wants to be able to tell other countries that look, if the congress has passed this they're not going to tinker too much with these deals that we've secured together. so the vote today in the senate is the first time when some of these big agreements are going to come to the fore. so they're just trying to get on this bill, and that's the big problem right now because some of these senate democrats are fleeing the scene. >> host: and briefly you mentioned the tpp. lots of acronyms, tpp, the trans-pacific partnership how would the trade promotion authority affect that agreement? >> guest: so the trade promotion authority paves the way for tpp and other trade agreements over next several years. so the tpa agreement would give an up and down vote with no amendments for future trade votes. so it'll be a big boost to the administration in terms of how
2:03 pm
they negotiate with other countries, and it's a key point for the president in his second term right now. he's relying upon an unusual partner, republicans, to try to get it done. >> host: yeah, right. how are things lining up so far? i hear a very very close vote. ron wyden's playing a lot into this. >> guest: yeah. so ron wyden is a key player he's the ranking democrat on the senate finance committee. he's working with the ranking republican, orrin hatch, to try to scramble enough votes just to get on the bill. and it's a huge surprise that they can't even get possibly on the bill. it's up in the air right now. we're going to see after the lunches today whether or not there'll be enough democrats. republicans are charging that democrats have kind of changed the rules in the past few weeks asking for a little bit more than what republicans can handle. there's a four bills in one package that democrats are trying to push right now. orrin hatch senator mcconnell and others have pushed a smaller deal with only two of the bills and then later saying that
2:04 pm
they'll pick up these other two bills later. but some of the people that you guys should be looking out for are some of these moderates that may, in the end, vote for a tpa deal, senator cardin, senator feinstein, senator coons who are right now playing a little hardball and saying that they want to have four bills in one right now which is a step too far for many republicans. >> host: and who are the other players that maybe we should be looking out for in terms of how the votes are lining up? ron wyden he agreed was it last month on coming out of committee to go ahead with republicans on this. it look like he might be backing out. and how many democrats can they really lose? >> guest: so the, they're looking for about ten senate democrats. senator wyden's office said yesterday that his whole thing the entire time has been that he wants a guarantee on these four bills. and he doesn't really care as much as some of these other republicans -- some of these other democrats on exactly how they come up. the way in which it came out of
2:05 pm
the senate finance committee was tpa and taa which would give increased assistance to workers who lost their jobs, or displaced by some of these other trade agreements. so that's what they're going to be what they're going to try to get on today, is a bill, a shell that would eventually get to this taa and tpa package. the issue is whether or not they can get on the bill because some of these other democrats are pushing for two other bills to get on. many republicans don't like the other two bills because one of them includes a currency manipulation provision -- >> host: uh-huh. >> guest: -- that is controversial. >> host: all right. well, we're going to keep following you. we want to follow you via twitter, your web site, thanks for the insight. >> guest: thanks for having me. >> host: and taking your phone calls, what do you think? support or oppose this presidential fast track trade
2:06 pm
deal? let's get a call right away. howard's calling from bedford, massachusetts, on the line for support. howard why? >> caller: i'm supporting any moment in the country that excuse me, that encourages a variety of disparate entities such as countries and organizations within countries to cooperate. undoubtedly, there will be difficultyies once such cooperation is in process, but if you don't start, you're never going to resolve this issue. to fight an effort to have are a common purpose -- to have a common purpose seems to me to be self-destructive. >> host: all right. howard there. and moving on, chris laguna woods, california. also on the line for supporting the tpa. chris, let us know why. >> caller: well, just in general i think it's a good idea for the
2:07 pm
u.s. to be engaged with that part of the world. increasingly so. i think the arguments in favor probably outweigh the arguments against, although both sides have very strong arguments. i guess the main question i have is um, is it not possible for the public to get more information about what's contained in the tpp at this stage, and where can one find that kind of more detailed information? because it really is an example of how secretive our government has become, our democracy has become, that we as a public can't get more accurate, you know informed information about what this hugely important trade deal is going to mean for this country. >> host: right. and we even, actually heard from a lawmaker herself barbara boxer, who talked earlier about going into a meeting on some of these trade deals. congress bring her cell phone -- congress bring her cell phone,
2:08 pm
