House Passes The Currency Reform For Fair Trade Act-- GOP Splits Apart
Earlier today the House tackled a wide array of bills. The Republicans-- along with some sleazy corporate Blue Dogs-- voted as a bloc to try to derail everything by opposing an early morning resolution to allow consideration of the bills, which included Mary Jo Kilroy's Medical Debt Relief Act, prohibiting a consumer reporting agency from making any report containing information related to a fully paid or settled medical debt that had been characterized as debt in collection for credit reporting purposes (splitting the GOP almost evenly down the middle among supporters and opponents); Carolyn Maloney's 9/11 Health and Compensation Act for World Trade Center first responders-- only 17 Republicans voting in favor; and Tim Ryan's Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, which is the one I want to go into in a little more depth. (Mary Jo will be the Blue America live blogging guest on Saturday and we can talk with her about her legislation then and why it's so important for so many families across the country.)
Ryan's bill seeks to deter China from manipulating its currency by putting in place a mechanism to determine whether the exchange rate of the currency of an exporting country (i.e.- China) is fundamentally and actionably undervalued or overvalued (misaligned) against the U.S. dollar for an 18-month period which would then lead to "certain actions under a countervailing duty or antidumping duty proceeding to offset such misalignment in cases of an affirmative determination." The bill passed 348-79, with the Republican caucus torn apart by "free" fanatics and ideologues led by the architect of GOP trade policy, John Boehner. Most of his own caucus deserted him, although the right-wing kooks most in thrall to Big Business' money machine-- Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, David Dreier, Pete Sessions and Eric Cantor (as well as the lunatic fringe types like Paul Broun, Steve King, Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert)-- stuck with Boehner.
Ironically, few states have been as disastrously hit by these conservative trade policies as Boehner's home state of Ohio, where thousands of good middle class manufacturing jobs have gone right to China, decimating Ohio businesses and Ohio families. Right after the vote Scott Paul, Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), expressed tremendous optimism. "Today, the House of Representatives sent a clear message to Beijing: Stop your cheating. America's workers and businesses deserve a level playing field, and passing this bipartisan bill is a significant step in that direction... Voters are mad and Congress is finally responding." Boehner, of course, dug his heels in and refused to budge.
Justin Coussoule, who is running on a platform that includes replacing misnamed "free" trade with FAIR TRADE and with bringing middle class jobs back to southwest Ohio, has been an avid supporter of Tim Ryan's legislation. This evening he told us that "Tim's bill is long overdue and I know he's been working hard, in a bipartisan way to pass it. It says a lot about this issue that more Republicans voted with the Democrats than with John Boehner. Congressman Boehner hasn't even seen fit to come to a single candidate's forum in any county in the district and he's consistently refusing to debate any issues. He's taking the district for granted and that's what he did today by voting against his own constituents and just sticking with the Wall Street bankers and Big Business instead of with workers, small businesspeople and ordinary Ohio families who are sick and tired of watching China cheat us year after year after year. Over 2.4 million jobs have been lost, across the country, since 2001 because of the trade deficit with China and Chinese currency manipulation has been a policy they have pursued with vigor. It's time for the 8th district to have a congressman who's going to be looking out for regular folks here, not just the Special Interests who write the big political campaign contribution checks."
Justin's campaign against Boehner is a strictly grassroots effort and Blue America is lending a hand by running some independent media... the billboards and cable TV ads. Can you give us a hand with the effort? Believe me, the last thing you want to see the morning after election day is a Speaker with an eery orange glow. Here's a page dedicated to Justin's campaign and the Blue America ads in Ohio's 8th CD.
Every Ohio Democrat voted for Ryan's bill, of course. And, interestingly Boehner lost the three senior Ohio Republicans-- Steve LaTourette, Pat Tiberi and Michael Turner-- plus Steve Austria. The only Ohio Congressmembers the would-be Speaker managed to hang on to were pathetic backbenchers, newcomers with no influence-- and all dependent on Boehner's goodwill for their campaign financing: Jim Jordan, Bob Latta and Mean Jean Schmidt.