By Cristina Marcos. Originally published in The Hill. .
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that trade deals that outsource jobs “wreak havoc” on minorities.
Lee’s comments in a brief House floor speech came after President Obama urged Congress to give him trade promotion authority, which many Democrats oppose.
“When jobs are shipped overseas because of bad trade deals, communities of color bear a huge brunt on the loss of those jobs,” Lee said.
Lee claimed that minorities who lost their jobs still encountered hardship, as they typically were only able to gain employment at a 30 percent lower wage.
“Trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is being negotiated in secret, wreak havoc on communities of color. We cannot allow more bad trade deals to be enacted, especially when unemployment rates and poverty rates in these communities is much too high already,” Lee said.
“TPP is certainly not fair and must be defeated,” Lee concluded
Here are Rep. Lee’s remarks about the TPP on January 8, 2015:
Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lee joined Members of Congress as well as industry, labor, environmental and consumer advocates to oppose Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). She released the following statement at the press conference.
“As the representative from California’s beautiful 13th Congressional district, I have the honor and privilege of representing the Port of Oakland, one of our nation’s busiest sea and airport.
I support international trade and commerce because it is critical to the economy of the district and our nation.
However, I join the vast majority of Americans, from both parties, in opposing Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
I oppose Fast Track because I oppose bad trade deals that hurt American workers, American families and American businesses, especially in communities of color.
NAFTA and the US-China trade deal resulted in the loss of more than 3.4 million American jobs. Many of these jobs came from California and from communities of color.
Thirty five percent of jobs lost to China, which totals 1 million American jobs, were from communities of color. This is outrageous!
After those workers lost their jobs, their situation got even worse. When those workers found another job, they suffered a nearly 30 percent cut in their wages.
If the U.S. is going to pursue a free trade agreement in the Pacific, Congress needs to have public debates and hearings so the deal is fair and the American people know what’s in it.
Fast Track only allows special interest and big corporations to dictate trade deals that the American people oppose.
Let’s stop talking about Fast Track and start talking about a trade deal that will create good-paying American jobs for American families.”