TARGETS: American Workers, Unions, Manufacturing Communities, American Farmers,
Senator Harvey Newton (DFL-MN)
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It's a pleasure to be here tonight with you all.
Trade remains one of the most prominent issues on the minds of millions of Americans all across the country. Ineffective trade policy of the past two decades has resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. I have been on the front-lines of this battle against bad trade policy as Minnesota has lost 88,000 jobs to China since its entry into the WTO. I have seen these poor trade policies wreck havoc on the people of Minnesota, across the Midwest, and across the country. Now is the time to reverse that course and actually put the American worker and our neglected manufacturing industry first.
More than five million manufacturing jobs have been lost to trade between 2001 and 2014. It was not rapid productivity that lost those jobs as the free-traders like to claim. It was growing trade deficits of manufacturing products and the ensuing output collapse as a result of the Great Recession that cost us those jobs. The output collapse has resulted in the slowest recovery in domestic manufacturing output in more than 60 years. The fact that EPI has shown that only 900,000 of the 2.3 million manufacturing jobs lost in the Great Recession should infuriate everyone in this room. Our manufacturing industry and its workers have suffered for decades and it's time for that to end.
Lets dispel the notion that this is an issue that both parties care about. Republicans have unapologetic in backing every free trade agreement proposed to Congress since the 1990s. Their dangerous trade policy, such as CAFTA and KORUS FTA, have harmed American workers and American industries. Claims that the Republicans care about our workers and our industries over the current debate on USMCA is nothing short of a boldfaced lie. Rather than respect the legitimate concerns on American labor unions and American manufacturing industries, they have chosen to ram a trade deal through Congress that neglects to deal with fundamental issues, like low-wage policy, that have been direct contributors to outsourcing our jobs. Rather than respect the legitimate concerns Democrats have had in regards to low drug prices and applying efficient enforcement mechanisms for labor and environmental issues, Republicans have chosen to throw those concerns by the wayside to secure cheap political points. Republicans do not have your best interests in mind. If they did, they wouldn't be threatening unilaterally pulling out NAFTA as a response if we don't agree to their trade deal. They have created an atmosphere of uncertainly that only seeks to degrade confidence in our manufacturing industry and bring unwanted stress and fear to millions of workers.
Democrats are committed to continuing the fight to strengthen and empower our manufacturing industry. I was proud to sponsor legislation aimed at empowering manufacturing communities by streamlining the process to acquire federal funding for economic development. I was equally proud to sponsor legislation that establishes a pilot program to expand access to technical jobs for students through work programs and apprenticeships. Democrats have actually listened to the concerns of our labor unions and their allies in identifying the significant shortcomings of USMCA that undermine the deal as a whole. Democrats have listened to our automotive industry that has a genuine concern regarding the uptick in production costs implemented by USMCA and the unintended consequences that could have on the automotive supply chain. Democrats believe that trade deals like CAFTA and KORUS FTA ought to be reviewed and similarly reformed to benefit the American People.
Democrats will continue to fight for our neglected industries so long as we are able. We need your help and support to advocate for candidates who will serve in the Congress across the country with a common goal of fighting for the best interests of our workers and manufacturing sector. We need your help and support to fight against the failed free-trade policies that have wrecked havoc on our industries for so long. We need your help and support to bring relief and economic opportunity to our manufacturing communities.
Thank you all and God bless.
DNC CHAIRMAN THOMAS BLACKSTONE
Hello my fellow Americans!! It is so good to be here with all of you tonight, and to know that we are all in this battle for a better America together!
Tonight I would like to talk about the state of Trade in our nation. For many years now, the American worker has been suffering due to impractical and outright terrible trade practices by our government. This is not news to all of you hard working Americans, but it is important that we acknowledge it here tonight. It is important that we march into the future with an actual plan that protects the American worker, while still engaging in the increasingly global markets.
