Americans say protecting jobs by limiting exports is more important than allowing free trade.
The House of Representatives on Friday is expected to vote on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which would give President Obama the power to negotiate the proposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. But the outcome of the vote still remained up in the air as of Thursday afternoon, as Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) noted that he’s “not in the guaranteeing business.”
As undecided Members of Congress weigh their vote on TPA, they should keep in mind a strong, consistent message coming from the American people: Put jobs before trade.
A new NBC News survey finds that two-thirds of Americans say protecting U.S. jobs and industry by limiting imports is more important than increased access to cheaper products from foreign countries. It’s important to note that the results of the survey crossed party lines — majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents agreed that jobs were more important than being able to buy cheap goods.
These latest findings are in line with a May poll conducted by Ipsos that found eight in 10 Americans favor protecting manufacturing jobs over gaining access to more imported goods.
Americans are right to be concerned about potential job loss — the U.S. trade deficit with China alone cost 3.2 million jobs between 2001 and 2013, for example.
But Members of Congress have the opportunity to be proactive about trade and jobs by cosponsoring the bipartisan American Trade Enforcement Effectiveness Act, legislation that is designed to help American workers and businesses fight back against unfair trade practices such as the dumping of undervalued foreign products into the U.S. market.
Right now, U.S. workers and companies must face mass layoffs and close factories before they can take action using our trade laws. The enforcement bill would streamline the process, allowing Americans to take action against unfair trade before suffering significant, and often irreversible, harm.
With trade on the House agenda for Friday, now is the time to push forth with this vital legislation. You can help — tell your Member of Congress to cosponsor the bill.