couldn't take notes out, so even some of the lawmakers aren't getting, perhaps a full picture of what's going on. bart winston-salem, north carolina, on the line for those who oppose this tpa. bart, let us know why. >> caller: yeah, good afternoon my name is -- [inaudible] and i am definitely opposed to the tpp. because i was going on the internet and researching the t prks p from the -- [inaudible] and apparently they put more information on their site than we get here in the united states. and the trade -- it's not just about trade. this is also about investment. and it talks about -- it needs to be really looked at. right how in germany -- [inaudible]
2:09 pm
is being sued by a company from sweden who invested with the former government of hamburg to build a power plant. and what happened is during that time they had an election in hamburg, and they changed the people who were elected and the next party was against that power plant. and now this company is suing the state of hamburg for a billion and a half dollars. >> host: thanks for the example there. just want to get some more callers in but then, yes concerns about longevity just beyond the current lawmaker, current administration in power in terms of some of these trade deals. indianapolis indiana, line for supporters ryan. >> caller: hi there. yeah i support giving the president fast track authority. i only had, my concern is if
2:10 pm
this deal is so great, then why isn't the public and the press allowed to see it before it goes for a vote? and that's my only concern because the only things that we're getting is from word of mouth and hearsay. there's a web site you can go to called -- >> host: uh-huh. >> caller: -- and it has a draft that had leaked from a previous agreement on there that you can see. and a lot of that stuff is kind of concerning. but in general i support giving the president fast track trade authority. but i'm concerned with what's in it and i would rather them take the time today to pass a, you know open disclosure -- >> host: uh-huh. >> caller: -- of the deals before, you know, we go for a vote. >> host: all right ryan, thanks
2:11 pm
for the call. let's take a look at part of the white house briefing and some of the concerns with the process involved here in this trade, in the trade legislation. >> now what's also true is that it is not unprecedented, to say the least, for the united states to encounter procedural and a snafus. that was true when democrats were in charge of the united states senate. we've talked about before about how that's been true when republicans have been in charge of the united states senate. and what we're hopeful is that every member of the united states senate can summon the bipartisan spirit that was on display in the senate finance committee to work through this procedural snafu. and the good news is that we have seen statements in public already today from people like leader mcconnell from senator wyden, even senator hatch who obviously, was instrumental to crafting this bipartisan
2:12 pm
compromise to a willingness to work in bipartisan fashion to untangle this procedural knot that the senate right now is mired in. so we're obviously going to continue to remain engaged with members of the united states senate, but the truth is most of our discussions are focused on the substance. and, you know, the senate has a process for working through these procedural challenges and we're pleased to see democrats and republicans both indicating a willingness to work through these procedural challenges. >> host: from the white house earlier, taking your calls now. do you support or do you oppose the president getting fast track trade authority? doug is on the line from tampa florida, on the line for those opposed. >> caller: yes, i oppose the fast track authority because basically, i oppose free trade. it's not working out for working americans. and this morning i was watching
2:13 pm
c-span, and greta put up a graphic showing the benefits that have been obtained through exports, and i thought finally we would see a comparison between what exports do and what imports are doing. but she never touched imports. she ended the segment without ever going there. and i think if you did that then people would understand what the controversy is when they see the americans who are consumers are buying their products that are made by somebody else, and we can make those products ourself. everybody can have a good manufacturing job, and the winners would outweigh the losers other than like now where the winners are a very small number. >> host: thanks for pointing that out doug and we'll see if we can at least dig up some kind of information there get another call in before the senate gavels back in. here's sylvan, flag staph, arizona, on the line for those
2:14 pm
who oppose tpa. >> caller: thank you, yes. i'm opposed primarily because we're not being told all the information on this trade agreement and secondly, already because too many jobs in the u.s. have been transferred to overseas. we have lost way too many jobs, and i foresee that this would be a repetition of that. thank you very much. >> host: all right. just one more call quick before the senate comes in. delner in tennessee online for supporters of tpa. >> caller: i'm in support of it. >> host: you're in support of it? >> caller: yes. >> host: and do you know why? >> caller: thank you. >> host: all right. we've got a line there for supporters. just to remind you if you want to watch white house briefings still going on, you can find that at going to take you back just shortly to the senate as soon as they gavel back in.
