One of President Trump’s first moves as president is getting a big thumbs up from some of our more liberal members of Congress.
Senators Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Bob Casey (D., Penn.), and Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) praised Trump today for signing an executive action to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“I am glad the Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead and gone,” Sanders said. “For the last 30 years, we have had a series of trade deals – including the North American Free Trade Agreement, permanent normal trade relations with China and others – which have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs and caused a ‘race to the bottom’ which has lowered wages for American workers. Now is the time to develop a new trade policy that helps working families, not just multinational corporations. If President Trump is serious about a new policy to help American workers, then I would be delighted to work with him.”
Most Democrats in Congress opposed the TPP, putting them at odds with the Obama administration until its final day in office. During the campaign, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton came out against the TPP after praising the negotiations that had resulted in it. After the election, Sanders and others saw Trump’s victory as the stake through the heart of the trade deal.
And today, Democrats who like Sanders had campaigned against Trump joined him in saluting the executive order.
“I support President Trump’s issuing of an executive orders that will pull the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and his recent steps to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) in a statement. “NAFTA has adversely impacted middle class families in Pennsylvania and the TPP would have cost jobs and hurt income growth, which is why I voted against fast tracking the deal in 2015.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) shared a similar reaction on Twitter:
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) January 23, 2017
As a presidential candidate, Trump ran as a foe of TPP and other free-trade agreements he argued hurt the U.S.
Left-wing AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka praised the move but gave little credit to Trump.
“Today’s announcement that the US is withdrawing from TPP and seeking a reopening of NAFTA is an important first step toward a trade policy that works for working people,” said Trumka. “While these are necessary actions, they aren’t enough. They are just the first in a series of necessary policy changes required to build a fair and just global economy. We will continue our relentless campaign to create new trade and economic rules that end special privileges for foreign investors and Big Pharma, protect our planet’s precious natural resources and ensure fair pay, safe conditions and a voice in the workplace for all workers.”
Several hours after signing the executive order, Trump met with union leaders and blue-collar workers and had a separate meeting with business leaders.
“We’re gonna put a lot of people back to work,” the president told the assembled union leaders and workers. “We’re going to use common sense and we’re going to do it the way it’s supposed to be done.” He added, “I think we’re going to have a lot of companies come back to our country.”
In his meeting with the business leaders, Trump told the story about a man who was going to build a factory but went broke after spending millions of dollars during a long, protracted approval process.
“When somebody wants to put up a factory, it’s going to be expedited,” Trump said, making sure to add, “we’re going to take care of the environment, we’re going to take care of safety” but “there is going to be no country faster, better, more fair, and at the same time, protecting the people of the country.”