Bernie Sanders, others on political left push Trump to maintain NAFTA hard line

Donald Trump is being encouraged to stay strong in NAFTA negotiations by people who aren’t normally his allies.

Sen. Bernie Sanders and other members of the anti-NAFTA left held a news conference Wednesday on Capitol Hill where they demanded that the president keep his promise to drastically overhaul the agreement.

They held their event as negotiators from the three countries met in Washington.

“We are here today to send a very loud and clear message to Donald Trump: for once in your life keep your promises,” said Sanders, a Vermont senator and former presidential contender.

“We need to fundamentally rewrite NAFTA.”

Sanders expressed support for hardball U.S. negotiating positions like increased Buy American protections, and he wants to go even farther than Trump and not just water down the investor-state dispute mechanism in Chapter 11 but end it entirely.

He also wants Trump to go farther on labour standards and to end incentives to outsource jobs.

Those disagreements on specifics illustrate that while Trump and the left share similar rhetoric about trade, some of their specific proposals veer in different directions, raising doubt about how many left-wingers Trump could hope to win over in a ratification vote for a trade deal.

Speakers at Wednesday’s event didn’t actually call for the cancellation of NAFTA, just major changes.

Lawmaker Rose DeLauro recalled having tears in her eyes the night the House of Representatives voted for NAFTA and she said the last quarter-century has proven that critics who said the deal would undermine American worker wages were right.

Trade politics in the U.S. rarely hews to clear, predictable partisan lines.

In 1994, it was mostly Republicans who helped Democratic president Bill Clinton get NAFTA ratified. Today, polls show Democratic voters are likelier to support NAFTA, but not their elected representatives, while it’s the opposite on the right, where Trump voters mostly oppose NAFTA but most Republican lawmakers support it.

DeLauro rejects being painted as a protectionist or as anti-trade.

“We are for trade,” said the Connecticut Democrat.

“We want to work with the administration. We want to rewrite NAFTA.”

Sanders says poorly designed trade deals are one of the factors that have hurt U.S. manufacturing communities in recent decades and led to greater inequality between haves and have-nots.

“It devastates lives. And it devastates cities and towns,” Sanders said.

“Trade is not the only explanation for that. But trade is an important part of the decline of the middle class America.”

Just Posted

Red Deer RCMP investigate reports of a weapon

Collicutt Centre and high schools reopen

Energy regulator says crude-by-rail shipments fell to 310,000 bpd in August

CALGARY — The Canada Energy Regulator says exports of crude oil by… Continue reading

Red Deer ICU included in leading-edge study

Looking at standard versus accelerated dialysis in critically ill patients

UN report highlights ‘abhorrent’ housing conditions for Indigenous people

A United Nations report is highlighting the role “abhorrent” housing conditions play… Continue reading

Lane closures on 49th Avenue in Red Deer on Tuesday

City crews start working near Baymont Inn and Suites

WATCH: Red Deer Citizens on Patrol monitoring downtown with new program

Volunteers will patrol downtown Red Deer to help keep the city safe.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday The Small Business Centre at Burman University’s School of Business invites… Continue reading

Mike Downie says Secret Path Live was ‘powerful’ and he’d ‘love to do it again’

TORONTO — A brother of the late Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie… Continue reading

Health: What should I mix with my rum?

Have I been leading readers astray? For years this column has stressed… Continue reading

Family: Reflections on Thanksgiving and other holidays

With Thanksgiving over and done with its time to get on with… Continue reading

Blondin adds to medal tally at Canadian speedskating championships

CALGARY — Ottawa’s Ivanie Blondin won a pair of gold medals on… Continue reading

Hofbauer, Pidhoresky qualify for marathon event at Tokyo 2020 Games

TORONTO — Calgary’s Trevor Hofbauer and Vancouver’s Dayna Pidhoresky are Tokyo bound.… Continue reading

Mike Downie says Secret Path Live was ‘powerful’ and he’d ‘love to do it again’

TORONTO — A brother of the late Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie… Continue reading

Taika Waititi says ‘Jojo Rabbit’ isn’t a ‘challenging’ take on the Holocaust

TORONTO — “Jojo Rabbit” director Taika Waititi is laying flat on the… Continue reading

Most Read