News Releases

Murray Applauds Senate Trade Act

May 23 2002

Expanded trade is a recipe for economic growth in Washington state

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Patty Murray voted today for the Trade Act of 2002 to grant Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to the President.

The legislation was adopted by the Senate on a strong bipartisan vote of 66-30.

The Senate legislation contained a number of additional trade provisions as well as a significant expansion of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).

Sen. Murray released the following statement:

"I am pleased that the Senate today supported Trade Promotion Authority.

Washington State is the most trade dependent state in the country. International trade matters tremendously to every region of our state and every sector of our economy. Expanded trade is a recipe for economic growth in Washington state.

This trade bill will help Washington workers by expanding markets for the goods and services that we manufacture, build, design, develop, and finance.

I am especially pleased that this bill also significantly expands job training and health care assistance for workers who may face dislocation or hardship due to foreign trade.

The legislation also provides community assistance, which is especially important to rural communities where job loss may be felt most acutely. Communities will have the opportunity to seek grant assistance to implement economic diversification plans.

My vote in favor of Trade Promotion Authority is a vote to open markets to U.S. exporters and their workers. It is a vote for equitable and reciprocal access to foreign markets. But my vote for TPA also represents the belief that environmental protection and workers rights are legitimate trade issues, which must be included in trade negotiations if the Congress is to continue to have bipartisan support for international trade initiatives."



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Senator Murray's complete statement in the Congressional record follows:

"Mr. President, I rise to join the debate over Trade Promotion Authority legislation before the Senate.

I am in my tenth year as a member of the United States Senate and I have consistently voted for measures to open new markets to our exporters and our workers.

Today, I will vote for Trade Promotion Authority or TPA. New export opportunities for Washington state will support economic recovery and expansion.

Washington state is the most trade dependent state in the country. International trade matters tremendously to each and every region of my state and to every sector of our economy. Trade matters to my state in good and bad economic times. We are an export state. We have a trade surplus. We are also a port state and a gateway to Asia and the world.

My constituents benefit from trade at every point. We grow the commodities. We move containers and cargo from ships to rail to destinations throughout the country. We manufacture, build, design, develop, finance and insure goods and services traded globally each and every day. Trade jobs – estimated to be one in three jobs in Washington state – are good family wage jobs in my state.

Importantly, this legislation also significantly expands Trade Adjustment Assistance. I have always supported Trade Adjustment Assistance. I commend the Finance Committee, the Democratic leader and the bipartisan work which led to the expanded TAA package in this legislation.

I was a cosponsor of S. 1209, the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers, Farmers, Fisherman, Communities and Firms Act of 2002. The TAA language in this legislation is really a product of S. 1209 and the bipartisan work of many in the Senate to expand TAA.

More workers will be eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance. Some workers from secondary industries will be covered for the first time under the Senate TPA bill.

The Senate legislation provides community assistance, particularly to rural communities, who see significant job loss related to trade. Communities will have the opportunity to seek grant assistance to implement economic diversification plans.

Farmers and fishermen will also be eligible for TAA assistance. And importantly, the Senate bill provides new health benefits to displaced workers. A new 70 percent up-front, refundable tax credit for COBRA coverage will enable many workers and their families to keep their health insurance.

Mr. President, the Senate has considered a number of important amendments and issues in this debate over trade promotion authority. I voted for a number of important message amendments. I encourage the Administration as it eventually moves forward with trade talks to give serious consideration to the expressed will of the Senate.

I expect a significant bipartisan vote for trade promotion authority today. Then the legislation must go to conference with legislation adopted by the House of Representatives. The House TPA bill is very different from the Senate bill. Conference Committees require compromise, and I anticipate changes to the Senate-passed version.

Regardless of the conference committee outcome, the Administration should not disregard the Senate TPA debate. The Senate addressed some very difficult issues. In future trade talks, the Administration will be called upon to address issues like those raised on the Senate floor. Some in this body will judge trade agreements submitted to the Congress on these issues. The Administration now knows a great deal about the concerns of the Congress. There will be fewer surprises for either the Congress or the Administration as the future negotiations occur thanks in part to the Senate debate.

I want to be very clear about my expectations for the upcoming TPA conference committee. I strongly believe any agreement between the House and the Senate must include the Senate trade adjustment assistance package.

It is tremendously important to me that we do all we can to boost jobs and create jobs that rely on international trade. Expanded trade is a recipe for economic growth in Washington state. That is why I will vote for Trade Promotion Authority and advocate for my state's many trade interests with the President and this Administration.

At the same time, I know that every worker, every industry, every community does not share the benefits of expanded trade equally. Where dislocation and hardship occurs, as a result of international trade, our government should play an activist role in helping workers and communities through these changing and challenging economic times.

The Congress has an opportunity to do both on this legislation. We can move forward to create and protect trade jobs. And we can do the right thing in helping workers and communities combat unfair foreign trade practices and the changes in the global economy.

TPA or Fast Track has been granted to every Administration since President Gerald Ford was in office. Congress has granted this authority to Democratic and Republican Presidents. Granting this authority which I will support does not obligate any Senator to support an agreement. And I will certainly scrutinize any agreement submitted to the Congress by the President under TPA.

My vote for trade promotion authority is a vote to open markets to U.S. exporters and their workers. It is a vote for equitable and reciprocal access to foreign markets. The U.S. marketplace is the world's largest market, and our market is open with few restrictions to the world. I want to see the President go abroad on behalf of the American people with the goal of opening markets and supporting U.S. workers.

My vote for trade promotion authority is a call on the President and the Administration to strengthen the international trade system and particularly, to strengthen the dispute settlement process for trade disputes. The Senate legislation contains important transparency guidance to the Administration calling for public access to WTO and other international trade proceedings.

My vote for trade promotion authority represents my continued belief that environmental protection and worker rights are legitimate trade issues. These issues must be included in trade negotiations if the Congress is to continue to have bipartisan support for international trade initiatives.

The Senate legislation contains a number of negotiating objectives of great importance to Washington. The legislation directs U.S. negotiators to seek a revision of WTO rules that disadvantage the U.S. in tax cases like Foreign Sales Corporations which benefit U.S. exporters. Additionally, the Senate bill provides guidance to the Administration in a number of important Washington state industries like agriculture and high-technology.

Of great importance to me and to Washington state is the Senate language on trade in commercial aircraft. This legislation directs U.S. negotiators to address the use of unfair subsidies and non-tariff barriers by Airbus. I continue to believe Airbus manipulates the commercial aircraft market through subsidies and an assortment of non-competitive practices. I have met with the United States Trade Representative regarding Airbus. I fully support the language in this bill to address unfair trade practices in commercial aircraft.

I will vote for passage of this legislation, and I encourage my colleagues to send a strong message of support for trade and economic expansion."