Congressman Dan Kildee Expresses “Grave Concern” Over President Obama’s Push for Fast-Tracking TPP Trade Deal

January 7, 2015

TPP Trumka

Kildee, Joined by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Opposes New NAFTA-Style Trade Deal that Would Hurt Michigan Workers, Economy

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today was joined by House Democrats, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen, faith leaders and consumer advocates on Capitol Hill to oppose fast-tracking a new so-called trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), through Congress.

The TPP is currently being negotiated in secret between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries. “Fast tracking” the proposal would not allow Congress to make any changes to the trade agreement and limits debate on the matter, even though under the U.S. Constitution, Congress writes laws and sets trade policy.

According to Hart Research Associates and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, an overwhelming percentage of voters – 62 percent – oppose fast tracking a new trade agreement, including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

“TPP is the North American Free Trade Agreement on steroids,” Congressman Kildee said. “I represent Flint, Saginaw and Bay City in Congress, and these cities know all too well the damaging effect these so-called ‘free trade’ agreements can have on our local economy. History proves that trade deals like NAFTA or TPP don’t help the American economy—instead they do the opposite, creating an uneven playing field tilted against our workers.”

“Even worse, the new TPP deal the President is pushing for is being currently negotiated entirely in secret and behind closed doors,” Congressman Kildee continued. “Congress has been left out of the negotiating process over TPP and now is being asked to ‘fast track’ approval of this deal. This is not the right course, and I continue to have grave concerns about the president’s trade policies and the negative effect they will have on Michigan and the country’s economy.”

Yesterday, as President Obama visited Detroit to discuss the rescue of the automotive industry, Congressman Kildee was quoted in several national publications, including Reuters and POLITICO, expressing “grave concern” over a new trade deal that he believes will hurt Michigan’s competitiveness.

“My concern is that what we gained through that auto rescue, we could lose if we don’t have the kind of provisions in these trade deals that protect American manufacturers and American exports,” Congressman Kildee told POLITICO.

Previous free trade deals such as NAFTA have been harmful to the U.S. manufacturing and automotive sectors, as well as cities that rely on them. Michigan lost nearly 255,000 manufacturing jobs over the last two decades due to NAFTA-like trade agreements according to numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Similar agreements have contributed to the loss of nearly 90 percent of manufacturing jobs in Flint since its peak, as corporations have outsourced manufacturing jobs to countries with weaker labor and environmental standards.