Senate Republicans have slammed President Obama for holding up three free-trade agreements, despite the administration’s own estimates that ratifying the deals could create up to 250,000 new jobs.
“There’s one person in the United States of America who’s stopping job creation by not letting these bills come to the floor, and that’s the president,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R., Ga.).
Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said President Obama was being deceptive when he blamed Congress for keeping the bills in legislative limbo, since the White House has yet to submit the agreements to Congress for ratification. “The way to get things moving is not to go around the country saying things that are not true,” he explained, referring to statements the president made on his recent bus tour.
Many believe the delay in passing the agreements is reducing America’s market share in South Korea, which entered a trade agreement with the European Union in July. In that month alone, EU exports to South Korea increased by more than 36 percent, while American exports increased by only 2.5 percent, according to Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio).
Meanwhile, Portman said, Canada is cutting into America’s market share in Colombia, thanks to a new free-trade agreement between the two countries. “We need to move, and move quickly, before we lose even more market share,” he said.
The agreements were negotiated with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea during the Bush administration. For more on the administration’s foot-dragging on free trade, see here.
— Betsy Woodruff is an intern for National Review Online.