WASHINGTON — This morning, House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan spoke with CNBC’s Squawk Box on why Congress needs to come together and pass trade promotion authority legislation. Excerpts from his remarks follow.
“I can’t imagine the Democrats are going to deal the leader of their party, the President, this kind of defeat, and I think we’ll get through this. There have been through these kinds of snafus fairly often in the Senate. They have these kinds of votes fairly often. . . . But Democrats have to figure this out, and they have to work with the president to do it. Look, so much is at stake, Joe, that’s why I think this will get done. China is watching. Our credibility is at stake. So I think we’ll get this done.”
“There is constant change in the global economy. The question is: Are we going to lead that change? Are we going to guide that change? Are we going to write the rules of the global economy? Or are we going to cede to countries like China? That’s the question being answered here. . . . And so when you sift through all of the points and all of the anxieties about trade, this is in our country’s interests to get this right.”
“What this bill does is bring more accountability, more transparency, it lets people read everything. It gets us in the driver’s seat. It gives powers to Congress and binds the administration to Congress’s will.”
“Currency manipulation is occurring. There’s a right way to handle it and a wrong way to handle it. The wrong way, in my opinion, is to trigger trade wars. What we need to do is open markets to American products. Look, trade is happening. Other countries are getting agreements for their countries and freezing America out of it. Look, Joe, in just Asia alone, there have been 48 trade agreements since the year 2000. The U.S. has been a party to two of them. As a result, by being a party to only two of them, our share of trade in the region has gone down 42 percent. There are going to be 3.2 billion consumers in the middle class in Asia by the year 2030. This is a market for us, and if about we say ‘no’ to that market, somebody else will take it and we won’t get the jobs and income and the kind of wages we need. And when 95 percent of consumers live in other countries, we have to trade. We have to be able to make things here and sell them there, and that’s why we need this.”