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TPA opponents Lipinski, Brooks introduce resolution urging elimination of U.S. trade deficit

December 2, 2016

Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Mo Brooks (R-AL) – who last year voted against granting President Obama Fast Track Authority – have introduced a bipartisan resolution urging the president and Congress to tackle the U.S. trade deficit “over a reasonable period of time.”

“Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that it is the sense of Congress that Congress and the President should prioritize the reduction and elimination, over a reasonable period of time, of the overall trade deficit of the United States,” the resolution states.

The aim of the resolution, the lawmakers said in a statement, is “to coalesce members of Congress around the goal of balanced trade and to work with the incoming Administration to fix current trade agreements.”

“We introduced this resolution as a marker for where we think America’s trade policy should be, and to help build congressional support behind policies that will improve our trade balance, which is vital to creating and maintaining national wealth, job opportunities, and national security,” Lipinski and Brooks said in a joint statement to Inside U.S. Trade.

“As President-elect Trump finalizes his Cabinet and begins to implement his priorities, we want to show our support for policies which will reverse our persistent trade deficits,” they added. “We have long believed that the goals of our nation’s trade policy have been misaligned, and that purely aiming for increased exports will continue to leave our nation’s workers and businesses at a disadvantage. Too many trade agreements have succeeded in their goals, but failed American workers and the middle class.”

According to the text of the bill, the U.S. “has run 40 consecutive years of trade deficits,” and the U.S. trade deficit “has substantially increased” in the last 25 years – with the manufacturing sector suffering “a disproportionate impact from such trade deficits, resulting in substantial losses of jobs and industries.”

The bill (H.Con.Res.175) was referred to the House Ways & Means Committee on Nov. 30.

Coalition for a Prosperous America CEO Michael Stumo told Inside U.S. Trade that CPA appreciates the lawmakers' efforts to refocus national policy on balancing trade with a special emphasis on manufacturing and goods. “This is an important effort to move past the misleading and simplistic 20th century rhetoric of free trade versus protectionism,” he said.

“Trade deficits are a drag on economic and employment growth. The recent election made clear that America’s dismal trade performance is a major voter concern,” Stumo added. “Current trade statutes and administrative goals focus upon exports only without considering net trade. A national goal of balanced trade would establish the proper performance metric to judge whether our trade policy is failing or succeeding. The best means to achieve that goal should flexibly change depending upon a continuing assessment of which strategic challenges are faced in any given year.”

Lipinski and Brooks both serve on the Science, Space and Technology Committee.

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