Once the votes were in yesterday I decided I would write to Earl Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wyden to let them know that I was displeased with the way they voted.
Here is the Congressmans response. What do you guys think of that?
"Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts about international trade.
Many people ask why I'm supportive of trade agreements done right. The answer is simple - trade creates family wage jobs for Oregonians.
Oregon is a trade powerhouse. Unlike the country as a whole, Oregon has a trade surplus in both goods and services, even with China. Many people don’t realize that Oregon is also a manufacturing powerhouse, which accounts for nearly 40% of Oregon’s economy, the second highest in the country.
International trade means family wage jobs for our state. Almost half a million Oregon jobs are tied to, or supported by, international trade. These jobs benefit rural and urban Oregon alike, from high-tech companies to highly sought-after Oregon agricultural products like wheat, berries, and wine. Over 90 percent of Oregon's more than 5,000 exporters are small and medium-sized businesses throughout the state. These creative entrepreneurs are growing and innovating, and they want greater access to markets overseas.
I’ve asked people who oppose trade if they can show me that these agreements will cost Oregon jobs. It appears these agreements, by opening new export markets, streamlining customs rules, and strengthening international legal requirements, will help create jobs that provide a living wage, which is one of the biggest challenges that we face in this region.
Recognizing the importance of trade for Oregon's economy, I've held countless meetings with people who care about these issues, including those who generally oppose trade agreements. I've focused on the issues of fairness, transparency, environment and worker protections, along with strong enforcement of policies and provisions. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I've pushed for more action on transparency in the negotiating process and provisions dealing with currency manipulation, environmental protection and enforcement.
The House of Representatives has now considered and passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and it is back in the Senate for reconsideration. TPA allows Congress to establish objectives used by the administration to negotiate trade agreements. Since the existing TPA has expired, there are currently no Congressional objectives directing the US Trade Representative (USTR), or influencing reluctant negotiating partners. In this absence, Congress has given the administration free reign to seek any type of trade agreement they want.
This TPA establishes a progressive framework with new provisions to ensure greater transparency, which is something we all should want. It requires the entire text of any trade agreement be made public for 60 days before the President can endorse it. After that, the President submits the trade agreement to Congress. There is then an additional period of time of up to 90 days when the text is available for anyone who wants to read it, before Congress votes up or down. This change alone will make a significant difference when Congress considers any trade agreement in the future.
I have not yet decided whether to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) because it is still being negotiated and there is not a final proposal to examine. In the meantime, I will continue to press for stronger provisions for environmental protection, labor rights, transparency, affordable access to medicines for the world’s poorest, and other provisions.
Hearing your specific concerns is useful as I work to put us in a stronger position going forward for Oregon families, our economy and for the global environment. After I have done everything I can to influence the outcome, I will evaluate the TPP in its final form, along with everyone else. I will decide, as I have always done, whether it’s in the best interest of Oregonians and our shared values. If it is, I will support it. If not, I will vote no.
For more information about my thoughts on trade policy, please visit my website. There you will also find a section on "Frequently Asked Questions on Trade" that addresses many of the issues surrounding TPA and TPP and a summary of legislation that I’ve introduced to strengthen these agreements, help Oregon businesses create jobs and enforce critical environmental and labor provisions.
Thank you again for writing.
Member of Congress"
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