Senate Democrats

Bipartisan Group of Senators Criticizes Bush Administration For Turning it’s Back on American Workers Hurt by Outsourcing

Washington, D.C. – In a letter to the Bush Administration’s Trade Representative, 10 United States Senators from the Senate Finance Committee urged Bush’s USTR not to strip out from the bill implementing the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) a provision that would help American workers hurt by outsourcing. The provision was added at the informal markup of the CAFTA legislation over the objections of Bush Administration officials after Senator Wyden, joined by other Democrats on the Committee, offered it as an amendment.

In their letter, the bipartisan group criticized the Bush Administration for arguing that trade adjustment assistance for U.S. workers does not belong in a bill implementing a trade agreement.

The Senators noted, “American workers have waited too long already for this needed relief.”

The Bush Administration has indicated that it will strip the provision to provide assistance for workers hurt by outsourcing from the bill before it sends the bill back to Congress. “This letter points to another example of how the Bush Administration is abusing power and is out of touch with the priorities of the American people. On a bipartisan basis, the Senate Finance Committee amended the CAFTA implementing legislation by adding these important provisions. But, the Bush Administration now intends to strip out of the bill these provisions to help American workers hurt by outsourcing, with the full support of Republican Congressional leaders,” said Democratic Leader Harry Reid. “The priorities of Republicans are out of step with the American people. The American people want a trade policy that will help create American jobs, that will stop unfair trade, and that will make America more competitive in a global economy.”

The letter was signed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-WA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Max Baucus (D-MT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), John Kerry (D-MA), and Jim Jeffords (I-VT).