Political briefs – June 25


BROWN REACTS TO PASSAGE OF FAST TRACK – Following a vote to give President Obama trade promotion authority to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade deals, and a vote to extend the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program and level the playing field for U.S. companies by giving them new tools to fight against unfair trade practices, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown issued the following statement:

“It’s disappointing that my colleagues voted to fast track the largest trade deal ever without demanding that our trading partners follow the same rules that we do. I’m encouraged that we acted to extend TAA and pass the Leveling the Playing Field Act to address anticompetitive practices like dumping. But as TPP is negotiated, we must do more to prevent a race to the bottom that gives handouts to corporations while selling out American workers.

“Today’s vote to extend Trade Adjustment Assistance is good news for workers who could be impacted by the TPP and other trade deals down the road. The loss of a job can be devastating. Through TAA, we can give displaced workers the opportunity to train for new, high-demand careers and get back to work so they can provide for their families.

AFL-CIO PRESIDENT SPEAKS OUT AGAINST FAST TRACK – The United States Senate passed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, clearing the way for “fast track” consideration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

In reaction to TPA’s passage, Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga issued the following statement:

“The passage of the Trade Promotion Authority bill will hurt Ohio workers, plain and simple. “Fast track” consideration of the TPP, the biggest trade deal in history, will exclude the voices of workers and industry alike as it will now happen behind closed doors and without the input of constituencies as represented in Congress.”

“Past trade deals considered in a similar manner have hurt our economy and sent jobs overseas. Our growing trade deficit will further expand under this new deal, costing us many more jobs.”

“Senator Portman’s vote for the bill was especially disappointing. Even after Senator Portman tried and failed to address important deficiencies with the bill regarding the harmful practice of currency manipulation that many countries party to the deal have engaged in, he still supported the legislation. So, by definition, Senator Portman voted for a bill that he knows will put Ohio industry and Ohio workers at a disadvantage in the global marketplace. This issue has been of enormous consequence to major industries in Ohio including the steel and auto industry. Without assurances that safeguards against unfair trade practices will be included in the deal, Senator Portman’s vote was reckless at best. It is clear that Senator Portman is beholden to the interests that make billions of dollars by sending our jobs overseas and the voices of concerned workers across the state are lost on him.”

HUSTED PRAISES SENATE FOR PASSAGE OF ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today praised the Ohio Senate for their passage of Senate Bill 63, sponsored by State Senator Frank LaRose (R–Copley), which seeks to grant authorization to the Secretary of State to implement an online voter registration system in Ohio.

“This is another step in making it easy to vote and hard to cheat in Ohio by improving voter access and implementing additional security measures,” Secretary Husted said.

Online voter registration would create a more secure and efficient registration system while also serving as a significantly less costly way to register new voters. An analysis of other states shows that online voter registration can save between 50 cents and $2.34 per registration when compared to the traditional paper form. If an online system had been in place in Ohio between 2011 and 2014, the state’s local governments could have saved between $2.8 and $13.2 million.

Secretary Husted also announced his initiative has so far garnered support from county commissioners in 45 of Ohio’s 88 counties, the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, the Ohio Association of Elections Officials, and election officials from across the state.

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