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Al Franken on Free Trade

DFL Jr Senator (MN)

 


Immediate action on steel dumping, to protect U.S. jobs

We write to urge you to take immediate action to protect Minnesota jobs in the steel industry. Plant closures and job losses are being caused by both illegal dumping of steel products by other countries and the declining prices stemming from an excess of steel on the global market.

We were pleased that your Administration is committed to improve the standards used to determine if anti-dumping trade enforcement actions are necessary, strengthen enforcement so that determinations of unfair dumping can be made quickly, and aggressively pursue full federal benefits for workers and their families impacted by plant closures.

We believe the Administration must demonstrate its commitment to keeping steel industry jobs in the U.S. by proposing stronger enforcement measures to confront foreign dumping and respond to the low prices driven by foreign overproduction. Steel remains a critical part of the economy, and it is essential that the industry not be pushed into decline by foreign producers.

Source: Letter to Pres. Obama on Minn. gubernatorial website MN.gov , Apr 1, 2015

Im a fair trader; enforce labor, safety, & environment

We should re-examine the economic and trade policies that have contributed to illegal immigration. Working to improve economic conditions in Mexico, which weve tried and failed to do with NAFTA, could help reduce the incentive many have to attempt to enter the United States illegally. A hard days work should earn a decent days pay.

Im a fair trader. Ill insist that our trade agreements include enforceable labor, safety, and environmental standards.

Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.AlFranken.com, Issues , Mar 9, 2008

Fight Chinese predatory trade practices on car tires.

Franken signed fighting Chinese predatory trade practices on car tires

Excerpts from Letter from 31 Senators to the Secretary of Commerce: We are writing in strong support of the Department's decision to initiate antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of passenger vehicle and light truck tires from China.

China has targeted the tire sector for development and there are several hundred tire manufacturing facilities now operating in that country. In 2009, the United Steelworkers (USW) sought relief from a flood of similar tires from China that were injuring our producers and their workers.

Unfortunately, shortly after relief expired in 2012, imports of these tires from China once again skyrocketed. In June 2014, the USW alleged dumping and subsidies, identifying dumping margins as high as 87%. Our laws need to be fairly and faithfully enforced to ensure that workers can be confident that, when they work hard and play by the rules, their government will stand by their side to fight foreign predatory trade practices.

America's laws against unfair trade are a critical underpinning of our economic policies and economic prosperity. Given the chance, American workers can out-compete anyone. But, in the face of China's continual targeting of our manufacturing base, we need to enforce our laws.

Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "Burning Rubber", Sept. 11, 2009) USW and the unions feel that they have earned the president's support. The president is presumed to owe Big Labor for his election last November. Will the president do what is overwhelmingly in the best interest of the country? Or will he do what he thinks is best for himself politically? The president should reject the recommendations of the USITC and deny import restrictions altogether. A decision to reject trade restraints in the tires case would be reassuring to a world that is struggling to grow out of recession. The costs of any protectionism under these circumstances could unleash a protectionist backlash in the US an

Source: Car Tire Letter 14LTR-USW on Sep 16, 2014

Voted FOR reauthorizing Ex-Im Bank.

Franken voted NAY Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act

Heritage Action summary of vote# S206: The Senate voted to table (kill) an amendment by Sen. Kirk to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Sen. Kirk recommends voting NO. Heritage Foundation recommends voting YES because the "Ex-Im Bank is little more than a $140 billion slush fund for corporate welfare."

OnTheIssues explanation: Voting NO would allow a vote on reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank. Voting YES would kill the bill for reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank.

Sierra Club reason for conditionally voting NO (from previous bill S.819):Sen. Shaheen's bill S.824 reauthorizes the Ex-Im Bank without undermining Obama's Climate Action Plan. The Sierra Club supports the bill because it makes both financial and environmental sense for the US and all of its taxpayer-backed financial institutions--including Ex-Im--to stop investing in dirty and dangerous fossil fuels like coal.

Cato Institute reason for voting YES to kill the bill:The Ex-Im Bank's reauthorization buffs contend that Ex-Im fills a void left by private sector lenders unwilling to provide financing for certain transactions. Ex-Im's critics [say that] by effectively superseding risk-based decision-making with the choices of a handful of bureaucrats pursuing political objectives, Ex-Im risks taxpayer dollars. It turns out that for nearly every Ex-Im financing authorization that might advance the fortunes of a single US company, there is at least one US industry whose firms are put at a competitive disadvantage. These are the unseen consequences of Ex-Im's mission.

Source: Supreme Court case 15-S0995 argued on Oct 19, 2015

$25B more loans from Export-Import Bank.

Franken co-sponsored H.R.1031 & S.824

This bill raises the cap on outstanding loans, guarantees, and insurance of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for FY2015-FY2022 and afterwards. The Bank shall:

Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (Washington Examiner, 12/2/12): The Export-Import Bank is a taxpayer-backed agency that finances U.S. exports, primarily though loan guarantees. You'd think the bank would spread the money around to nurture up-and-coming businesses. You'd be wrong, very wrong. In fact, 83% of its taxpayer-backed loan guarantees in 2012 went to just one exporter: Boeing. Welcome to the "New Economic Patriotism," where the big get bigger and taxpayers bear the risk. Ex-Im is at the heart of Obama's National Export Initiative and is a pillar of the economic patriotism that Obama pledged in a second term. When government hands out more money, the guys with the best lobbyists and the closest ties to power will disproportionately get their hands on that money. Obama has spent four years pushing more subsidies, more bailouts and more regulations. "New Economic Patriotism" basically amounts to a national industrial policy -- Washington championing certain major domestic companies and industries, as if the global economy were an Olympic competition.

Source: Promoting U.S. Jobs Through Exports Act 15-S824 on Mar 19, 2015

Rated 38% by the USAE, indicating support for trade sanctions.

Franken scores 38% by USA*Engage on trade issues

Ratings by USA*Engage indicate support for trade engagement or trade sanctions. The organization's self-description: "USA*Engage is concerned about the proliferation of unilateral foreign policy sanctions at the federal, state and local level. Despite the fact that broad trade-based unilateral sanctions rarely achieve our foreign policy goals, they continue to have political appeal. Unilateral sanctions give the impression that the United States is 'doing something,' while American workers, farmers and businesses absorb the costs."

VoteMatch scoring for the USA*Engage ratings is as follows :

Source: USA*Engage 2011-2012 ratings on Congress and politicians 2012-USAE on Dec 31, 2012

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