(2 Aug 2017) Senate Democrats are unveiling a new set of trade policies aimed at appealing to working-class voters and regaining advantage on an issue Donald Trump seized to great effect during last year’s presidential campaign.
Some of the proposals being rolled out Wednesday sound like talking points straight from Trump, including renegotiating NAFTA and strengthening “Buy America” policies.
Despite his rhetoric on those issues, Trump has taken limited steps so far, although he did formally pull the U.S. out of a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade pact that Congress probably wouldn’t have approved anyway.
The trade policies announced Wednesday are the second rollout in Democrats’ new “Better Deal” agenda, which House and Senate Democrats are proposing ahead of the 2018 midterms.
Last week Democrats unveiled the overall agenda and made public the first three planks, which focused on creating more jobs, cracking down on corporate monopolies and lowering prescription drug prices.
Overall, the Democrats’ trade proposals underscore the influence of the party’s liberal wing in pushing it in a populist direction that rejects multinational trade deals in favor of more protectionist policies that elevate U.S. workers’ interests. Indeed trade had been seen as an area where Trump and congressional Democrats could work together, since Trump is more aligned with Democrats on the issue than with the traditional Republican free-trade approach.
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