Senate Democrats

DEMOCRATS RAISE SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT RECORD U.S. TRADE DEFICIT

Senators React to Trade Deficit Data Released Today

Washington, DC–Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Joint Economic Committee Ranking Democrat Jack Reed, Senator Debbie Stabenow, and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton raised serious concerns about the trade deficit numbers released today by the U.S. Census. The U.S. trade deficit for 2005 was $726 billion, a 17.5% increase from the record set in 2004. The trade deficit now stands at about 6% of U.S. GDP.

“The trade deficit figures today should raise alarm bells around the country about the Bush Administration’s flawed trade policy,” said Senator Reid. “Experts all around the world agree that these astronomical trade deficits are not sustainable and threaten to disrupt the U.S. and global economies. This Administration has ignored the problem and continues to pursue a trade policy that puts special interests above the interests of American families.”

“The staggering U.S. trade deficit is a symptom of the unsound fiscal policies of the Bush Administration,” said Sen. Jack Reed, Ranking Democrat on the Joint Economic Committee. “The Bush Administration’s huge federal budget deficits encourage us as a nation to spend more than we earn and to pay for our excess imports with IOUs. In just 5 years under President Bush, foreign holdings of U.S. government debt have risen by $1.2 trillion – more than the increase under all previous Presidents combined. The money to pay back that debt will be coming out of the pockets of our children and grandchildren for years to come.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow stated, “Last year alone Michigan lost 110,000 manufacturing jobs while the trade deficit in manufactured goods rose by about $60 billion. Faced with this growing crisis the Administration has done nothing but ignore the problem while American manufacturers have suffered and Americans have lost their jobs. Domestically, the Administration has failed to develop a real plan to help the U.S. manufacturing sector; internationally, they have consistently dropped the ball on enforcing U.S. rights under our trade agreements. As the numbers released today clearly show, over $200 billion or more than 25% of the trade deficit is accounted for only by China, yet the Administration refuses to confront China on its unfair trade practices. It is time for the Administration to wake up and start fighting for American businesses and workers.”

“American manufacturers can compete with anyone in the world if we give them a level playing field. But the Bush Administration is undermining our manufacturers by failing to enforce our trade laws and refusing to address our skyrocketing trade deficit. We can’t ignore the problem and leave our manufacturers to fight with both hands tied behind their backs. We need a national manufacturing policy that makes a real commitment to driving down our trade deficit and preserving our domestic manufacturing capacity,” said Senator Clinton.

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