We as Democrats are looking to that future and we are ready to lead on the issue of trade. For too long Republicans have tried to tie the nation and its workers to unfettered free trade agreements that are not in the interest of the American worker, but only in the interest of the wealthy elite. Their current leader, a President who is up to his neck in corruption, has watched and done nothing but dispel hot air from his lungs with regards to trade. In reality all that has been accomplished by this administration is a breaking down of our relationships abroad, and the further weakening of the American worker's position on the international stage. From an increase in the cost of basic essentials for everyday americans, to childish trade wars started with China because the President does not even understand basic economic principles, this administration has been disastrous for trade.
Going forward, we need your help in our battle to change this horrible predicament that the President and Republicans have placed us in. We need you to show them that this is not how comprehensive and competent trade policies are implemented. Show your engagement in this important issue, and others as well. We as Democrats pledge to continue this fight for you, and we will work hard to make certain that this country develops and implements trade policies that benefit all americans, and are not just at the whims of one person, or one party. We have much to do, but together we can do it! Thank you, and God Bless America!
SENATOR OWEN DECKER (D-AL)
First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who came to support our efforts. And please be generous. A gallon of gas cost so much these days and I need to fill my ride for tonight.
(Pause to allow a few laughs)
While my joke was of bad taste, it points to one of the many problems that we face today. In Trump’s first two years in office, the price of gas for your car kept rising and rising. And why is that? Simple: Trump’s trade policies. Trump decided to start a trade with war both allies and foes of America. He decided on a wimp to put the livelihood of his fellow citizens at risk because he wanted to “win trade”. According to the president, “tariffs are the greatest!” Mister President, I have news for you. Your tariffs are only making the cost of everything rise up. So no, they aren’t the greatest. I think we can all agree that they are a disaster. And instead of using the government’s resources to help the men and women who suffer from his policies, he simply shrugs and let America suffer in silence.
Our president once said: “America has lost nearly one-third of its manufacturing jobs since 1997 following the enactment of disastrous trade deals supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton.” So does he think that this lie justify killing the two-thirds remaining? Trump keeps claiming that his trade policies allow the creation of new jobs and save those we already have from being shipped to other countries, while all they do is take the jobs and destroy them. How many workers had to be let go because Trump believe Canada is “playing dirty”? How much more must the consumers pay for their basic necessities just so the White House can have its trade war with China? How much more before the Republicans send us back to 1929?
I think I speak for all of us when I say enough is enough. The Democrats will not let Trump and his cronies destroy our country’s economy. We will fight to help American industries to prosper them expand to create new jobs in American, unlike the Republicans who hide under the excuse of “protectionism” to let our great jewels choke to death. We will fight for the jobs of every single worker in America, from the hardware creators in California to the farmers in Georgia. Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats want the world to know that the United States of America are ready to do business. Tariffs and cowardice are the weapons of the Republicans. At the Democratic Party, we prefer strength and unity.
Thank you, and God bless America.
Senator Eugene Chillings
Democrat - North Carolina
Thank you all for being here this evening. I am greatly honored to be here.
I'd like to thank Senator Newton for his speech opening this evening. There is no doubt that trade has become a contentious issue that has consumed the minds of millions of workers as their jobs disappear. As ineffective trade deals are approved by Republican politicians, Americans suffer. Much has been made off their past actions on trade deals but now they are responsible for an ongoing disaster of unprecedented proportions.
In March of last year, President Trump chose to start a trade war with the Chinese, ostensibly for the purpose of bringing money back to America. It has done anything but. Though I cannot speak for other Americans (there are plenty other speakers tonight), I can attest to the harm this trade war has done to North Carolina. $1.1 billion of exports are threatened by this war. All over the state, farmers are being hurt by this war to say nothing of our businesses that rely on imported steel. According to an article from the "Charlotte Observer", thanks to the tariffs, the cost of constructing a new home has risen by no less that $7000. Thanks to this trade war, the people of North Carolina have suffered greatly.
While Republicans say they dislike the current situation and talk about the necessity of reigning in the President, they continue to bow and scrape before him. This is sadly nothing new, for while they speak of the necessity of confronting the cheaters, they do the exact opposite while sticking the screws in the backs of the farmers and the craftworkers, the truckers and the longshoremen, the laborers and so many more. We have too long waited for a Republican politician to step up and confront this President. In the absence of action, only we can do anything.