2:15 pm
see if we can get one more phone call in here. john's calling from oceanside california, on the line for those who are opposed to tpa. >> caller: thank you very much for taking my call. as elizabeth warren has often spoke, president obama says that this is a good deal for america and there's no secrecy. well, as she has said, and i will say it again if there's nothing secret, why don't we have it fully vetted? why is it that we have to have our elected members have their hands tied? they can't in essence, talk about the deal until after the fact when we can't offer any amendments or do anything like that? president obama often speaks about transparency. well, i think the greatest disinfectant is the light of day. we need to know what's in this trade agreement before we sign it -- >> host: we have to end it there because the senate's gaveling back in. let's see what they have to say. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado.
2:16 pm
a senator: thank you mr. president, in a few minutes we will be holding a vote on whether or not to invoak cloture, cutting off debate and moving to the trade moargs authority bill. mr. gardner:, an important conversation this country needs to have in terms of what we need to do to expand our operation to the region of the world that represents 40% of our trade opportunities. a great opportunity for this congress this senate to show how serious we are about truly rebalancing our efforts with the asian nations. in colorado alone we've exported nearly $8.4 billion in goods in 2014 48% of all goods were exported in colorado in 2014. over 260,000 jobs are derived from trade with nations represented by the trans-pacific partnership negotiating group. and the t.p.p. represents an
2:17 pm
opportunity for colorado to create nearly 4,000 new jobs, and that's just a start. and so today's conversation isn't just a vote on whether or not we'll have more delay on an important bill. this is about something that represents far a greater opportunity than that. the fact is over the past several years we've focused our time on the middle east and rightfully so. but as our day-to-day attention gets grabbed in the middle east, our long-term issue lie in asia and the trans-pacific partnership region. so today i hope members will put aside tendencies to play politics with the trade motion authority and give us a chance to grow our economy to make miles-per-hour -- to make more products representative with the symbol and label "made in america." that is the chance we have today, to give our workers a
2:18 pm
competitive advantage to create an opportunity for increased trade in an area of the world where we face increasing competition and regional threats, to show that the united states will indeed be a part of a region in the world that represents so much opportunity. and as we've seen increases in colorado and beyond in trade and trade opportunities this bill represents a chance for us to continue improving our ability to grow colorado's economy and colorado trade. so to our colleagues across the senate i indeed hope that we will invoke cloture today that we will move forward on debate, that we will have an opportunity to continue our work to support trade and to move toward passage of the final t.p.p. thank you mr. president. i yield back.
2:19 pm
2:20 pm
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you. mr. president. the trade package we're considering today is missing important provisions that support american companies and american workers. we can't have trade promotion without trade enforcement. even supporters of fast-track and t.p.p., those cheerleaders that the most outspoken cheerleaders for free trade even those supporters acknowledge there will be winners and losers from this agreement. past deals show how widespread the losses will be. travel the state that the presiding officer and i represent in the senate and look at what nafta has done. look at what pntr with china has done. look at what the central american free trade agreement has done. look at what the south korea free trade agreement has done to us. it would be ago tragedy -- it
2:21 pm
would be a tragedy if the senate acted and failed to help the american companies and american workers and the communities whom we acknowledge will be hurt by t.p.p. in other words we've taken action in this body taken by this administration and there are winners and losers from this action. the losers are those who lose their jobs, the small businesses that go out of business and the communities that get hurt by this. those are the losers. how do you ignore them when it comes to these trade agreements? by c scheegd two excluding two of the four bills we're excluding critical bipartisan provisions that protect workers and ensure strong trade enforcement. we need to make sure other companies in our country are protected from unfair dumping. that is why i introduced along with my colleagues senators portman, casey and burr and bennett and coats the level the playing field act. we included reauthorization with bipartisan support. it would strengthen format of
2:22 pm
trade -- strengthen enforcement of trade laws to fight back against unfair trade practices. it passed the senate finance committee but in the majority leader's package and senator hatch's package, it is nowhere to be found on the floor today. we need to make sure strong currency provisions are included. the finance committee overwhelmingly supported my amendment 18-8. we had supporters, the support of republican colleagues: senators portman grassley crapo and burr and eye sock son and -- and isakson. this provision ensures a level playing field for american business. it is nowhere to be found in the majority leader's package. any trade package needs to ensure we aren't importing products made with child labor. that is why the finance committee passed an amendment with overwhelming bipartisan support to close a 75-year-old loophole that allowed products
2:23 pm
made with forced labor and child labor into this country. 75 years that loophole stood. we passed that amendment 21-5. we had the support of republican colleagues. senators grassley and crapo and roberts and cornyn and thune and toomey and portman and heller. again, mr. president this bipartisan package that's come to the floor this bipartisan provision is nowhere to be found in the majority leader's package. that is why i call on my republican colleagues, many of whom i've named almost every one of them on the finance committee, voted for either the currency amendment or the level the playing field amendment or the prohibition on child labor amendment. some members of the finance committee, republicans voted for all three of those amendments but they're not in the package. i'm hopeful my republican colleagues will join democratic colleagues to vote "no" on cloture so we can bring a package to the floor that takes care of workers that does trade motion authority that -- trade promotion authority takes care of workers and takes care of
2:24 pm
enforcing trade rules. the trade package was passed out of the finance committee far from perfect. i have grave concerns with fast-track. there is a reason these provisions were included in the trade package. the senate should consider all four of them. the majority leader mcconnell says he wants to respect committee work on legislation. well here's his chance. the only way to get these important provisions to the president's desk is to combine all four into one. we've done it in the past. keep in mind every time congress does major trade laws, 2002 fast-track included provisions on enforcement. the same thing in 1988 on the trade package. the same thing in 1972 on the trade package. why would we bifurcate this? why would we take out enforcement when this is a very important part of trade? we shouldn't move forward with any trade package that doesn't include all four bills.
