By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Politcal Reporter
Thursday, December 1, 2016, US Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and US Representative Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) filed House resolution HConRes175, calling for a national goal of balanced trade, with a special emphasis on manufacturing and goods.
Congressman Brooks said, “I have long believed that the goals of our nation’s trade policy have been misaligned and put America at a disadvantage, thereby failing American workers. Today in a bipartisan effort, I introduced legislation with Congressman Dan Lipinski to serve as a marker for what America’s trade policy should be, and to help build congressional support for trade policies that improve rather than worsen America’s trade balance.”
The bipartisan pair of legislators said in a joint statement, “We have long believed that the goals of our nation’s trade policy have been misaligned and put America at a disadvantage, thereby failing American workers. We introduced this resolution as a marker for what America’s trade policy should be, and to help build congressional support for trade policies that improve rather than worsen America’s trade balance. Current American trade deficits annually export hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of jobs and capital needed to expand American industry and improve employment opportunities for struggling American families.”
Representatives Lipinski and Brooks said, “As President-elect Trump finalizes his Cabinet and formulates and implements his trade priorities, we reinforce our show of support for policies that reverse America’s persistent trade deficits. It is our aim to coalesce members of Congress around the goal of balanced trade and to work with the incoming Administration to fix current trade agreements.”
The Resolutions reads: “Whereas a robust manufacturing capability is essential for national security;
Whereas trade imbalances are unhealthy for the global economy and stagnate economic growth in deficit countries such as the United States and especially in the manufacturing sectors of such countries;
Whereas certain foreign trading partners of the United States are running persistent trade surpluses against the United States as an economic growth alternative to fostering the domestic consumption of their manufacturers;
Whereas persistent trade deficits hinder the ability of the United States to reach full employment and increase underemployment and reliance on low-wage and often part-time service sector jobs;”
The Coalition for a Prosperous America strongly endorsed HR175. Their CEO Michael Stumo said in a statement, “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. We appreciate Congressmen Lipinski’s and Brooks’ efforts to refocus national policy on roughly balancing trade, with a focus upon goods, over time. This is an important effort to move past the misleading and simplistic 20th century rhetoric of free trade versus protectionism.”
Chairman Stumo said, “”Current trade statutes and administrative goals focus upon exports only without considering net trade,” continued Stumo. “Exports are expansionary and create jobs while imports are contractionary and destroy jobs. Net trade is the crucial performance metric. Many do not realize that sector by sector tariff and non-tariff barrier cuts have little to no correlation with our overall trade performance.”
The Republican Party has been heavily pro-free trade for over 25 years and were key supporters of both the GAT and NAFTA agreements. Recently that has changed. Donald Trump (R) campaigned heavily against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and has emphasized an economic nationalism that puts the interests of American workers over international agreements and even corporate profits.
Congressman Mo Brooks represents Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District.