Roskam Floor Speech in Support of Pro-Export FTAs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier today, Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06), Chief Deputy Whip, gave the following remarks on the House Floor in support of the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.
Thank you, Madame Speaker. Madame Speaker, as the public is listening to this, I think they're kind of collectively going: whew. Finally there's something that's going on in Congress. Finally there's something going with the other body. Finally there's something going on with the White House that is common ground around a very simple premise and that's this: no-cost job creation. It doesn't cost a single dime.
For my home state, the proof is in the pudding. This means it's going to help 145,000 Illinois jobs right now that are tethered within 650 companies that are dealing with exports. This deal helps them. Twenty five percent of all manufacturing jobs in my home state of Illinois are related to exports and let's face it, ninety-five percent of the world's consumers live outside of the United States. So you know what this trade deal does, this says, game on.
The U.S. can compete, give us a fair playing field and game on -- we can compete. These were hard-headed, hard-nosed negotiations led by Chairman Camp and the White House and Ranking Member Levin and others. These were tough deals that were put together that were not just weak handshakes. This was staring down opponents and finally coming to common ground and putting something together that has a great deal of possibility. A great deal of promise in a country that is desperate, I mean absolutely desperate, for solutions -- and this is a remedy. This is a way for us to move forward.
It's important from a strategic point of view. We've got one of our nation's best friends poised in Asia, the tenth largest economy in the world, a country that has moved from the devastation of the Korean War, that has transcended all of that and is now a donor nation and we've got the opportunity to be in a unique and strategic relationship with them. And this is our opportunity to move forward. I think we need to support these, all of these FTAs, and I urge their passage.