isn't she for free trade?
Q: Doesn’t Hillary support trade agreements that take jobs away from American workers?
A: Not at all. Trade deals are complex because they are supposed to benefit all of the nations involved. However, Hillary strongly believes that all trade deals must benefit American workers, first and foremost. As a result, she isn’t wholly pro-trade or anti-trade. As Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council in the Clinton and Obama administrations put it:
Some people are generally pro-trade or anti-trade. She’s case-by-case on trade.
Q: What is Hillary’s voting record on trade?
A: As a U.S. Senator from New York, Hillary voted in favor of roughly half of the trade deals that came before her. However, she voted against the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), saying in 2005:
While this agreement provides some benefit for New York, I regretfully conclude the harm outweighs the good. I must therefore vote to oppose…Sadly, DR-CAFTA is a step backward.
And like Senator Bernie Sanders, Hillary voted against the Trade Act of 2002. This legislation extended the Andean Trade Preference Act, but also gave the President fast track authority to negotiate trade deals. Fast track authority means that when the President negotiates a trade deal, Congress can only vote for or against it.
Q: But she “flip-flopped” on TPP, right?
A: No. Hillary did originally support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). However, when the final deal was finished, it did not benefit American workers the way she thought it should. As a result, she felt obligated to oppose it. At the Democratic Primary Debate on October 13, 2015, she said:
I have always fought for the same values and principles, but, like most human beings–including those of us who run for office–I do absorb new information. I do look at what’s happening in the world. Take the trade deal. I did say, when I was secretary of state, three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard. It was just finally negotiated last week, and in looking at it, it didn’t meet my standards. My standards for more new, good jobs for Americans, for raising wages for Americans. And I want to make sure that I can look into the eyes of any middle-class American and say, “this will help raise your wages.” And I concluded I could not.
Q: Well, she is a huge fan of NAFTA, though, correct?
A: Hillary is not a die-hard supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Back in 2007, Hillary had this to say at the AFL-CIO Democratic Primary Forum:
I had said that for many years, that NAFTA and the way it’s been implemented has hurt a lot of American workers. In fact, I did a study in New York looking at the impact of NAFTA on business people, workers and farmers who couldn’t get their products into Canada despite NAFTA. So, clearly we have to have a broad reform in how we approach trade. NAFTA’s a piece of it, but it’s not the only piece of it. I believe in smart trade. Pro-American trade. Trade that has labor and environmental standards, that’s not a race to the bottom but tries to lift up not only American workers but also workers around the world.