Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today voted against the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in the Senate Finance Committee, citing the agreement’s lack of urgency to address climate change and concerns about lost jobs in Rhode Island. Whitehouse issued the following statement after the vote:
“NAFTA has utterly failed Rhode Island, with more than half of our manufacturing jobs gone since the agreement went into effect. While NAFTA 2.0 includes some welcome improvements on labor standards, I have serious doubts that it will bring jobs back to Rhode Island or help our companies become more competitive.
“The new agreement also represents a missed opportunity to battle climate change and to reduce pollution. Regrettably, it continues to protect corporate polluters by allowing oil and gas giants to oppose environmental regulation through the secretive ‘Investor-State Dispute Settlement’ process. It also fails to include a binding and independent process for the enforcement of environmental commitments.
“While I commend Speaker Pelosi and Democratic negotiators for making some significant progress, the deal falls short of a standard I can support.”
Whitehouse introduced the American Business Tariff Relief Act last year to address concerns raised by Rhode Island businesses regarding the process for companies to apply for exclusions from increased tariffs. The legislation would require the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of Commerce to establish a process under which U.S. businesses can request exclusions from increased tariffs prior to the imposition of the new tariffs.
Whitehouse has also introduced No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act to level the playing field for American companies by ensuring that multinationals pay the same tax rate on profits earned abroad as they do in the United States. The legislation would end incentives created by President Trump’s tax law to outsource jobs and shift profits offshore.