June 12, 2015

Watson Coleman on TPA and TAA: "My constituents deserve better."

For Immediate Release

Washington, DC (June 12, 2015) ― Today, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) issued the following statement in opposition to legislation that would provide for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA or fast-track authority) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement:

“Free trade is a pillar of our economy and vital in my home state, but sweeping trade agreements like the one we’re negotiating right now have decimated American jobs.  Congress has a duty to weigh in on these agreements to ensure that we protect families here at home while serving our nation’s economic interests.  Fast-track authority eliminates an important safeguard for TPP, and all agreements that will follow it in the future ― a step too far, considering the tremendous negative impact these deals frequently have.

“Trade Adjustment Assistance was developed to support families hurt by these agreements.  Unfortunately, the TAA bill before us today falls short in many key areas, failing to cover public sector workers, reducing critical funding for job training, and cutting income support for workers displaced by trade.  Even worse, it has been inextricably linked to TPA, and supporting one offers inherent support for the other.  American workers can’t afford a TAA package that shortchanges them the way this bill would, which is why I can’t support it in its current form.

“The House risks taking us further down a dangerous path today. I support free trade, but instead of an open dialogue about the rewards and risks that the TPP poses, the American people have only gotten snippets of the backroom discussions that have built the agreement.  My constituents deserve better.  We have an opportunity — and frankly, a responsibility — to go back to the drawing board and get this deal right.”