Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley released the following statement today after the U.S. Senate passed “fast track” trade legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other future trade deals:
When crafting a new trade structure, our national objective should be raising wages and living standards for middle-class Americans. Past trade deals have consistently failed to live up to their promises and made it harder for working Americans to get ahead. Unfortunately, the fast track bill passed by the Senate today does not change that fundamental structure – a structure which has led so many past trade deals to create job losses and falling wages for working Americans.
Many Americans understand that competing for jobs with workers earning rock-bottom wages in other countries hurts them and hurts our economy. That’s why I pressed to use this opportunity to make sure that future agreements truly have meaningful, rising labor and environmental standards, and that they’re able to be enforced. Despite the hard work of many on both sides of this debate, this trade framework ultimately does not achieve enforceable standards on critical issues like minimum wages, currency manipulation, environmental standards, and labor standards. Thus, while some industries may benefit from this framework, new trade deals under this structure will hurt American workers. That’s why I voted ‘no’ on fast track today.