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Rand Paul on Free Trade

Republican Kentucky Senator

 


Senate should be involved in trade deals, not just President

Q [to Donald Trump]: You've criticized the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 Asian countries?

TRUMP: The TPP is horrible deal. It's a deal that was designed for China to come in through the back door. We're losing now over $500 billion in terms of imbalance with China. If you look at the way China in particular takes advantage of the US--it's through currency manipulation. It's not even discussed in the TPP.

PAUL: Hey, you know, we might want to point out China is not part of this deal.

Q: But isn't that part of the problem? That if this deal is not ratified by the Senate, then it would actually give China an opportunity to grow its economic leadership?

PAUL: There is an argument that China doesn't like the deal, because in us doing the deal, we'll be trading with their competitors. But we've missed the point a little bit. It's a mistake that we give up power to the presidency on these trade deals. We give up the power to filibuster, and I'm kind of fond of that power.

Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

China trade improves economy AND makes fight less likely

When I was about ten years old, like many conservative middle-class families, our inclination was to resist anything to do with Red China. In that black and white world, you were either for us or against us. Trade with China was thought to be trade with the enemy. A funny thing happened, though, along the way. Many conservatives came to understand a larger truth. As trade began to blossom with China, many conservatives, myself included, came to admit that trade improves our economic well-being AND makes us less likely to fight. The success of trade with China made many conservatives rethink their view of the world.

People sometimes ask me what my worldview is. My response is that even if you've crisscrossed the globe, I'm not sure that the world doesn't change by the time you return to the same spot twice. I really am a believer that foreign policy must be viewed by events as they present themselves, not as we wish them to be.

Source: Rand Paul OpEd in The National Interest , Jan 16, 2014

Accompany free trade laws with other export inducers

Over the past several years, the President has taken the laudable step of urging Congress to pass free trade laws in order to elevate exports. However, apart from the effort to encourage free trade, the President's efforts to create an environment conducive to competing in a global economy have been largely misguided. The President and the central bank have attempted to increase exports by destroying the value of the dollar here at home.

The President's agenda of increasing taxes on top of a weak dollar policy is inhibiting the country's ability of to compete overseas. One of the fundamental keys to export growth is investment. The correlation between tax rates, investment and export is demonstrated by the tremendous export opportunities and growth of East Asia.

Tax rates affect the investment decisions of firms and individuals by altering the cash flow of investment opportunities, and decrease the return on investment, resulting in overall reduced investment.

Source: A Clear Vision to Revitalize America, by Rand Paul, p. 17-8 , Oct 1, 2013

Participated with Raw Milk Freedom Riders civil disobedience

Small farmers up and down the Mid-Atlantic region are raided at gunpoint by goons from the USDA and FDA. What product were they trafficking in that led to such harsh treatment from their government?

Milk.

In November 2011, my office was happy to participate with the Raw Milk Freedom Riders, who set out to acquire raw milk in protest of raids on small farmers.

The Raw Milk Freedom Riders intentionally purchased and transported raw milk across state lines in violation of federal law.

Civil disobedience. Hunger strikes. Persecuted activists. The food freedom movement has all the hallmarks of the great struggles of the past, and that's because it shares a common enemy with those movements--aggressive and arrogant government.

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p.219-221 , Sep 12, 2012

Voted YES to kill reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank.

Paul voted YEA Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act

Heritage Action summary of vote# S206: The Senate voted to table (kill) an amendment by Sen. Kirk to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Sen. Kirk recommends voting NO. Heritage Foundation recommends voting YES because the "Ex-Im Bank is little more than a $140 billion slush fund for corporate welfare."

OnTheIssues explanation: Voting NO would allow a vote on reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank. Voting YES would kill the bill for reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank.

Sierra Club reason for conditionally voting NO (from previous bill S.819):Sen. Shaheen's bill S.824 reauthorizes the Ex-Im Bank without undermining Obama's Climate Action Plan. The Sierra Club supports the bill because it makes both financial and environmental sense for the US and all of its taxpayer-backed financial institutions--including Ex-Im--to stop investing in dirty and dangerous fossil fuels like coal.

Cato Institute reason for voting YES to kill the bill:The Ex-Im Bank's reauthorization buffs contend that Ex-Im fills a void left by private sector lenders unwilling to provide financing for certain transactions. Ex-Im's critics [say that] by effectively superseding risk-based decision-making with the choices of a handful of bureaucrats pursuing political objectives, Ex-Im risks taxpayer dollars. It turns out that for nearly every Ex-Im financing authorization that might advance the fortunes of a single US company, there is at least one US industry whose firms are put at a competitive disadvantage. These are the unseen consequences of Ex-Im's mission.

Source: Congressional vote 15-S0995 on Oct 19, 2015

Implement USMCA for improved North American trade.

Paul voted YEA USMCA Implementation Act

Summary from Congressional Record and Wikipedia:Vote to amend the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and establish the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Rather than a wholly new agreement, it has been characterized as "NAFTA 2.0"; final terms were negotiated on September 30, 2018 by each country. The agreement is scheduled to come into effect on July 1, 2020.

Case for voting YES by Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL); (Dec. 19, 2019)The USMCA includes stronger protections for American workers and enforceable labor standards, as well as environmental protections. It eliminates the Trump Administration's threat that the US could walk away entirely from the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, which would devastate US jobs and our economy.

Case for voting NO by Jared Huffman (D-CA); (Dec. 19, 2019) Democratic negotiators did a lot to improve Donald Trump's weak trade deal, especially in terms of labor standards and enforcement, but the final deal did not reach the high standard that I had hoped for. The NAFTA renegotiations were a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lift labor and environmental standards across the continent--to lock in serious climate commitments with two of our largest trading partners and dramatically improve labor standards and enforcement to slow the rise of outsourcing.

Legislative outcome: Bill Passed (Senate) (89-10-1) - Jan. 16, 2020; bill Passed (House) (385-41-5) - Dec. 19, 2019; signed at the G20 Summit simultaneously by President Trump, Mexican President Enrique Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Nov. 30, 2018

Source: Congressional vote 19-HR5430 on Dec 19, 2019

Rated 75% by the USAE, indicating support for trade engagement.

Paul scores 75% by USA*Engage on trade issues

Ratings by USA*Engage indicate support for trade engagement or trade sanctions. The organization's self-description: "USA*Engage is concerned about the proliferation of unilateral foreign policy sanctions at the federal, state and local level. Despite the fact that broad trade-based unilateral sanctions rarely achieve our foreign policy goals, they continue to have political appeal. Unilateral sanctions give the impression that the United States is 'doing something,' while American workers, farmers and businesses absorb the costs."

VoteMatch scoring for the USA*Engage ratings is as follows :

Source: USA*Engage 2011-2012 ratings on Congress and politicians 2012-USAE on Dec 31, 2012

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Andy Beshear
Ben Chandler
Jim Gray
Mark Harmon
Matt Bevin
Robert Goforth
Rocky Adkins
KY Senatorial:
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C. Wesley Morgan
Charles Booker
Jim Gray
Mary Ann Tobin
Mitch McConnell
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