Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Ways and Means Democrats Demand Hearings on NAFTA Renegotiations

Feb 22, 2018
Press Release
Letter asks Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman David Reichert to exercise public oversight over critical trade pact

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the Ranking Member on the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, led 14 committee Democratic members on a letter to Trade Subcommittee chairman David Reichert (R-WA-08) demanding public hearings on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“We urge you to schedule a hearing to provide the Ways and Means Committee with the opportunity to re-examine NAFTA,” the members wrote. “[T]o date, neither the Ways and Means Committee as a whole nor the Trade Subcommittee has held a NAFTA hearing with an Administration witness.”

In writing, the committee Democrats reminded the Republican Chairman of the NAFTA’s history and the need for thorough oversight and congressional input in the process.

“More than 25 years ago, this Committee held the administrations negotiating the original NAFTA to a high standard of accountability,” the members continued. “American workers, businesses, and other stakeholders of today deserve as much accountability, if not more, from their negotiators and from their representatives.”

The letter follows one Rep. Pascrell sent to Trade Subcommittee Chairman Reichert on October 4, 2017, requesting hearings and urging greater Committee focus on NAFTA.

“This time, we write you to urge you, again and with even more urgency, to schedule a hearing on the NAFTA renegotiation with witnesses from the Administration as soon as possible,” the letter concludes. The full letter can be viewed here.

 

Text of the letter follows:

 

February 22, 2018

 

The Hon. Dave Reichert

Chairman

Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee

1127 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Reichert:

 

We urge you to schedule a hearing to provide the Ways and Means Committee with the opportunity to re-examine NAFTA and conduct the necessary oversight of the Administration’s efforts to renegotiate the agreement. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., Ranking Member of the Trade Subcommittee, first sent a private letter requesting such a hearing in October (see attachment).

 

In the intervening four months, the NAFTA renegotiation has continued to progress at an accelerated pace.  In that time, three more rounds of negotiations have taken place with yet another one scheduled to begin at the end of this month.

 

On November 20, 2017, Senator John Cornyn held a field hearing on NAFTA in San Antonio, Texas, at which USTR General Counsel Stephen Vaughn testified.  Earlier, on October 31, Chairman Brady said that he would consider holding a hearing on NAFTA with Administration witnesses.[1] 

 

And yet, to date, neither the Ways and Means Committee as a whole nor the Trade Subcommittee has held a NAFTA hearing with an Administration witness.

 

More than 25 years ago, this Committee held the administrations negotiating the original NAFTA to a high standard of accountability, requiring United States Trade Representatives, Secretaries of Labor, and Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency to appear before it multiple times.  American workers, businesses, and other stakeholders of today deserve as much accountability, if not more, from their negotiators and from their representatives.

 

This time, we write you to urge you, again and with even more urgency, to schedule a hearing on the NAFTA renegotiation with witnesses from the Administration as soon as possible.

 

Sincerely,

 

Signatories:

 

Bill Pascrell, Jr.

Sander E. Levin

John Lewis

Lloyd Doggett

Mike Thompson

John B. Larson

Earl Blumenauer

Ron Kind

Joseph Crowley

Danny K. Davis

Linda T. Sánchez

Brian Higgins

Terri A. Sewell

Suzan K. DelBene

Judy Chu