May 23, 2015

Manchin Statement on Senate Passage of TPA Legislation

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin issued the following statement on the Senate passage of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), legislation granting the President fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“I am deeply alarmed that the Senate has passed this harmful piece of legislation that will give the President the authority to negotiate the most expansive trade deal in American history without any congressional input. Granting the President fast track authority before Congress and the American people have an opportunity to review the details of the agreements and ensure the trade deals are in the best interests of our workers simply defies common sense. If this bill is as good for the American worker as proponents have claimed, then the Administration should allow the public to see the details of these trade agreements before Congress grants fast-track authority.

“Aside from the lack of transparency throughout this entire process, I am also very disturbed that seven of the 11 countries we are negotiating with on the Trans Pacific Partnership have a minimum wage of less than $2.00. Malaysia’s minimum wage is $1.21, Peru’s is $1.15 and Vietnam’s is a mere 58 cents. It is demoralizing that we, as Americans, are willing to negotiate with countries that have such a disregard for their workers. It is equally upsetting that we will be forcing hard-working Americans to compete with foreign workers making less than a dollar an hour.

“As I have said time and again, trade agreements threaten thousands of good-paying jobs in West Virginia and across the United States and empower corporate America and Wall Street while suppressing America’s 99 percent and Main Street. In West Virginia alone, more than 30,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs have been lost on account of NAFTA. Even after NAFTA, Mexico’s minimum wage hasn’t risen above a dollar. I simply am not willing to risk losing even one more job in West Virginia. With that being said, I will continue to do everything in my power to protect American jobs when it comes to trade policy, and I will push for solutions that will help create and keep good-paying jobs in our state and our nation.”