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Schumer said if he's majority leader, trade policy will change

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo


Foreign trade deals are a contentious issue at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), weighed in Wednesday, saying he’s against the Trans-Pacific Partnership proposal, known as the TPP.

Schumer, speaking to the New York delegation, said he was skeptical about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal back in the 1990s even though then-President Bill Clinton asked him to vote for it. Schumer voted against NAFTA and he said since then, his views have become even stronger. 

“You don’t need a Ph.D. in economics to know why companies want to take jobs out of America and move them to Indonesia or Mexico,” he said. “Because the workers there get paid next to nothing.” 

Schumer said the proposed trade deal would likely increase corporate profits and the nation’s gross domestic product, but he said that’s not enough to counterbalance reduced jobs and wages for American workers. 

He said if Democrats retake the Senate in November, things will be different.

“Should I, God willing, become the majority leader, we’re going to have an entirely different approach on trade,” Schumer said to the cheering crowd. “We’re going to protect American workers first, and then look at the geopolitical benefits. Not the other way around.”

Schumer is up for re-election this year. He holds a double-digit lead against GOP opponent Wendy Long.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.