Rep. Scott Peters Stands for American Leadership, Prosperity for Working Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) released the following statement after voting in favor of Trade Adjustment Authority (TAA) and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). TPA provides more than 100 directives to President Obama that must be met in future international trade agreements:
“Over the past months, I’ve made it a priority to hear and evaluate every argument for and against Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and, ultimately, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Many people whose opinions I value and trust have made strong, passionate cases on both sides.
“San Diego is a port city that depends on trade, especially with Mexico and Asia. Our innovation economy, led by Qualcomm and other hi-tech, biotech and life science companies, depends on access to foreign markets with protections for American-made intellectual property. The success of the employers creating San Diego’s jobs of the future is hugely dependent on the ability to export their Made in America goods. More than 90 percent of these businesses are small or mid-sized, with fewer than 500 employees, and their success is critical to the ability of the working families in my district to get ahead.
“I voted for TPA because, for America to be the leader we all want it to be, America needs to be the nation that makes the rules and sets the standards in a global marketplace. That means giving the President of the United States the ability to negotiate trade agreements with developing nations with the greatest potential for growth. I can’t imagine a national strategy to boost domestic working-class employment and raise now-stagnant wages without providing more access to foreign markets for American-made exports. Nationally, that’s a manufacturing imperative.
“If America doesn’t seize this opportunity to lead, other nations -- especially China -- will. China’s rules, like its record, would have little regard for even the most basic of human rights and environmental standards. This rigs the system in their favor, and tips the scales against American workers.
“The standards set for workers, human rights, food safety, and clean air and water will be higher, better, stronger, and more enforceable if America is at the table led by the President who passed Dodd-Frank and health care reform, saved the American auto industry, and advanced the most aggressive climate action plan of any American president. He shares my values, and has committed to pursuing these values in this agreement.
“Today’s votes did not include the TPP, or any trade agreement. My vote on TPP, some months from now, will depend on whether the President delivers on his commitment to these standards in a final, transparent agreement that will be available -- every word of it -- for public review for at least 60 days before Congress approves or rejects.
“I understand that those most skeptical of TPP feel burned, let down, and left behind by past trade agreements, particularly NAFTA. Their mistrust comes from a real place; promises made weren’t kept, and the standards they were promised were unenforced. After many, many hours of reading the text, and grilling officials from USTR, the Department of Labor, the EPA and others, and after hearing from advocates on both sides, I am wholeheartedly convinced of the very real flaws of NAFTA, and equally convinced that the best way to fix these past wrongs is through new agreements that contain stronger mechanisms for enforcement. That is what the President is working to accomplish in TPP, and I believe we should give him the chance.
“I thank everyone who took the time to meet with me, call me, write me and argue passionately for what you believe. I want you to know I heard each and every one of you, which is why this decision was a difficult one. To those who asked me to oppose TPA, I want you to know that while we disagreed this time on how to achieve the values we all share, I will continue to fight for those values and remain committed to doing what’s best for San Diegans.”