June 12, 2015

Contact: Chris Schloesser/Marc Rehmann

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Edwards Statement on Fast Track and TAA Votes

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4) today issued the following statement regarding her vote against H.R. 1314, the Trade Act of 2015. The House defeated the Trade Adjustment Act portion of that bill by a vote of 126-302, while approving the Trade Promotion Authority (Fast Track) part by a vote of 219-211.

“I started out this process about a year and half ago seeking to support a trade bill with strong workers’ and human right protections, environmental standards, food safety standards, and one that would create and retain American jobs by protecting government procurement and Buy American provisions,” Edwards said. “I commend Leader Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to ‘find a pathway to yes’ in an increasingly changing global economy.”

“Unfortunately, as this process has unfolded, I have concluded that delegating Congress’ role through Fast-Track legislation will not enable me to help the 70,000 Marylanders who have lost jobs since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented and since the World Trade Organization was established in 1995. That is why I offered three amendments earlier this week that would have ensured this agreement included food safety standards, human rights and labor protections, and Congressional input if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) expands to other nations.

“It’s time to restart the trade debate with the full participation of Congress and robust support of American workers and small and medium businesses,” Edwards said. “Further, while I have long supported the Democratic-led Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which provides training for those who have lost jobs due to foreign trade and globalization, I cannot support weak funding for workers displaced by the global economy with cuts to Medicare. And lastly, today’s TAA legislation also does not include protection for public sector workers. I cannot support a program that leaves them out.”