WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the latest cloture vote on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA):
“With today’s vote, the Republican leadership put worker protections at great risk, so I was unable to vote to move forward this legislation.
“I have said from the outset of this debate that I believe it is important for Congress to pass TPA. Five hundred and thirty-five members of Congress cannot negotiate with our trading partners and enter into an agreement, so we have to delegate that authority to the President. But, as I have said repeatedly, let’s make sure we get this right. We must insist that protections for workers and other important enforcement provisions are included along with a TPA bill. I opposed separating these provisions when the Senate first considered this trade legislation, and I still do. The Republican leadership has set up a flawed process to move TPA before these protections are reconsidered. We are being asked to advance TPA on trust – without a clear understanding of the path forward to the president’s desk for the important worker protections of Trade Adjustment Assistance and the customs legislation.
“How we negotiate these upcoming trade agreements will impact our economy and our labor force for a generation to come. We do not get many opportunities to take up comprehensive trade legislation. This is a six-year authority and we need to try to make this the strongest bill possible. For all these reasons, I had to oppose this cloture vote on TPA.”