When Congress passed the Korea, Colombia and Panama Free Trade Agreements tonight it voted to export hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs, reward labor and human rights offenders, harm our planet, and perpetuate tax evasion.
Despite years of protest against unfair trade policies by Americans of all political affiliations, a majority of members of Congress chose to prioritize Wall Street and multinational corporations over their own constituents. This is a win for the top 1 percent of income-earners while the other 99 percent will be left to foot the bill.
Fortunately, Congressman Keith Ellison and Congresswoman Betty McCollum took a strong stand for working families and against corporate greed by opposing all three trade deals.
Four members of the Minnesota delegation split their votes. Congressmen Peterson and Walz and Senators Franken and Klobuchar voted for the Korea Free Trade Agreement and against the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Walz and Franken voted against the Panama Free Trade Agreement while Peterson and Klobuchar voted for it.
Congressmen Chip Cravaack, John Kline, Erik Paulsen, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann all voted for each job-killing trade pact.
The Korea deal alone threatens over 50,000 good-paying Minnesota jobs. This hits hard in a state that has already seen tens of thousands of jobs lost to failed trade policies, with families losing health care, savings, retirement, and homes as a result.
While the Minnesota delegation may have split its votes on trade, polls show a majority of voters agree the pro-corporate, anti-middle class policies perpetuated tonight by Congress are sinking working families across our country.
The consequences of these votes will linger for years to come. Hopefully, the growing movement against greed and government corruption will be strong enough to hold those who approved these pacts accountable for their actions.