2:25 pm
i ask my colleagues in both parties, those who supported our enforcement efforts and both parties in finance to join us and vote "no" on cloture as we take the vote in the next few minutes. i ask that we go into quorum call and that the quorum call be charged evenly by both parties. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: we heard these products will increase the number of products stamped made in the united states of america. that is put forward in trade agreement after trade agreement after trade agreement. the first step in the process is to say look at those markets.
2:26 pm
wouldn't it be wonderful in that nation if we had direct access, improved access? particularly we've done a series of agreements with very low-wage and low environmental standard, low-enforcement assassinations. that's -- low-enforcement nations. that is the first second. the second stage is we're competing with products made in that country so we better make sure we open a factory there as well. and then suddenly instead of those products coming from the united states to a foreign nation and in fact those products are being made in that foreign nation, then comes stage three. now that we're making those products overseas at a much lower price because of the lower wages, lower environmental standards and lower enforcement it doesn't make sense to make those products in the united states anymore. so that's how we lost five million manufacturing jobs in america. that's how we lost 50,000 factories in america. and so for those who want to put
2:27 pm
forward this shimmera, illusion, mirage that somehow this is going to increase american production, american citizens should know in fact that is a false promise a false promise that has been put out time after time after time and shown to be wrong again and again and again. let's think about this. why would you pave a path to put the workers in your state directly in competition with workers earning 60 cents an hour? tell me that that's advantageous to making things in your nation, and i will tell you, you are wrong. so let's not go down a path in which we pave a highway to essentially destroy american manufacturing to disrupt american manufacturing to decrease the competitiveness of living wages here in the united states of america.
2:28 pm
let's enhance and strengthen our position in the world not undermine it. thank you mr. president. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: in the remaining 2 1/2 minutes we have, i want to take a few seconds of it. i urge my colleagues to support the motion to proceed. all this does is get us on the bill. we need to have a robust debate about trade agenda, and i'm
2:29 pm
willing to do that. of course the senate piece is t.p.a. no question about it. i know our staffs have been working together to find a path forward on enforced customs. this is an important bill and we need to get it through the senate, but to do that we need to begin debate today. trade promotion authority is the key to our economic future. i hope my colleagues will stand with me and president obama to vote yes to help lay the groundwork for a healthy economy for our children and our grandchildren. 95% of the world's trade is outside of our country. trade producers, better salaries 13% to 18%. we have worked through all the problems in the committee. we've had plenty of amendments, lots of debate. and we put this on the floor with the understanding that it would be voted on. and, frankly -- mr. brown: would the senator
2:30 pm
yield for a question? would the finance chair yield to a question? mr. hatch: my time is just about gone but go ahead. mr. brown: i'd ask if the four bills we passed in committee -- the africa growth opportunities and trade customs bill passed out with strong majorities. we hoped that the time they would come together -- mr. hatch: i understand the question. they passed out with an understanding between the vice chairman of the committee and myself that we would vote on them separately but would move t.p.a. and t.a.a. which most republicans hate, we would move together and move the third one and move the fourth one. it would supposed to be done that way because everybody knew that putting the amendment the amendment on the one bill would not be acceptable in the house.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on