While we acknowledge that other countries have long cheated the US on trade, we reject the current trade war. It has done nothing but harm Americans all over this country, besides serving as a vanity project for the President's own lack of manhood or martial prowess. We must find a better strategy for helping ease the pain that our people feel from job loss.
And tonight, I call upon all of you to support us as we fight to give the little guy a break. We will fight on behalf of all working people, regardless of who they are. America was built upon her middle and working class and thrives when they do well. Join us as we fight to build a better country.
Thank you very much and good night!
SENATOR JOSEPH DOTSON (WA)
"Thank you all for coming this evening.
I want to talk about something that has long been forgotten by politicians on Capitol Hill for seemingly the last 20 or 30 years, that is the American worker and farmer. As both parties have battled over the years on many, many issues, you would have thought that keeping good quality American jobs on our shores would be a common issue which both sides could coalesce around and look to protect.
That isn't the case, right now we see Republicans attempting to ram through Congress the revised NAFTA plan which would look to undermine the American worker. Democrats in Congress have issued a stern rejection of the revised NAFTA, USMCA because it's dangerous for American workers and indeed workers in Canada and Mexico. There are no labor protections or environmental protections able to be enforced in this legislation. So much so that President Trump is refusing to stand up for our workers by telling trade partners to conform to the necessary provisions, but this is nothing new of the typical Republican attitude to our workers. We want our trade deals to help the American worker.
President Trump's actions on trade have led to major concerns, and rightly so, for our farm workers. The trade war with China has left corn in silos and crops in the fields, because no one can buy them. This is the type of situation that is now standard Republican trade policy, and how shameful it is. No one in Washington should be gambling with the financial security and prosperity of our farmers and agricultural businesses. Our agricultural trade sector has long been the only net exporter in the American economy thanks to bad trade decisions and practices taken in the other sectors. Now Republicans want to do that with out agriculture. We want our trade deals to help American farmers and agriculture.
There is an answer, that is to ensure Democrats take Washington in 2020. We speak here tonight with a vision to represent the American worker, our agriculture and protect labor. We will prevent any attempt of Republicans in Washington to usurp workers rights and agricultural prosperity. We can do this by fighting against any and all attempts to attack Davis-Bacon, install Right to Work and weaken labor unions with legislation by Congress. But we can't do this without your help, we need folks like you to help us and join us in the fight against these draconian Republican practices."
Senator Catherine Williams (D-CA)
"Oh, it is so great to be here. I want to thank Harvey Newton for the great work he has done on behalf of this great party and of course our great Chairman, Thomas Blackstone! Thanks to Senator Joe Dotson for his tremendous leadership in the Senate and of course Chet, who has been outstanding for the team. And thanks to all of you for being here today. They told me we'd be talking about trade. And lemme tell you, there's much to be said.
There's much to be said about how poorly thought out this deal was. I mean, after a guy authored a book called "art of the deal," you'd expect a better deal than this piece of garbage. I'm really not surprised Canada and Mexico have agreed to the deal, it's great for them - but wrong for America! Just look at the labor protections alone. That's right, there are none to see! Or the environmental protections - nowhere to be found. That's not American leadership, it's a sham - a sham for hard-working labor community and leadership, a sham for the hard pressing environmental activists!
We Democrats stand for something better. We want to make sure that while we're trading with the rest of the world, we get something back for our workers and ensure worker's rights are being protected and promoted abroad. It's not about the writing on the paper. We know that enforcement is what matters. Without enforcement, every word in that deal related to any sort of rights are toothless. And the Republicans know this, yet they press on. We won't stand for it. And I'm confident that any one of us up here tonight can and will negotiate a better deal that represents our interests abroad. But we need your help.
We need your help to make sure the environment is taken into account. That labor and climate change activists have a seat at the table. We need your help to make sure we win elections so that the Republicans aren't given a free ride to sell out American industry for the good of themselves. We need your help to ensure we take the lead internationally on providing rights to our workers and combating climate change both here and abroad. We need your help!
I am asking you tonight to fight with us and for us and alongside us - so that we may all benefit, for the good of the American people.
Thank you all and God bless you!"