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Plumb calls out Reed for support of trade deals

April 7, 2016
By Jimmy McCarthy ( , Westfield Republican

Democratic candidate for Congress, John Plumb, is criticizing U.S. Rep. Tom Reed for "covering up" his support over trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Last week, Reed added his name to a letter to express his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated between the U.S and Pacific Rim countries.

Reed, R-C-I-Corning, joined fellow members of the New York congressional delegation in the letter that was sent to President Barack Obama, according to the Associated Press. The letter reads that the deal would harm working and middle-class families, would cost the state manufacturing jobs and would fail to address currency manipulation.

However, Plumb, D-Jamestown, said the congressman is trying to "cover up his tracks" on the deal after backing to fast-track it through Congress without input from colleagues. Plumb, who is challenging Reed in the 23rd Congressional District race, has been critical of the trade deal since announcing his candidacy in July.

Previously, Plumb took aim at Reed's decision in November to oppose TPP despite supporting to fast-track the deal through Congress months prior.

"All of Reed's maneuvering cannot erase the fact that he has helped push through job-killing trade bills in Congress over and over, including the fast-track of the Trans-Pacific Partnership last year," Plumb said. "If (his signature on the letter) proves anything, it shows once again that Reed says one thing in our region and does the other in Washington."

Reed's campaign said the congressman's vote in favor of Trade Promotion Authority gave Congress the ability to approve or reject trade deals like TPP. Under the Trade Promotion Authority, Congress retains the authority to review and decide whether a proposed trade agreement will be implemented.

"Without this vote, Tom would not have been able to vote 'no' on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which fails to protect our workers and farmers," said Amy Hasenberg, campaign spokeswoman. "Plumb, a Washington insider, either doesn't understand the distinction, or he believes his former boss President (Barack) Obama should be able to make trade decisions completely unfettered by the American people."

The Trans-Pacific Partnership looks to create a better environment for workers and businesses in the U.S by cutting taxes that other countries impose on American-made products, according to the agreement. The participating countries signed the pact in February and have two years to get the deal approved at home.

Plumb was also critical of Reed's support of trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The pact with Colombia aimed to reduce tariffs and duties on goods, but critics say it failed to crack down on violence against union activists. A deal with Panama reduced tariffs on goods, but critics say it took away legal tools to fight tax evasion and money laundering. An agreement with South Korea cut trade barriers, but critics say there were no guarantees the deal would boost U.S. auto exports.

"Anyone who votes against working families time and time again like Congressman Reed is simply against our working families," Plumb said.



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